Tuesday, March 6, 2012

0 Home made Tabbouleh vs Near East Tabbouleh Mix

Tabbouleh was originally an Arabic dish traditionally made from bulgur, tomato, cucumber, parsley, mint, olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Variations were made by the Turks and Armenians and it's become a popular ethnic food in the United States. Bulgur is made from wheat and has only had a very small amount of the bran removed so it's considered a whole grain. It has a high nutritional value and makes a good substitute for rice or couscous.

I know it's still a little cold outside to be thinking of salad dishes, at least for a main course but this is very nutritious and can be a side dish as well as a main course. Tabbouleh is good served with other salads, like rotini salad (September 20, 2011), hummus or baba ghanoush (February 23, 2012). Or with kabobs, grilled/broiled salmon (Sept 6 & 21, 2011), grilled chicken or grilled portobello mushrooms (February 7, 2012).

Basic Tabbouleh
½ c dry bulgur
1 ½ c warm water
8-10 cherry tomatoes, quartered (or 3 tomatoes, diced)
¼ red onion, finely chopped
½ cucumber, diced
½ c parsley, chopped
1-2 Tbl mint, chopped (I don't particularly like mint, season to taste – some recipes call for up to ½ c)
Juice of 1 lemon
2-3 Tbl olive oil
½ tsp salt

Soak bulgur in a large bowl with warm water for about 1 - 1 ½ hours. Mix in remaining ingredients, chill for at least 1 hour. Serves 5

You can be creative with this recipe too! You can add ½ c chopped romaine, or ½ c chopped spinach, or ½ c chopped red or green pepper or ½ c chopped black olives, or ½ c golden raisins, or a minced clove of garlic, or even a cup of chopped cooked chicken - or even all of these suggestions (but if you do that I'd double the basic recipe) - for extra protein, you can substitute quinoa for the bulgur - you top it off with some Feta cheese too - whatever you like, make it your own!


Price of Home made: About $3.75 total
Price of Near East Tabbouleh: $3.50+ tomato, lemon juice & olive oil, about $5.00 total

Home made Preparation: Soak in warm water 1 hr*, cut and mix ingredients 10 min, refrigerate 1 hr – Approximately 2 hr & 10 min
Near East Tabbouleh Preparation: Boil water, soak covered for 30 minutes, (cut & add tomato, lemon juice & olive oil), refrigerate 1 hour – Approximately 1 hr 35 min.

Home made Ingredients: Bulgur wheat, tomato, onion, parsley, cucumber, mint, lemon juice, olive oil & salt
Near East Tabbouleh Ingredients: Bulgur wheat, salt, parsley, onions, molasses, garlic, spearmint, honey, black pepper (You have to add tomato, lemon juice & olive oil)

Well, home made comes in at about $1.25 cheaper and has the added ingredient of a half a cucumber and does NOT contain molasses or honey (you don't need a sweetener in this dish). It only takes about 5 more minutes to chop the additional ingredients and an extra 30 minutes to soak* the bulgur. And if you look at the nutritional data below, you'll see that home made has less calories, less sodium, less carbs and more vitamins.

*Sure you can boil water and soak the bulgur for only 30 minutes also – but you lose some of the nutritional value in the bulgur when you boil it. For that matter, you can cook it in the microwave in about 2 minutes if you are really in a hurry.

Nutritional Data for Near East Tabbouleh
Calories 120
Total Fat 3 g
     Saturated Fat .5 g
     Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0%
Sodium 270 mg
Carbohydrates 23 g
     Dietary Fiber 5 g
     Sugars 2 g
Protein 4 g
Vitamin A 6%
Vitamin C 15%
Calcium 0%
Iron 4%

Nutritional Data for Home made Tabbouleh
Calories 91
Total Fat 3 g
     Saturated Fat 0 g
     Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 g
Sodium 241 mg
Total Carbohydrates 15 g
     Dietary Fiber 4 g
     Sugars 2 g
Protein 3 g
Vitamin A 17%
Vitamin C 30%
Calcium 3%
Iron 5%

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