Foul Maslouk and Tabbouleh with Cauliflower Crumble
This recipe is for a dish that was presented to me by a dear friend who like me is plant-based and pretty athletic. When I saw the recipe I knew straight away that this was a Syrian dish, one that I could instantly recognise as a taste harking back to my youth. However, I cannot recall ever trying this specific dish. It is not one that I remember to be part of my mother’s repertoire, nor one that stands out from any particular occasion, but one that I knew that I would instantly adopt and introduce to the Greens.
Because I do not have any recollection of having tasted this dish, I cannot say that the recipe that we enjoy as a family is really authentic. From some limited research online and a brief chat with my father, I found two possible ways in which it can be prepared. It is a simple dish using only a few ingredients and any swap in them can alter the dish quite a bit.
Fresh parsley is what my father and my friend who presented the dish to me would use, but I also came across some recipes calling instead for coriander (cilantro). Both of these herbs are typical of Damascene dishes, so I decided to use both. And we believe that they work very well together. The only other ingredients are garlic, olive oil and salt. Adding a squeeze of lemon juice, some of its zest and some shredded fresh mint may elevate the dish if you are into herbs (we are).
The dish is commonly eaten with some Arabic flat bread and as part of a larger muqabillat (tapas styley). We serve it with bread and with a tabbouleh salad. Because the beans are eaten with bread (which completes the protein profile – tick!) we replace the bulghur in the salad with a cauliflower crumble, aka cauliflower rice.
Both of these dishes are great served at room temperature and so made their way into quite a few outings over the summer. While fresh broad beans are a summer treat, we have found that using frozen baby broad beans work just as well, even a little better in the case of this dish. Baby broad beans can be eaten whole which saves time skinning the beans and is easier for our children to handle. Frozen beans are also available all year round and super quick to prepare.
I have found this dish to be a perfect post-run recovery snack, it is a treat eaten right out of the fridge after a long sweaty workout and has a nutritional profile to take on any powdered potion.
Ingredients: (for 2 adults and 2 children)
- 300g frozen baby broadbeans
- 30g fresh parsley
- 30g fresh coriander
- 4 X large cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, add more to taste
- Salt to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the frozen beans, return the water to the boil and cook for an additional five minutes.
- Immediately strain the beans and rinse with cold water. Overcooking the beans will alter the taste and they will loose their vibrant green colour.
- Finely chop the parsley and coriander by hand or in a food processor (using a food processor is easier if also making the tabbouleh) and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Finely dice the garlic and add to the herbs along with the olive oil and a pinch of salt
- Stir to combine the herb mixture before adding the cooked broad beans. Mix well ensuring that the beans are all well coated in the mixture.
- Return the beans to the pot that they were cooked in and warm the mixture through on a low heat for aprox. five minutes
- Maintain a low temperature so that the herbs wilt rather than cook.
- I have found recipes that suggest sauteing the herbs, garlic and oil mixture prior to adding the beans, but I find that mixing it with the beans allows the beans to warm through while also taking on more of the flavours offered by the herb mixture.
- Season to taste and serve
Tabbouleh with Cauliflower Crumble:
- 70g fresh parsley
- 70g fresh coriander
- 30g fresh mint
- 2 X small spring onions
- 1 X large clove garlic
- 4 X large cauliflower florets, weighing roughly 200g
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (roughly 2 small lemons)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Unfortunately a food processor is needed to make the cauliflower crumble, otherwise many larger supermarkets (at least in central London) now carry packaged cauliflower “rice” or “couscous”
- Wash and dry the cauliflower florets and break into smaller pieces before placing in a food processor. Using the S blade gently pulse the cauliflower until a crumble is reached, it should be the consistency of a coarse bulgar or basmati rice.
- Remove the cauliflower crumble and place in a large mixing or salad bowl.
- Place the parsley, coriander, mint and spring onions into the food processor and pulse until finely diced.
- Place in the bowl with the cauliflower and mix well to combine.
- Finely dice the garlic or run through a garlic press and place into a jar with a lid along with a pinch of salt, olive oil and lemon juice. Close the lid tightly and shake it like nobody’s business.
- Pour the dressing over the tabbouleh 5 minutes prior to serving.