Bulgur Salad with Spring Herbs

I grow a number of herbs in my garden.  They are not only great to have for cooking, they are also pretty, easy-going members of my garden plant communities.  While tabouleh is often made with parsley, I’m highlighting three mild fresh green herbs in this version:  mint, lemon balm, and fennel fronds.  They’re like good friends, and play well together on the palate.  And, just for fun, I added some primrose petals for a bit of color.  (Yes!  some flowers are edible)

lemon, primrose, mint, fennel fronds, and lemon balm

Bulgur Salad with Spring Herbs

Lemon balm is a delightful, easy to grow herb, and smells of lemon.  I grow a couple different types of mint.  In this recipe I use my favorite for cooking – Kentucky Colonel.  I lightly dressed the bulgur and herbs with olive oil and fresh lemon juice, seasoning with sea salt to taste.  Simple, easy, fresh and satisfying.  Enjoy!

Bulgur Salad with Spring Herbs

1 cup wheat bulgur
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 cups boiling water
fresh squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
3 TB olive oil
2 – 3 sprigs mint
2 – 3 sprigs lemon balm
fennel fronds

In a medium bowl, pour boiling water over bulgur and salt.  Cover and let sit for 20 minutes.  Remove cover, fluff the bulgur, and cool in the fridge for another 20 minutes.

Chop herbs fine, then mix into the prepared bulgur with the olive oil and lemon juice.  Add more salt to taste if needed, then serve.  Garnish with edible flowers if desired.

Watermelon, Mint, and Feta Salad

Here’s a refreshing, flavor-packed salad –  particularly delicious on a warm day.

Watermelon, Mint, and Feta Salad

Watermelon, Mint, and Feta Salad

Sweet juicy watermelon, fresh mint, salty feta, and a hit of red chili makes this salad a four part flavor blast: sweet, salty, savory, and fresh.  Enjoy!

Watermelon, Mint and Feta Salad
(amounts depend on servings needed)

Watermelon cubes, chilled and seeded – aim for about 1 cup cubes per serving
fresh mint, chiffonade cut
feta cheese, crumbled – about 1 1/2 TB per serving
extra virgin olive oil, best quality – about 1 tsp. per serving
red chili flakes (optional)
sea salt

Arrange watermelon cubes on a platter.  Top with feta cheese and mint .  Sprinkle with just a little salt and chili flakes, to taste.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Serve and enjoy!

Vegan/Dairy free option:  substitute toasted pumpkin seeds for the feta cheese

Orange Fennel Rice Salad

Juicy navel oranges team up with crunchy fennel, slivered almonds, and brown rice to make this salad a standout addition to a meal, or a great portable lunch on the go.
orange fennel salad 2 Orange Fennel salad 1The addition of fresh mint keeps this mid-winter salad bright.  Use your best olive oil and freshly ground black pepper to add other layers of flavor.

Orange Fennel Rice Salad

1 cup raw slivered almonds, toasted and cooled
2 cups cooked and cooled long grain brown rice (1 cup raw rice = 2 cups cooked rice)
2 large navel oranges, peeled and cut up into bite size chunks
1 large fennel bulb, root end removed, cut into bite size chunks
1/4 cup best quality extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp. sea salt
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh mint

Simply toss all the ingredients together in a salad bowl.  Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.  Serve at room temperature.  Store in the refrigerator.  Makes a great packable lunch the next day.

Sunny Citrus Platter

One of the great gifts of winter at the produce market is citrus.  Just when the days are short and the skies are often gray we get a POW of flavor and energy in the citrus aisle.  Not only do we get a jolt of flavor and color from our citrus, but we also get needed vitamin C and a host of other nutrients.  There are many beautiful, zippy fruit from which to choose.  This simple fruit salad is so easy to make, and perks up any winter meal.

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Sunny Citrus Platter

one navel orange
one mandarin orange
one tangerine
one blood orange
a sprig of fresh mint

Using a sharp paring knife, cut off the peel of the citrus to expose the juice fruit.  Cut into bite size pieces and arrange on a small platter.  Chiffonade the mint and sprinkle over the citrus.  Enjoy!

Fresh Pea Soup with Mint

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I have been making this recipe often this Spring.  It’s just right – – tasty, fast, and as beautiful as it is good for the body.  It’s so GREEN.  I use my homemade chicken stock in this soup, but it’s nearly as good with water.  Takes about 20 minutes to make.  Seriously – it’s that fast and easy.  Enjoy!

Fresh Pea Soup with Mint
Serves 2 – 3 for an entree, or 4 – 5 for a starter.  Doubles easily.

1 shallot, minced
1 TB butter
1 LB shelled fresh peas (I use frozen petite peas)
3 – 4 cups chicken stock
salt and fresh ground pepper
fresh mint, about 1/4 cup chopped

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Sauté shallot in butter for a few minutes.  Add peas and barely cover with chicken stock.  Be careful not to add too much, or the soup will be thin.  You can always add more stock if the soup is too thick.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add mint, then immediately puree soup in a blender or with an immersion blender.  Add more stock or water if it’s too thick.  Season with salt and pepper, garnish with a fresh mint leaf, and serve.