Holiday picnics and potlucks are landmines for those of us trying to eat healthfully. One of my best strategies is to bring a healthful dish, but I don't want to be that guest; you know, the one who brings a sad, soggy casserole full of weird ingredients that sits untouched. I'm going to share one of my favorite picnic dishes, and despite being loaded with healthful ingredients, it always gets raves. Plus it's super easy to put together--it's less a recipe and more of a put-some-stuff-in-a-dish-and-let-the-ingredients-do-the-work.
Whole Grain Taboule
- 1/2 cup of your favorite whole grain, dry (great options include bulghur wheat, quinoa, or a whole grain blends like those from truRoots)
- A pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 large cucumber, seeded and chopped
- 1 big bunch of scallions, washed and chopped, both green and white parts
- A big bunch of parsley, leaves washed and chopped (avoid woody stems, but thinner stems are fine)
- Juice of one big lemon (or a couple smaller)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- OPTIONAL: A handful of fresh mint leaves, torn into small pieces
- OPTIONAL for serving:
- Chickpeas (canned are fine, just drain & rinse)
- Fresh lettuces or other leafy greens
- Lemon wedges
Cook whole grains according to the package using water or stock. BONUS: For really delicious grains, before you cook them, toast them in a dry pan. Just add grains to a pan with no oil or liquid over medium heat, and toss them them till they are lightly brown and emit a nice, toasty smell. Toasted grains have a nutty flavor that really adds to any dish.
Combine the cooked grains with all ingredients (excluding the optional ingredients for serving) in large bowl, adding plenty of ground pepper and some coarse salt.
Let this sit several hours overnight so the flavors really develop. Serve as is, or with the optional serving options. Makes 4 entree-sized servings, or 6-8 (or more) side dish servings.