There is something intrinsically satisfying about a grain salad. Hearty, fresh and toothsome, brimming with greens and chopped vegetables, it’s both nutritious and versatile. Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern salad made with cracked wheat or bulgur. The grains are softened with water, lemon juice and oil and tumbled with spices and fresh herbs. I like to add shredded kale and grated carrot to tabbouleh. The sturdy greens are tenderized by the oil and lemon, and the sweetness of the carrot rounds out the tangy citrus and spices. The salad is delicious as is or stuffed into pita pockets with crumbled feta and a dab of harissa. In this recipe I’ve topped the salad with pan roasted shrimp for a light and healthy meal. If you prefer another grain, feel free to substitute quinoa, wheat berries or couscous for the bulgur. For a vegetarian option, sprinkle with feta cheese.
Shrimp and Tabbouleh Salad
For the bulgur salad:
1 1/2 cups bulgur
1 1/4 cups hot water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Tabasco or hot sauce
6 large green kale leaves, tough stems removed, caorsely chopped
2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1 large carrot, finely grated
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped, about 1/2 cup
1/4 cup each chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, mint and cilantro
For the shrimp:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes, or to taste
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Extra-virgin olive oil
Prepare the salad:
Place the bulgur in a large bowl. Pour the water over the bulgur and stir to combine. Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin and Tabasco. Stir again. Set aside until the liquid is absorbed and the bulgur is tender but chewy, about 20 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Taste for seasoning. If necessary, add more olive oil to moisten the salad.
For the shrimp:
Heat the olive oil and the chili flakes in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the shrimp in one layer and cook until pink in color and just cooked through the center, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with juice from half a lemon.
To serve, arrange salad on a platter or divide among serving plates. Top with shrimp. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper and chopped parsley. Drizzle with extra oil if desired.