Vegan Friday: Couscous tabouli

Light, pretty and completely vegan, tabouli is an excellent choice for summer potlucks and picnics.

Tabouli is a Lebanese salad made from parsley and bulgur wheat. It’s lovely stuff, but bulgur can be hard to find in a lot of areas, and it takes forever to prep, because you have to boil water, pour it over the dried wheat and then soak it for at least 20 minutes. You know the level of effort I like to put into dinner, and that is way beyond my upper limit.

Solution: Whole-wheat couscous. Quick-cooking, high in protein and readily available at most grocery stores, couscous will stand in nicely for bulgur in a tabouli recipe. This version is good for potlucks, picnics and as an accompaniment to barbecue (vegan or otherwise). It also makes good filling for wraps or pitas.

1 c. whole-wheat couscous
1 1/2 c. boiling water
2-3 cloves garlic (optional)
1 bunch green onions
1 bunch parsley (use Italian flat-leaf if you can get it)
A few sprigs of fresh mint (optional)
Olive oil (about 1/4 c.)
Lemon juice (about 1/4 c.)
1 cucumber, diced
Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

Whole-wheat couscous stands in nicely for bulgur in tabouli.

Pour boiling water over couscous and cover for 10 minutes.

Place garlic in food processor and mince. Cut white parts off onions and save them for another recipe. Throw the green parts of the onions, the entire bunch of parsley and the mint in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Parsley and green onions. Glorious.
Parsley and green onions. Glorious.

Add olive oil and lemon juice and pulse a couple more times to mix.

Stir parsley mixture into couscous until thoroughly blended. Gently stir in cucumber and cherry tomatoes. Chill and serve. Makes about eight reasonable servings as a side dish. (Or one good midnight snack, if you’re me.)