Fresh tabbouleh flavors get an added boost of protein from chickpeas, feta cheese and whole wheat pasta to make this a delicious side dish or entree salad.
Happy Monday Everyone! Today is the big day – I am in Los Angeles to attend the Live Finale of Biggest Loser Season 14!!!! I am counting down the minutes until I get to see Jillian, Bob and all of the contestants from past seasons up close and personal!! Ok, calm down Liz.
To help me out while I’m quickly trying to lose 20 lbs and get a spray tan before showtime, I’ve invited my friend Julia from A Cedar Spoon to guest post. Not only are we both mothers of toddler boys but we both come from Middle Eastern families and have garlic, lemon and olive oil running through our veins. Once you check out Julia’s blog I know you’ll fall in love with her incredible recipes including Kibbeh Meatballs with Spiced Yogurt Sauce, How to Make Baklava and Homemade Yogurt (Laban).
Without further ado…. welcome Julia!
I’m Julia from A Cedar Spoon and am honored to be guest posting for Liz while she is traveling. Liz is a true inspiration to me. Her blog offers healthy, delicious recipes that inspire me to try new foods and continuously think about the choices I make when eating. Her fitness ideas and tips are also a huge motivation (especially on those days that I just don’t feel like going to the gym). Liz and I both come from Middle Eastern families where Middle Eastern food is the center of our gatherings, whether it is talking while digging into hummus, or passing around plates of kibbeh, fattoush and baba ghanoush.
Today’s recipe that I am sharing with you is a Middle Eastern favorite of mine with a little twist. This Tabbouleh Whole Wheat Pasta Salad is inspired by one of my favorite salads at Trader Joes. It mixes the traditional tabbouleh (minus the bulgar wheat), chickpeas, feta cheese and whole wheat pasta with a light lemony vinaigrette that is perfect for picnics, lunch or dinner.
This is one of my go-to salads that not only tastes great but is healthy for you. Some of the health benefits include:
The extra-virgin olive oil used in the dressing is made up of monounsaturated fatty acids (healthy fats) which helps to lower your risk of heart disease.
The chickpeas are full of protein, fiber and are loaded with vitamins and minerals.
Lemon juice offers your body vitamin C and potassium helping to keep your immune system healthy.
And the list goes on…
As with many salads you can modify this to your tastes by adding vegetables like cucumber or red pepper, or using vegetable pasta instead of whole wheat pasta. Salads offer a chance to be creative in the kitchen.
By the second day you will notice the salad starts to lose the lemony taste because the pasta is soaking up the dressing. Add a little olive oil and lemon until the salad has the flavor you want.
I hope you get the chance to make this for your next family gathering or as a healthy lunch option.
- 2 cups curly parsley chopped
- 3-4 large tomatoes diced
- 9-10 thinly sliced green onions (about 1 bunch green parts only)
- ½ can of chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat pasta or pasta of your choice
- 2 oz crumbly feta cheese
- 1 lemon juiced
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the pasta according to package. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking and set aside.
Chop the tomatoes, parsley, green onion and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the chickpeas and feta cheese and mix together. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl whisk together the lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil.
Slowly pour the lemon dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Place the salad in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to let the flavors soak into the salad.
Add the pasta into the salad and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Feel free to substitute whatever pasta you like. Add vegetables like cucumber, green or red pepper or radishes. Save the other ½ of the can of chickpeas in the refrigerator to use during the week to garnish salads.