It's finally summer--at least per the thermometer here in NYC--and the long-awaited arrival of Memorial Day weekend. Whether you're traveling or hanging out at home, there's bound to be some summer-themed fare in your menu forecast. This salad is the perfect thing to bring with you to a barbecue or whip up to have for yourself as a side to any number of mains. It's super light and refreshing and--bonus--a "vegan" salad that won't intimidate anyone on a buffet table.
Tabouleh is a traditional Israeli/Mediterranean dish that typically features quinoa and tons of parsley in a ratio that favors the latter, which boosts its nutrition. (Read: you can eat a lot with relatively few calories.) In this version, using barley, the grain is slightly meatier, but that doesn't weigh down the salad; rather, I found that this grain gave it a chewier, more satisfying bite without sacrificing health. The key to getting tabouleh right is chopping. Don't get lazy and leave big chunks of anything: chop chop chop until everything is finer than you think it needs to be. You won't regret it.
Vegan Memorial Day Recipes: Classic Tabouleh Salad
1 bunch fresh basil, stems removed and finely chopped
2 pints grape tomatoes, quartered
1 medium cucumber, finely chopped (peeled or unpeeled)
juice from 2 medium lemons
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1. Combine the barley and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer and cover for 20 minutes or until almost all the water is absorbed and the barley is soft.
2. Meanwhile, chop the remaining ingredients and combine in a large mixing bowl. You want lots of room to stir, so the bigger the bowl the better!
3. Add the oil, juice, garlic, and spices, stir to combine.
4. When the barley is done, and while it's still warm and with any remaining liquid, add it to your mixing bowl and stir very well. Taste to adjust spices and/or lemon juice (for consistency) as needed.
5. Refrigerate for several hours until chilled through before serving. Because of the juices, this salad is best eaten within 3 days.
What are your favorite vegan Memorial Day recipes?
Features Editor Jennifer Kurdyla is a New York City girl with Jersey roots and a propensity for getting lost in the urban jungle. An experienced publishing professional, yoga instructor, home chef, sometimes-runner, and writer, she adopted a vegetarian lifestyle in 2008 and became vegan in 2013. She has written for The Harvard Review Online, The Rumpus, and Music & Literature and maintains a wellness-based website, Be Nourished, which features original writing and recipes. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram @jenniferkurdyla, Twitter @jenniferkurdyla, and Pinterest.