When the early green beans arrived at our Farmers Market I posted a Tabouli inspired recipe, Green Beans & Bulgar. On this hot Summer day, I’m lacking in green beans, but overloaded with small tomatoes. We’ll have a healthy salad made from bulgar wheat, tomatoes  and basil.

On a seriously hot day, the kind of heat that might send you to a restaurant just to avoid cooking anything, bulgar is a must have pantry staple. Unlike pasta, bulgar (cracked wheat, also Bulgur) does not require cooking. Bulgar is whole wheat. Nothing is added to wheat to produce bulgar. Don’t get me wrong, I like rice and pasta, but bulgar is a terrific no-cook option.

  • 5 cups small tomatoes or tomatoes cut into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup bulgar wheat (can substitute couscous for bulgar, cooking method is the same)
  • 1/3 cup chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas (optional)
  • 1/3 cup Olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • salt & pepper

If you make this recipe ahead, it’s better. But don’t refrigerate it- never refrigerate tomatoes.

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My little vegetable garden produces, “a little of this and a little of that”. Rarely enough of any one vegetable to serve as a main dish. Vegetable Curry turns mixed veggies into an uncommon meal.

I happen to particularly like curried cauliflower and peas, so I always use those in this recipe. Green bean and broccoli are also very good; but I imagine nearly any combination of vegetables would work well in the recipe.

Ingredients for Curry Sauce:
  • 2 Tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • pinch ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (optional)

Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add mustard seeds until you hear the seeds pop.
Add chopped onion, saute’ lightly.
Reduce heat. Add lemon juice and spices. Add tomatoes, stock and salt to taste.
(if you are including coconut milk, you can add it now or after the vegetables have cooked)

Add vegetables to your curry sauce. Consider individual cooking times for each; those that require the longest cooking time are added first.
Simmer 5 to 7 minutes, occasionally testing vegetables. They should be cooked, but not mushy.

Garnish with parsley or cilantro and serve with rice.

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Serve with corn bread. This is a serious suggestion; something about corn bread compliments this salad better than any other bread.

The recipe is adapted from Mid East Tabouli. The dressing proved to be the key to the success or failure of the recipe. “Too sour” was Stevie’s critique of Tabouli dressing (olive oil and lemon juice). When I reduced the amount of lemon juice I heard, “tastes like plain oil.” Introducing brown mustard gave it the dressing taste again, without becoming “sour.”

  • 2 1/2 pounds green beans, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup bulgar wheat (can substitute couscous for bulgar, cooking method is the same)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas (optional)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp brown mustard (we like Dijon)
  • salt & pepper

Soak the bulgar wheat in hot water until the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Drain any excess water.
Wash, slice and salt the beans.
Steam or boil the beans.
Stir the prepared bulgar, vegetables, and dressing together in a medium bowl.
Serve at room temperature.

*In August, corn is plentiful and fabulous. I’ll replace the green beans with parboiled sweet corn and diced green pepper. Also try- Tomatoes & Basil: like bruschetta without the bread.

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