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Janel, a Registered Dietitian who follows a vegetarian diet, promotes no-nonsense, plant-based cooking so that eating is both healthful and enjoyable. Janel has a master’s degree in nutrition communication from Tufts University in Boston.

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Janel's Vegetarian Kitchen

 
by Janel Ovrut, MS, RD, LDN

 
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I’ve had a hankering for some fresh tabouli lately, since it uses two of summer’s best veggies: tomatoes and cucumbers. I’ve used an easy boxed tabouli kit before, and all you have to do is add lemon juice, olive oil, parsley or mint, onions, cucumbers and tomatoes. It’s sold in most grocery stores, except Trader Joe’s. So when I was grocery shopping this weekend at Stop & Shop I planned on buying a box. Did I? Nope. I managed to get everything else on my list, and other things that were nowhere close to being on my list, but no tabouli kit.
tabouli

When I got home I wondered if I could create a makeshift tabouli with couscous or brown rice. But then I saw I had just enough dry bulgur in my pantry to make tabouli as planned! And the best part? You don’t have to cook bulgur - just soak it in water for at least an hour. How did I not know this before!? Nothing could be easier than soaking a grain, instead of boiling a big pot of water.

I soaked my bulgur overnight and the next day, mixed in some lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, along with two diced tomatoes and a diced cucumber. I didn’t have the parsley or mint that is usually in tabouli, but the simple ingredients of the veggies with the lemon juice were enough to give this salad fresh flavor. Looking back, I realized I also forgot to add olive oil, but I have enough leftovers to add some, along with a diced white onion and maybe even some dry parsley, to tonight’s dinner.

Making this tabouli reminded me that I don’t need a kit or meal starter to make the dish I desire, but rather a well-stocked pantry and some quick thinking creativity to make homemade meals.




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