Our journey to Austin comes to an end today. We’re getting ready for long travels up north, returning to reality and moderation, and braving the bitter cold. As I depart Austin, I take comfort in the fact that, like during my trip to Israel, I can reproduce my favorite meals here at home. (Tacos, here we come!)
The last meal I prepared in our sleek white and wood kitchen here will be this wintery twist on classic tabbouleh. This quinoa dish and this tahini shake were both inspired by my trip to Israel in the fall of last year. Israel is complicated, as I’ve already stated. But the people and places we went to were friendly and welcoming, not to mention beautiful. The scenery truly sparkles in that enchanted Mediterranean air.
To complete the Israel experience, I’ve included a ton of photos below. While we wait for spring, this herbaceous salad is ideal if you’re in the mood for a fresh, healthy salad or side dish. The traditional tomatoes have been replaced with tender, cubed butternut, and I’ve added some cranberries for flavor. I’m leaving Austin and will be back in Kansas City soon with a post.
- 1 small butternut squash (about 1 ½ 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.