Today is the day our Austin adventure ends. We’re packing our bags and preparing for long drives north, back to reality and moderation and freezing cold temperatures. As I leave Austin, I find some peace in knowing that I can recreate my favorite dishes here at home, like I’ve done with my Israel experience. (Tacos, coming up!)
This wintery spin on traditional tabbouleh will go down as the last meal I cooked in our modern white and wood kitchen here. It was inspired by my trip to Israel last fall, which I’ve talked about in this quinoa dish and this tahini shake. Like I’ve said already, Israel is complicated. The people and places we visited, though, were warm and inviting, not to mention gorgeous. That magical Mediterranean air really makes the scenery sparkle.
I included quite a few photos below to round out the Israel experience. This herbaceous salad is just right if you’re craving a light, healthy salad or side while we wait for spring. Tender, cubed butternut replaces the traditional tomatoes and I added some cranberries for intrigue. Adios from Austin, I’ll be posting soon from Kansas City!
- 1 small butternut squash (about 1½ pounds), sliced into little ¼-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup bulgur
- 1 cup water
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley (about ½ bunch of parsley, chopped)
- ½ cup chopped fresh mint (1 small bunch of mint, chopped)
- 1 shallot, minced (about ⅓ cup minced)
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Optional garnish: crumbled feta cheese
- To cook the butternut, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the cubed butternut and 1 teaspoon salt. Toss to coat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, then uncover and continue cooking until the butternut is tender and the edges are nice and caramelized, about 7 minutes. Transfer the butternut to a medium-sized serving bowl to cool.
- While the butternut is cooking, combine the bulgur and water in a pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let the bulgur rest for 5 minutes in the covered pot. Fluff the bulgur with a fork and season to taste with salt. Let the bulgur cool.
- Once the butternut and bulgur have cooled down, toss them together in your serving bowl. Add the chopped parsley, mint and shallot, as well as the dried cranberries. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the bowl and drizzle in 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil, to taste. Toss and serve with crumbled feta on top, if you’d like.
Make it gluten free: Substitute cooked quinoa for the bulgur.
Disclaimer: My trip to Israel was provided by Vibe Israel, a non-profit group that hosts small groups of media professionals at a time and shows them around the country. I’m sharing the experience because I found it so inspiring. Opinions are my own, always!