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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{surprisingly} delicious kale and brussels sprouts salad

it’s been a big challenge to incorporate the now famous “super” green aka KALE into our diet. i’ve made the chips (not as easy as they make it sound-they burn  so easily), used it in stews and soups (not a bad option), and (rather reluctantly) in my smoothies. after watching the inspiring and miraculous story of Dr. Terry Wahls {who used diet to cure her MS-check it out: video} my husband asked if we could have some kale (surprise) for dinner! being quite the dutiful wife (haha), i had to come up with a tasty recipe using raw kale. in doing the research, i came across several cooked recipes using kale with brussels sprouts.  i  decided to combine the two greens in a raw salad by shredding (or thinly slicing) them as finely as possible-which is the only hard thing about this recipe, by the way. the resulting {seriously delicious and addictive} salad has become  such a hit with family and friends that i’m beginning to feel it in my right hand (mandolin is recommended for the brussels sprouts)! i now only offer to share the recipe, which follows…

ingredients for about 4 servings:

  • 1 large bunch (about 12-14 stalks) organic lacinato kale, deveined-cut as thinly (shredded) as possible
  • 12-14 brussels sprouts-cut in half, and thinly sliced (easiest using a mandolin) 
  • chopped walnuts (1/4 cup or so)
  • good quality parmesan cheese (shaved regiano is best) to taste (or substitute with a ripe chopped avocado-or add both)
Shallot vinaigrette: 
  • 1/4 of a shallot very finely minced 
  • 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil (or avocado oil)
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste 
  • juice of 1/2-1 lemon, freshly squeezed 
  • 1-2 tsp Dijon mustard
whisk together until thickened, pour dressing over salad & mix about 10-15 minutes before serving.
 
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