Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Chickpea Tabouli

Tabouli is a picnic-friendly, make-ahead salad of fresh herbs and tomatoes, which is usually made with bulgur or cracked wheat. This simple gluten- and wheat-free version substitutes chickpeas for the bulgur, upping the protein and adding extra flavor, making this chickpea tabouli salad a great choice for everyone at your party, barbecue or picnic.

A few weeks ago I was researching recipes that would be appropriate for the Jewish Passover celebration for a post with my Sunday Supper group. I came across a rendition of tabouli made with chopped almonds instead of the bulgur wheat, because all grains, including wheat, are prohibited during Passover.

Now, I’m a fan of almonds and I even like them in salad, but one of the reasons I love tabouli is the way the wheat soaks up the flavors of the dressing and the herbs and even the tomato juice, becoming more delicious with time. I just didn’t see almonds doing that. So I pondered. What would absorb the dressing? What else would GO with tabouli?

You already know what I decided from the title here but you are probably asking yourself why this didn’t become my Passover post. Well, after I had made the salad, more research revealed that are certain Jewish sects that don’t allow any legumes, including chickpeas, during Passover! So I found another recipe for chocolate chip bar cookies with ground almonds, which was absolutely delicious and didn’t violate any Passover rules for that post.

But you know what this salad IS perfect for? Kick Off to Summer Week! It looks remarkably similar to regular tabouli so make sure to put a gluten-free label on it so everyone knows they can eat it!

For the salad:
2 cans (8 1/2 oz or 240g each, drained weight) chickpeas
Large bunch green onion tops (2 1/2 oz or 70g)
2 bunches cilantro or coriander (4 1/4 oz or 120g together)
Medium bunch of fresh mint (3 oz or 85g)
5-6 medium tomatoes (1 1/4 lbs or 570g)

Note: I’m giving weights for the herbs and tomatoes but know that these are just what I used and if yours weigh a bit more or a bit less, it’s all going to be good.

For the dressing:
3 tablespoons or 45ml fresh lime or lemon juice
1-2 cloves garlic (I used two – because we like it garlicky!)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons or 90ml olive oil

First thing in the morning, or even the night before you are planning to make this salad, strain and rinse your chickpeas and leave them to dry for an hour or two spread out on a kitchen towel. I don’t know that this is absolutely essential but remember, we want the chickpeas to absorb dressing, so drying them out a bit increases that ability.

In a food processor, pulse your chickpeas in batches until they are small crumbles and resemble bulgur wheat if you hold your head just right and squint a little. Do not overfill the processor or overpulse or you’ll end up on your way to making hummus.  (Which is a good thing, but just not today.)

As you finishing pulsing each batch of chickpeas, put them in a big salad bowl with plenty of room to stir.

Chop your green onions finely and add them to the chickpeas and stir.

Pick the mint leaves off the stalks and cut the hard part of the stalks off of the cilantro.  (The little narrow stalks near the leaves are fine to leave in.) Wash both thoroughly several times and dry in a salad spinner or a dry dishcloth.

Cut the tomatoes in half and cut out and discard the core. Chop the tomatoes into little pieces.

Chop the herbs thoroughly, rocking your big knife back and forth on a cutting board.

Next add the herbs and then the tomatoes to the chickpea bowl.  Stir well.

Now to make the dressing: Mince your garlic cloves and combine them in a small bowl with the fresh lime juice.

Sprinkle in about a 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and a few generous grinds of fresh black pepper. Add in the olive oil and whisk until the dressing is thoroughly mixed.

Pour this over your salad and stir well and you are ready to eat!

Like traditional  tabouli, this chickpea version gets better and better as it sits so you can make it ahead without any problems. It was great the first day, then it went out sailing with us the day after I made it AND it was just as good three days later when I finished the last serving. That’s why I always make a big batch.


You can find my recipe and instructions for traditional tabouli here

Need more recipes and ideas for Memorial Day and making the most of summer? Check out these links from my fellow Kick Off to Summer participants.

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