As promised, here is the other half of my Middle Eastern meal from the other night. I figured it would be smart to blog today about the meatless side dishes I served, in honor of Meatless Mondays! I had the pleasure of making a Tabbouleh for the first time for this meal. Although I mostly used Cat Cora's recipe, I did make some changes to her formula.
I want to try her version soon, but I loved this one! Mine was more what you would consider a standard Tabbouleh, with tomatoes and cucumbers and parsley. Cat Cora's swapped out the tomatoes for red grapes, and fresh mint in place of the parsley. Yum! But I happened to have the tomatoes and parsley on hand already, so that is what I went with. It's a very easy side salad to make; the bulgur literally prepares itself once you pour boiling water over top. Once all your veggies are prepped and chopped, everything just gets tossed together with olive oil and lemon juice.
For the Batata Harra, or Lebanese Spiced Potatoes, I had to do a little bit of research. A couple weeks ago, my family ate dinner at a Middle Eastern restaurant, and there was a very big menu. I finally opted for a large tasting plate for my entree, but I had my eye on the Batata Harra as well. Since I did not order the potatoes in the end, I decided I would just find out how to make them myself; they sounded too good to pass up! And they were simple and very delicious. They have quite a kick; I used both a fresh jalapeno and cayenne pepper, and you could definitely feel the heat.
My preparation method was different from the recipe I found; I made mine a bit healthier. In the original recipe, the potatoes are deep fried, and then all the aromatics are tossed in more oil. I decided to bake my potato pieces, and then I tossed the aromatics in a much smaller amount of oil. I'm happy to say that my dish still turned out extremely flavorful, and the potatoes were deliciously crispy. I don't know what the restaurant version of these tastes like, but I'll be making these at home again for sure!
adapted from Cat Cora's Classics with a Twist
makes 8 to 10 servings
1 2/3 cups boiling water
1 cup bulgur
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup chopped scallions
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup diced cucumber (about 1 medium)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
1. Pour the boiling water over the bulgur in a large bowl and stir just until all the grains are moistened. Cover and let sit for 1 hour at room temperature.
2. Pour the oil and lemon juice into the soaked bulgur. Add the scallions, parsley, oregano, tomatoes, and cucumber; toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Cover and refrigerate tabbouleh for at least 1 hour so the flavors have a chance to meld. Top with the pine nuts just before serving.
Batata Harra (Lebanese Spiced Potatoes)
adapted from Food.com
makes 1 lb. potatoes
1 1/2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/2 lbs. red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the potatoes with some salt and pepper, and 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil. Spread on a nonstick baking sheet, or a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray, and bake for about 30-40 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender.
2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil. Add the scallion, garlic, jalapeno, cayenne pepper, coriander, salt and pepper. Saute the mixture for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Toss the potatoes in the scallion mixture until well coated. Take the skillet from the heat; stir in the parsley and lime juice. Transfer to a serving dish and serve.