Tabbouleh

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The weather has been shocking in the UK. More rain and wind than you could imagine and it’s been dark for weeks on end. It’s really starting to get me (and everyone else) down, a serious lack of vitamin D I think. While we wait for the sun’s return, the obvious antidote is a little bit of summer for lunch and what could be better than a fresh, herb-heavy salad straight out of the Middle East? Tabbouleh is a bulgur wheat salad that should contain more parsley than wheat, giving it that lovely colour. The origins of the word are from the Arabic word “taabil” meaning ‘seasoning’ and it really is all about those extra flavours of parsley, lemon, red onion that save the bulgur wheat from blandness.

Tabbouleh (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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Makes a big bowlful, probably serves 4-8 as a side dish

  • 1/2 cup bulgur wheat
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 huge bunch of parsley! (3 cups chopped)
  • Small bunch of mint, (3 tbsps chopped)
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

– Simmer the bulgur wheat in the water for about 15 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed and the grains are cooked through.
– Once cooked place in a sieve or remove any remaining excess water
– Place the wheat in a serving bowl and fluff up with a fork.
– Pour over the lemon, oil and salt. Mix well.
– Stir in the parsley, mint, onion and tomatoes.
– Toss well and serve at room temperature.

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Smoked Paprika and Parsley Falafel Patties (with Lemon Egg-free Mayo)

For some reason I got to thinking about the combination of smoked paprika and parsley (I do think about food a lot on my long, gruelling commute!) and pondered how I could combine them in a interesting way. Obviously smoked paprika works perfectly in stews or sauces, but I had a feeling that some kind of patty would also work well. In fact these little burgers of chickpeas, parsley and smoked paprika work a treat and will make a good choice for a picnic or barbecue. They work especially well with the lemon and garlic mayo. The only question is what to call them – they’re a kind of falafel as they’re made of chickpeas, a kind of burger, patty, cakes – in the end I opted for falafel patties to cover as many bases as possible!

Smoked Paprika and Parsley Falafel Patties (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, vegetarian and vegan – to make gluten-free use gluten-free flour)

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makes 6

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsps smoked paprika, use the sweet variety unless you like it HOT!
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained (or use soaked and cooked dried beans – I just didn’t have the time!)
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • splash of red wine vinegar
  • big handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp smoky chipotle sauce (optional)
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

– Fry the shallot in the oil until soft

– Stir in the garlic and paprika and cook until fragrant, set aside

– Blitz the chickpeas in a food processor until resembling breadcrumbs.

– Add all the other ingredients and pulse until well combined

– Turn into a bowl and place in the fridge for at least 1/2 an hour to firm up

– Form into 6 patties and leave in the fridge until ready to use

– Fry in a little sunflower oil until golden brown

– Drain on kitchen paper and serve with the lemon and parsley mayo.

Lemon and Garlic Egg-free Mayo

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  • 2-3 tbsps egg-free mayo
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • salt
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced

– Combine all the ingredients

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Leek, Courgette and Parsley Soup

We’ve been swamped with leeks in our weekly veg box. I would have just made a bowl of my frankly awesome vichyssoise, but in writing a food blog your mind is always needing to come up with new foodie ideas, so here instead is another bowl of green deliciousness. The lemon zest may sound slightly unusual, but it packs a mighty punch and adds real interest to the soup.

Leek, Courgette and Parsley Soup (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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serves 4

  • 3 leeks, washed and chopped
  • 2 courgettes, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • lemon zest, of 1/2 a lemon
  • Large handful of parsley
  • 600 ml vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper

– Sauté the leeks and courgettes in olive oil until starting to turn golden
– Add a clove of garlic and continue to cook until fragrant
– Pour in the stock
– Add the lemon zest and simmer for 15-20 minutes ( add the parsley after 10 minutes) until all the vegetables are cooked through.
– Blitz in a liquidizer
– Taste and adjust the seasoning, perhaps adding a splash of lemon juice for a bit of zing
– Serve garnished with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some parsley.

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Mediterranean vegetable and parsley Pasta Salad

I love parsley – it’s so versatile but can often be overlooked by more flamboyant herbs. This pasta salad certainly lets the parsley shine, and uses those sunny Mediterranean vegetables that take my right back to the sunshine of Provence.

Mediterranean vegetable and parsley pasta salad (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

serves 4

  • 1/2 pack of pasta
  • 2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 courgette, cut into small cubes
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, skin on
  • 1 cup parsley, finely chopped

– Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade/gas mark 6
-Place the vegetables and garlic in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and lightly season.
– Roast for 30-40 minutes until soft and starting to char. Keep warm.
– Cook the pasta according to the directions on the pack
– Meanwhile, squeeze the roasted garlic out of their skins and mash. Whisk in the oil, vinegar and seasoning. Taste.
– Once the pasta is cooked al dente, drain and immediately stir in the dressing and roasted vegetables.
– Leave to cool.
– Taste and add more vinegar, seasoning as required
– Stir in the finely chopped parsley and serve