I. Love. Summer.
I love the feeling of school being out even though I’m not in school anymore and work 366 days per year. It’s miraculous, I know. I love the heat and humidity, even when I bitch about it. I love the longer days, the smell of gardenias, going to hear music down town, the whole cliche shebang.
I especially LOVE summer-feeling food. Grilled meat with fresh or raw side dishes, that great mix of healthy and decadent, salads so fresh and crisp that they somehow quench your thirst, you know?
Because you’re thirsty from all the beer.
This is one of those salads for our family, and I can’t get enough. My mom used to make picnics of hummus and tabouli and pita long before those things were cool, and bring them to the pool for night swimming or late swim practices in the summer. She made both with a heavy hand of lemon, one of my favorite flavors for dishes like this. This version is a teensy bit jazzed up with marinating the chick peas, but that’s super hands off and can be done way in advance – the longer in advance the better, actually. The garbanzos end up creamy but still with texture and so much flavor from the lemon juice, garlic, and crushed red pepper. I honestly can’t even.
First! Marinate the chick peas. Drain a can of garbanzo beans and gather up olive oil, lemon, salt, and crushed red pepper. Easy!
Pour all of the ingredients into a bowl.
Stir, taste, salt? Probably salt, depends on your beans. Let the beans sit in the fridge or on the countertop for at least 30 minutes, but preferably much longer.
When you’re nearly ready to serve, gather up the tabouli ingredients. LOTS of parsley, to start. If you’ve ever seen Middle Eastern tabouli (so many countries have a version), you’ll notice that it’s much more green than ours is – more green, always! I kept the veggies simple here with just cucumber and tomato.
Chop the parsley, cucumber, and tomato. Other ingredients are the other half of the lemon, more salt and crushed red pepper, cooked/cooled couscous, and the marinated chick peas. Drain the chick peas but reserve the marinade – we’ll use it to flavor the salad.
Start to build the tabouli by adding the couscous, tomato, cucumber, parsley, and half the marinated garbanzo beans to a large bowl. Squeeze in the lemon juice and drizzle a few tablespoons of the bean marinade over the salad.
Stir everything together, and taste/season/taste/season. I added almost all of the juice from the beans and a bit more salt. Extra crushed red pepper WOULD have been on my list, but Beck is such a wuss about spicy stuff.
Because of the simplicity of the ingredients, the tabouli should taste really flavorful, with a lot of salt and lemon juice – not bland at all. When it tastes great to you, serve it in a big bowl with the rest of the marinated chick peas on top.
I mean. Full meal, check. Side dish, check. Snack, done. Breakfast? It works.
We’re eating tons of dishes like this all season, and I couldn’t be more obsessed. Try tabouli soon!
- 1 can chick peas (Garbanzo beans), about 15 ounces
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 cup fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
- ½ English or Hothouse cucumber, chopped
- 1 ½ cups dried couscous, cooked to package directions and cooled (about 3 cups cooked)
Drain and rinse the chick peas. In a bowl, combine the chick peas with the salt, crushed red pepper, olive oil, and half of the lemon juice. Stir, and let sit for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. The longer the better!
When the chick peas have marinated, combine the parsley, tomato, cucumber, and couscous in a large bowl with the rest of the lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt.
Drain the chick peas and reserve the marinating liquid. Add half the chick peas to the tabouli mixture.
Stir gently together and taste the salad; drizzle over the marinade from the chick peas a little bit at a time until the salad is very flavorful. Sprinkle on extra salt and crushed red pepper to your taste.
Serve the salad in shallow bowls or plates topped with the remaining garbanzo beans. Enjoy!