Sunday 26 July 2015

Recipe: Tweaked Tabbouleh with feta, bulgur wheat and chickpeas

I am constantly guilty of spending too much money on lunch. I like the idea of bringing it in, but when it comes to it... I just don't. Instead I'll cheerily spend my hard earned cash on salads, soups and sandwiches and wonder why I have nothing left in my bank account at the end of the month. It's so much worse on days that I work in London, too. The lunch options near my office are so fantastic that I think nothing of spending £8 on a salad and drink, despite knowing that if I did that every day I'd spend £160 on lunches a month. Ouch.

So I'm trying to turn over a new leaf, starting with this salad. It's actually the perfect lunch salad for me as it involves very little effort.
In fact, it puts me in mind of this quote from the ever wise Cordelia Chase:

Cordelia: I have to cook, and everything!
Xander: You're cooking?
Cordelia: Well, I'm chips and dips girl.
Xander: Horrors! All that opening and stirring.
Cordelia: And shopping and carrying.
Xander: Well, then you should have a person who does such things for you.
Cordelia: Well, that's what I've been saying to my father, but does he listen?

Man, I love Buffy. Have you watched Buffy? You should watch Buffy. Anyway, this salad is basically about opening, stirring, shopping and carrying. And a little bit of chopping. You can make it a few days ahead (I probably wouldn't go much more than 3) and make as much or as little as you want. It's based on Tabbouleh, but I've made some modifications to turn it from a side dish to a main meal - basically adding a bit more protein in the form of feta, and making it bit more filling with the chickpeas. I also cut down the olive oil - I tried to leave it out but it does improve it, even though the vegetables make it lovely and moist. It's yummy - fresh and full of flavour, and good for you to boot.

You should be able to find bulgur wheat at most supermarkets (I got it at Sainsburys). It's super low in calories - a large 50g portion is under 50 calories - and really easy to prepare. Just pop it in a bowl, make sure it's just covered with cold water and leave for an hour. Donezo. Then just chop everything up, stir it through, and dish up. That's my kind of salad.

Tweaked Tabbouleh with feta, bulgur wheat and chickpeas
100g bulgur wheat
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 tomato
1/3 of a cucumber
1/4 red onion
1 red chilli, deseeded
100g feta cheese (half a block)
4 tsp olive oil
1 lemon
Bunch of coriander
Bunch of chives
Salt and pepper, to serve.

Serves 4 / 6 Weight Watchers SmartPoints

1. Place your bulgur wheat in a bowl and add water until it is just covered. Don't worry if you overdo it, you can always drain it afterwards. Leave the bowl out at room temperature for at least an hour.
2. Dice all your vegetables, herbs and feta (not the lemon) and set aside.
3. When the bulgur is done, stir well with a fork and drain if any water remains.
4. Throw in your can of chickpeans (drain it first, obvs).
5. Add all your vegetables, herbs and feta to the bowl, and then squeeze your lemon juice over the lot, then your olive oil. Add some salt and pepper and then stir well with a fork to distribute everything evenly.
6. That's it! Portion up into boxes and feel smug that you've sorted your lunch for the next few days.

This is an easy recipe to play with, so feel free. I've seen recipes that use mint and parsley instead of coriander, you could mix up the cheese or add meat instead, you could even add raisins or pomegranate seeds to give it a burst of sweetness. I also feel that the chives could be left out - they don't add a lot, so unless you're using them in something else, I wouldn't buy them especially.

Let me know if you give this a go and if you made any modifications in the comments or on Twitter!



  1. This looks delicious, I am SO lazy wit lunch so anything this simple will always be a winner in my book!

    Maria xxx

  2. This sounds tasty :)
    I'm sorry to be nitpicky/snobby but tabouleh in the middle East is meant to be more like a parsley salad with a little bit of bulgar in! UK shops have it all wrong (probably because bulgar with a little bit of dried herbs in keeps better). There's a whole world of more-parsley-y tabbouleh to discover :-) If you have a local Lebanese restaurant they'll probably do an awesome one & it's well worth trying at home - I usually end up using a whole large pack of supermarket parsley.


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