Side dishes are easy to figure out if you have a theme in mind. When preparing for my recent Mediterranean Kabob Party, I had a long list of potential side dishes to add to the menu. Ultimately, I opted for classic dishes, including this Tabbouleh Salad. If you've never worked with cracked wheat or bulgur before, here's a great opportunity to give it a try. You may be surprised how easy it is to work with! As for this salad, it's light, refreshing and pairs perfectly with Mediterranean flavors. But don't think you need to have a Mediterranean menu planned to enjoy it...
When looking for cracked wheat or bulgur at the store, you may find a few different kinds to choose from. The obvious differences would be the size of the grain. They come as small as very fine (#1) to very coarse (#4). It doesn't matter which size you choose really, but for this recipe I used the coarse grain. Preparing the cracked wheat or bulgur is just as easy as making couscous. Essentially, hot boiling water is poured over the cracked wheat and allowed to sit so that it can absorb the water and soften up. Unlike couscous which can pretty much be ready in 5 minutes or so, cracked wheat takes a bit more time. The finer the grain the shorter it takes to be ready. Another thing to note is that it also takes more time for the cracked wheat to absorb the flavors. This particular recipe calls for the salad to chill for 4 hours... so do plan accordingly! But in the end, the wait is definitely worth it...
1 cup cracked wheat or bulgur (course or fine; I used coarse grain)
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
3 green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Place cracked wheat in bowl and cover with 2 cups boiling water. Soak for 30 minutes; drain out excess water.
In a mixing bowl, combine the cracked wheat, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, garlic, parsley, mint, salt, lemon juice, and olive oil. Toss and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Toss again prior to serving and top with crumbled feta cheese.