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Tabbouleh with Zaatar Roasted Eggplant
Tabbouleh with Zaatar Roasted Eggplant

Here is a simple recipe for you that so far everybody who has tried it loves. The middle eastern recipe called tabbouleh is based on a load of fresh herbs (really, make sure you use a lot of herbs) and bulgur. Bulgur is wheat that is crushed and pre-cooked, then dried again, so there is no need to boil the bulgur before adding this to the salad – the moisture from tomatoes, oil, and lemon juice soaks right into the grains making them softer and even more flavorful. Of course, if you don’t have 40 minutes to wait until the bulgur slowly absorbs the liquid you can also quickly boil it for 5 minutes, but I really do not recommend this. 

The salad itself is already quite filling in my opinion, but I recently hosted a dinner party where a vegan main was needed, and so I felt the need to add another element. Eggplant with zaatar seemed appropriate in my head, and luckily it translated well into the real dish too. While roasting eggplant, please make sure you leave it in the oven for long enough, as this is probably the only vegetable that tastes a lot better when overcooked and just terrible when undercooked. 

The recipe is also a good thing to meal prep as it is really good at least for 5 days and the eggplant tastes good also if cold or at room temperature. 

Tabbouleh with Zaatar Roasted Eggplant

Cooking time: 1 hour (most of it waiting time)

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup of bulgur

3 ripe tomatoes (using different colors is always fun)

1 long cucumber

1 medium red onion

A huge bunch of flatleaf parsley (at least 2 ½ ounces)

A huge bunch of mint (at least 2 ounces)

½ cup olive oil

1/3 cup lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

For the eggplant:

1 large eggplant

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp zaatar

½ tsp salt

Instructions:

Chop the tomatoes, cucumbers, and onion into small cubes and mix them all with bulgur (there is no need to cook the bulgur). Make sure to drizzle in all the juices from the vegetables as these are flavors!

Add in lemon juice and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper – adding the liquid and juicy ingredients first, the bulgur can already start the soaking process.

Then chop the herbs finely and add them in. Leave the salad to gather flavor for at least 30-40 minutes. Then check back and make sure the bulgur is softened nicely and the flavor is on point. 

For the eggplants, mix olive oil, lemon juice, zaatar, and salt for the marinade, cut the eggplant lengthwise in quarters, and cover evenly with marinade. Let it sit for 20 minutes, then cook in 400F oven with fan on for 20 minutes until nice and tender. 

Serve the warm roasted eggplant on top of a refreshing salad for a light, yet filling plant-based meal.


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