This week we're being vegetarians.
I personally am doing this for spiritual reasons; the rest of my family, however, is doing it because I have to do it. Not to make it sound harsh or draconian; it's actually been pretty lovely eating this way. Vegetarian food doesn't have to suck, come to find out. In fact it can really be great, especially with recipes I'll be giving you today.
My husband loves hummus. I always thought it looked a bit like toddler poop and so was never really game to eat it. Until about four years ago, when I finally tried it slathered on pita bread and topped with tzatziki and tabbouleh which my husband insisted I try. Now, you won't hear me admitting this often, but my husband? He's been absolutely right, all along!
Here are three recipes for these dishes that are both easy and delish. They'd be great as an appetizer, but we enjoy them for dinner and no one is left unsatisfied. Enjoy! My grade: A+
Easy and Delicious Hummus (Hummous) (as adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine)
2 16 oz cans chick peas (garbanzo beans)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4th cup olive oil
1/2 - 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Add all ingredients into food processor and puree. I'm serious. It's that easy. Add more or less oil to get the consistency you prefer. If you don't want to use too much oil, warm water works well, too. Always taste during the process so the spices are just right. You can add olive oil and additional lemon juice on top of the hummus upon serving. I usually just do the oil, though, because the lemon used is adequate.
For a nice variation, add sun-dried tomatoes and/or roasted garlic.
Tabbouleh (as adapted from The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook by Diana Shaw)
1 cup bulgur wheat
1 1/2 cup water, boiled
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cucumber, seeded, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, minced
2 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
2 scallions, minced, white part only (I also use shallots)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt to taste
Bring water to a boil. Add bulgur wheat and remove from heat. Let sit for a 1/2 - 1 hour. In this time the bulgur wheat will soak up the water, enlarging. At the end of allotted time drain bulgur through sieve, making sure to remove all water. Transfer to bowl.
To bulgur wheat add add chopped cucumber and tomato, parsley, garlic, mint, olive oil and lemon juice, mixing thoroughly. Serve room temperature or refrigerate up to 3 hours.
Tzatziki (Cucumber-Yogurt Dip) (as adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine)
1 1/2 cups plain whole milk yogurt (I like Greek)
1 cucumber, seeded, diced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons minced fresh mint
2 teaspoons minced fresh dill
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
Kosher salt to taste
Fresh mint for garnish
Mix yogurt, salt and garlic. Add to this the diced cucumber (making sure to drain all excess water from cucumber), vinegar, mint, dill and olive oil. Stir to blend and season with more salt if needed. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours before serving.
Serve all three on whole grain pita bread. I like to layer first with the hummus and then atop that add razor-thin slices of cucumber and tomato. Atop that I add the tzatziki and then tabbouleh. Brilliant!
Serves: 4 people well