Prep,Cooking & Assembly: 40-45 mins (*Dependent upon skill and/or grain used).
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board(s), large bowl or casserole dish, large pot (with lid), colander, sharp knife, baking tray (or grill pan), small dish, pastry brush, resealable containers
Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in added salt and sugar and has a moderate quantity of fat!
We’re both fans of Middle Eastern (ME) foods, so when looking for something to add to our meal plan last Saturday, Tabbouleh sprang to mind! It’s a great recipe that enables you to still make use of some tasty, cheap and seasonal ingredients (tomatoes and cucumber!) or herbs from your garden before summer is officially gone. Yes, this salad can really put a spring in your step courtesy of its wonderful, healthful and fresh flavours; mint, parsley and lemon are delicious and they can really transform a dish!
For those that are unfamiliar with this recipe, Tabbouleh is a ME dish that offers big flavours, and beautiful colours that are all really satisfying to the last bite! It can be served with flatbreads, but we thought about taking that idea one step further and created this Tabbouleh-Fattoush fusion salad (with crumbled ‘feta’ aka marinated, silken tofu)!
Fattoush is another ME classic where flatbreads (that have become stale) are then seasoned, toasted or fried to create croutons. These delicious morsels of bread are then combined in a chunky, vegetable-based salad; mint, parsley and sumac (a tart and citrusy spice that comes from a flower) are typical flavours that give this salad a fresh and tangy taste.
So why the pearl barley?? We prefer larger grains in our salads, but unfortunately giant couscous (at least where we live) can be quite pricey in comparison to other grains. Luckily, pearl barley makes a tasty and cheap substitution… it just takes a little longer to cook (but we assure you it’s completely worth the wait)!
We kept our salad veggies slightly chunky and varied; radish is another great, seasonal vegetable that works well in this salad. We also added crushed sumac berries (aka ground sumac) to not only to season the croutons, but the salad and tofu. If you are not keen on pearl barley, you could use more traditional Tabbouleh grains such as Israeli couscous or bulgur wheat, or even experiment with orzo. If you need a gluten free option, be inventive! Try using cooked quinoa, millet, brown basmati or wild rice, or a GF couscous (if you don’t mind the taste of maize).
Please adjust the flavourings, grains and/or vegetables to your own personal taste and we hope that you enjoy this healthy salad as much as we did! 😀
Quick Foodie Facts & Tips:
- Per serving, this salad provides you with approx. 3 servings of fruits/vegetables towards your 5-A-Day!
- Pearl barley is naturally low in fat and sugar and is a great source of many nutrients including: protein, fibre, Vitamin B3, iron, zinc (just to name a few) among other vitamins and minerals.
Need an easy-print recipe?Print here. 🙂
- Prepare the ‘crumbled feta’. Open, drain and place the tofu into a casserole (or large) dish. Sprinkle over 2g onion powder, 2g dried oregano and 1/2 tsp crushed sumac berries. Pour over 2 tbsp garlic-infused and 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and 3 tbsp lemon juice. Season to taste with a little salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Leave it to marinade for about 40-45 mins (if possible). Tip: Prepare this the day before; the longer you allow for marinating, the better the ‘crumbled feta’ (aka tofu!) will taste.
- In the meantime, cook the pearl barley according to the packet instructions. Drain. Rinse with tepid water (if necessary). Allow to cool. NB: Ours took about 30-35 mins to cook. We rinsed ours as it was a bit ‘starchy’ post-cooking.
- Meanwhile, prepare the salad veggies. Wash and remove the mint and parsley leaves from its stem; coarsely chop them. Wash, trim the ends and roughly dice the cucumber. Wash, trim the ends and chop the spring onion into slices. Remove the stem, wash and then dice the tomatoes. Wash, trim the tops and finely slice the radishes Tip: a cheese grater works great for this!
Prepare The Croutons (The Fattoush!)
- Heat the grill to a medium-high setting.
2. Place 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp of crushed sumac berries and a pinch of salt into a small dish. Mix with a fork to thoroughly combine.
3. Slice the pitta bread into halves. Lightly coat both sides with the oil mixture using a pastry brush or your fingers. Place under the hot grill for 2 mins, turn and heat for a further 2-3 mins or until lightly toasted. Remove.
4. Separate the pitta bread. Coat the inside of the bread with the remaining oil mixture. Place back under the grill for a further 1-2 mins or until lightly browned and slightly crispy. Remove. Allow to cool slightly.
5. Break into smaller pieces (if desired).
Assemble The Salad!
- Once cool, place the pearl barley into a large bowl or (resealable plastic container) with the mint and parsley. Stir with a fork to combine and ‘fluff’ the grains.
2. Add the cucumber, spring onion, tomatoes, radish, 2 tbsp garlic-infused and 2- 2½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 3-4 tbsp lemon juice and ½-1 tsp crushed sumac berries. Season it to taste with a little salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
3. Stir with a fork to thoroughly combine. Taste and season as necessary.
4. Gently chop the tofu into rough pieces (as small or as large as desired) to form your ‘crumbled feta’.
5. If you are not serving this straight away, remove the tofu with a slotted spoon and transfer it into a separate resealable container with a little of its marinating liquid (if preferred).
Place the salad onto a serving place. Top with the ‘crumbled feta’ and croutons.
Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; the salad is best consumed within 3 days. NB: The tofu is best consumed within 4-5 days.