easing into spring: minty fresh taboule and a green bean salad with blood oranges

green bean salad with blood oranges and feta cheesei’ve been so obsessed with quinoa lately that i’ve neglected to make taboule the traditional way, with bulgur rather than substituting my favorite grain-seed (q-u-i-n-o-a}. at our house we really enjoy a good spicy quinoa-taboule (almost on a weekly basis), but there is something soothing and familiar and frankly more “substantial” about the original version-so, in planning the menu for a small gathering of friends last night i decided on a bowl of super fresh lemony taboule loaded with mint leaves (the way my lovely lebanese friend taught me way too many years ago in france) to go with my all time favorite chicken dish, adda’a morrocan chicken (which turned out better than ever i think- possibly because

minty fresh taboule

of the last minute addition of a cup of fresh orange juice). one of the best things about taboule is that the leftovers taste almost better the next day-which brings me to the most important factor in making a good one-the ingredients: they must be fresh and abundant (more fresh parsley, mint, and lemons than you think you need).

taboule ingredients

if you plan to make some, and you really should, because nothing makes you feel as spring(y) fresh as this dish-be ready to become pretty good friends with your favorite sharp knife….you’ll have to do some chopping, but it WILL be worth it. speaking of chopping, my green bean, feta, and walnut salad requires very little of it. it is so often my go to {delicious and easy} salad/side dish/almost-a-meal when i entertain-here i added the last blood oranges of the season for a citrusy punch and their beautiful color. it made the perfect side for the medium rare tri-tip roast i served with it. okay, now i’m hungry, and my mouth is literally watering. i’m hitting the fridge for a nice bowl of that leftover taboule~wish you could join me:-)

ingredients for 4-6 servings of bulgur (or substitute quinoa) taboule:

  • a bowl of mint fresh taboule2 large bunches of organic flat leaf parsley (about 1.5-2 cups) washed, allowed to dry, and finely chopped
  • 1 large bunch organic fresh mint leaves (1/2-1 cup), washed, allowed to dry and thinly sliced/chopped
  • 6-7 organic scallions, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 ripe roma (or 3 medium ripe) tomatoes, finely cubed
  • 3/4 cup (i prefer less bulgur-adjust amount to your taste) cooked bulgur or quinoa (boil in lightly salted water for just a few minutes then drain excess water and allow it to cool)
  • 2 lemons, freshly juiced (adjust amount to taste-but keep in mind the bulgur soaks up the lemon juice and olive oil quite a bit)
  • 3-4 tbs good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt & freshly cracked pepper to taste-red pepper flakes, optional for spicy

place all the ingredients other than olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl (leave ingredients in separate piles until ready to toss). if making ahead, cover and set aside until 30 minutes prior to serving, then dress (with lemon juice to taste, evoo, and salt & pepper) toss well. taste and adjust seasoning. enjoy every bite. {see below for green bean salad recipe}

for green bean salad with blood oranges:

blood oranges in salad

  • 2-3 cups organic green beans, cleaned and quickly boiled in lightly salted water until just tender-do not overcook them. drain in a collander and quickly place in an ice bath or rinse with cold water. drain well.
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup crumbled french feta cheese
  • 1-2 blood oranges (or you can use pomegranate seeds), peeled and sectioned into small pieces.
  • 1/4 cup of my shallot vinaigrette

combine ingredients in a bowl, drizzle with dressing, toss just before serving. simple as that.

the dinner table with the famous blood oranges front and center

the dinner table with the famous blood oranges front and center

 

my chicken dish with olives and lemons just getting started (adda's morrocan chicken)

my chicken dish with olives and lemons just getting started (adda’s morrocan chicken)

 

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dinner on the beach: roasted chicken, persian cutlets, and delicious summer salads

my {sister}friend is visiting with her family (which explains why i haven’t posted in a few days). we’ve been friends forever, and often wait too long for these valuable reunions. whenever we’re finally together, we squeeze every last minute out of each day, and quite often, our days seem to revolve around food-what to eat, where to eat it, and what we have yet to eat….and then it all goes by in the blink of an eye, and we’re left with amazing memories and a few pounds of extra weight! unlike her last visit, the weather has been cooperating this year, and we’ve had lovely warm sunshiney days like you expect from california {thank you, universe}! last night we packed a nice dinner for the beach- my mom made delicious persian beef cutlets (kotlet), my sister roasted chicken and made a delicious corn salad (recipe below influenced by our sister-visitor), and i made two salads along with haricots vert & boiled potatoes drizzled with a thyme vinaigrette. my friend suggested the following as one of my salad options: orzo with arugula, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fennel, and radicchio (which i substituted with red endives)-it was delicious, and since she also strongly suggested it was about time i mentioned her in my blog-here’s to you, my dear L-the “wali” salad  is born!
  • for 6-8 servings:
  • 1 cup whole wheat orzo (#65), cooked
  • 1 cup small organic {sugar plum} tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 cup small mozzarella cheese, cut in half
  • 1 large or two small fennel bulbs, cut in quarters and thinly sliced
  • 2 red endives, thinly sliced, or 1 radicchio
  • 3 cups roughly chopped organic arugula (rocket)
  • 3-4 green onions (scallions) sliced
  • sea salt & cracked pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • make an aglio olio with 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and the (crushed) garlic cloves, let it cool completely, then add the lemon juice, sea salt & pepper to taste and whisk together, combine all the other ingredients in a bowl, drizzle with the dressing and mix well. the “wali” salad…simple and delicious!
  • corn salad recipe below:

wali salad
vegetarian cutlets up front, beef & potato cutlets above (recipe coming VERY soon)
for the corn salad:
cook 4-5 heads of organic corn on the cob, then carefully slice the corn off the cob and let it cool.
combine together in a bowl:
  • cut corn
  • about 15-20 sliced organic radishes
  • a cup or so of sliced (in half)  baby tomatoes 
  • 1 nice bunch of fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1/4 to 1/2 of a shallot, finely minced (optional)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt & red pepper flakes (or cracked pepper) to taste
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