Food & Drink

Turn tabbouleh into a wintry dish

Roasted sweet potatoes bring heft to a winter tabbouleh.
Roasted sweet potatoes bring heft to a winter tabbouleh. Chicago Tribune

Food writing springs from an affinity, not an affliction.

I like simple pairings like warm and cool, cooked and raw, sweet and sharp, all of which exercise good form in cold-weather tabbouleh, a wintry take on a summery side dish.

It’s an approach that anyone — even an astrophysicist — can grasp.

Cold-weather tabbouleh

Yield: Makes 6 cups

Prep: 30 minutes / Cook: 25 minutes

1 cup bulgur, see note

1 3/4 cups boiling water

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large sweet potato, 1/2-inch dice

2 cups halved grape tomatoes

3/4 cup finely chopped red onion

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

About 5 tablespoons olive oil

About 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Soak: Measure bulgur into a large bowl. Pour on boiling water. Cover and let rest at room temperature, about 30 minutes. (If any water remains, drain and squeeze the grains dry.)

Roast: Meanwhile, toss the sweet potato, tomatoes, 1/2 cup of the red onion, 2 cloves garlic and 2 tablespoons oil in a roasting or sheet pan. Season with salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees until potatoes turn tender, 25 to 27 minutes.

Toss: Scrape vegetables onto bulgur. Toss with remaining 1/4 cup chopped red onion and remaining 1 clove chopped garlic. Toss, to taste, with about 2 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Let rest at room temp until ready to serve.

Note: Bulgur, a precooked cracked wheat with a nutty flavor, is usually stocked near the rice. If you’ve got options, choose a fine-grain version (or buy a box marked “tabbouleh” and toss the spice packet).