Tabouleh is a Mediterranean salad made with fresh herbs, tomatoes, lemon juice and Bulgur wheat. It’s a traditional side dish in Lebanese cooking and it makes a perfect partner for hummus and pita. Lebanese recipes don’t use a lot of the bulgur wheat, so I didn’t really make it in the most traditional way as I wanted a more hearty side dish. If you want to make it more traditional, just use half of the bulgur wheat and think of it more as a garnish than as a main part of the salad. I loved the flavor of the fresh herbs, tomatoes, garlic and lemon juice all mixed together. It tasted great with the hummus, so I will definitely make these again sometime!
Ever since I made a version of a Vietnamese Noodle Salad I have been taken with this dish and all its variations. This time I decided to try it with sauteed tofu in a curry lemongrass sauce. The sauce was sweet and spicy and tasted great mixed into the rice noodles. My favorite part about Vietnamese food is all the tasty condiments that go along with the dishes. I chose sliced carrots, persian cucumbers and bean sprouts for the veggie garnishes and mint leaves, basil, green onion, and cilantro for the herb garnishes. All of these condiments came together really well. The last garnishes included a tablespoon of spicy Sambal Oelek I made the night before and a few tablespoons of crushed and toasted peanuts–two delicious final touches!
When making Vietnamese Pho I noticed that the condiments and garnishes play a big roll in the way you eat the dish. With pho, the condiments are added methodically (usually one at a time) as you eat the soup. This salad applies that rule as well, with the platter of condiments on the side of the plate. Carrots, fresh mint, bean sprouts, red chilies, lime slices, and basil wait to be mixed in with the noodles or dipped into two bowls of dipping sauces. If any of you “played with your food” as a kid you might enjoy the process of mixing and dipping involved with this dish.
One way I would describe this dish is clean and refreshing. It really is a perfect spring or summer meal just due to the freshness of the ingredients. The grilled chicken is marinated in lemongrass paste, garlic, ginger and red chilies. The chicken was so good and the flavors were sweet and a little spicy. I loved the way all the condiments blended together with the rice noodles and chicken. I dipped the chicken in the Nuoc Cham and Cashew Butter sauces. I was generous with the sauces and poured them over the noodles and condiments which tasted great as well. I will be making this dish again soon!
It feels like Spring in Central California and I wanted to have a meal that fits with the seasonal transition. This salad was the solution as it perfectly balances wintery beets and goat cheese with fresh greens and grilled chicken. For some added flavor and color I threw in some sliced red cabbage and red onion as well. The greens can be red leaf lettuce, spinach or mixed greens but I went with the red leaf lettuce. The result was a delicious salad and all the flavors worked so well together! The tangy grilled chicken and creamy goat cheese made a great pair. This salad was a great way to bring winter and summer flavors together. I drizzled the salad with balsamic vinegar for a little more tanginess, but this salad would work fine without salad dressing.
I had the idea of using couscous in a warm Greek salad for a while now. I decided on Israeli couscous just because the pasta is larger and works better as a salad. The recipe reminded me a lot of the Lebanese Tabbouleh, though the flavors are definitely grounded in Greek cuisine. The recipe resembles a classic Greek salad as it contains olives, lemon juice, feta cheese, tomatoes and red onions. What gives the recipe a twist is that the salad is warm and the onions and tomatoes are lightly sauteed. The result was a delicious side dish that was great with the Chicken Kalamaki.
Time to break out the fresh summer salads! I wanted something healthy and filling so I went with a tuna salad nicoise. Nicoise is a salad that has a mixture of veggies, hard-boiled eggs, and topped with tuna or anchovy. You can pretty much add any veggies you want with this salad, so I went with black olives, tomatoes, and red onions. The salad is served with a vinaigrette so I went with a lemon-mustard vinaigrette. The salad was exactly what I was craving–something light and fresh, and very satisfying.
Greek Salad is made of simple ingredients, mixed together in a little vinegar and olive oil. I wanted to have a salad with the chicken Gyros and this proved to be a great choice. It was light, flavorful, and went well with the Gyros.
Tzatziki is a Greek appetizer made from strained yogurt, cucumber and garlic. It’s also used as a condiment on gyros and other Greek foods.Tzatziki has a cooling effect similar to sour cream. To give it some extra flavor, dill, mint, and lemon juice are also added. I didn’t have any mint leaves around but I did have some mint extract so I used a drop of that in the Tzatziki. I was surprised at how nicely that worked out! The mint extract gave it a subtle, minty after taste. I only put in one drop so it would be easy to over do it.