03 July 2012

Keshke Salad - Wheat, Courgette and Walnuts

I just love middle-eastern food. It seems kind of weird to be saying that as a formerly-Midwestern farm girl who grew up on corn and potatoes and cows (usually our own). But I feel as though it's a remarkably well-rounded diet, where whole grains and legumes play key roles, and meat features much less heavily than in western diets.

Bf and I are on a bit of a health kick lately, and I'm trying to make meals for us that are less oily, buttery, carby, cheesy. Maybe coming home with a 5kg sack of dried chickpeas, and another of cracked bulgur wheat, was not what he had in mind. But when he asks me to health-it-up in the kitchen, well, this is what he gets. Instead of rice or potatoes, we'll have this - which pulls carb-duty while being much higher in protein (whole grains, broad beans, walnuts) and vitamins (pretty much everything in there). The unrefined grains will keep us fuller for longer, too, so we are less prone to snacking.

This salad is really tasty, simple, and the textures really work lovely together - a crunch of toasted walnut, slightly bitter, is met with a fresh green broad bean, and pulled together with just a touch of creaminess from the yogurt. Gorgeous. This isn't the first time I've made it, and it certainly won't be the last!

Keshke Salad
adapted from Taste of Beirut

1/2 cup of cracked wheat (bulgur wheat)
a handful of fava beans (broad beans) - I used frozen
1 small courgette (zucchini), diced
some chopped chives (I used dried, for shame!)
one big spoonful of full-fat greek yogurt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
sea salt to taste
juice of half a lemon
handful chopped walnuts, toasted

Wheat: place in a glass bowl and pour over plenty of boiling water. Cover with a towel and let sit 15-30 minutes until soft. Drain in a seive and return to bowl.

Fava: boil in water for 1-2 minutes, drain and run cold water over. When cooled, peel the beans by nicking the end with your fingernails, and squeeze the other end of the bean to pop it out of its thick skin. Add these to the bowl of wheat.

Courgette: dice and saute in olive oil over medium-high heat. Let it get brown, but be careful to not overcook it. Soggy is no good! Add this to the bowl.

Toast the chopped walnuts in the same pan and add these, along with remaining ingredients. Give it a good toss and check your seasoning.

Eat it up! Will serve 2 as a side dish, or 1 hungry girl for a solo, one-bowl lunch.

[I forgot to add chopped parsley and tahini to the dish, which the original recipe includes. I have them both in my fridge, and I'm gutted that I forgot about them - I will definitely include them next time!]