Middle Eastern pita pockets
Makes 8 sandwiches - 4 servings
This Middle Eastern classic is best if made a day in advance, making the cool, refreshing combination a quick-to-assemble, light dinner that your family will enjoy at the end of a busy day.
For the sandwich spread
1 cup Hummus
For the tabbouleh filling
1 ½ cups vegetable stock (prepare using stock concentrate, cubes, or powder)
¾ cup bulgur wheat
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Dash of ground allspice
Dash of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tomato, cut into ½-inch cubes
½ cup finely chopped celery
½ cup finely chopped cucumber
1/3 cup finely chopped green onions (both white and green parts)
½ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
For the bread
Four 7-inch multi-grain pita bread rounds, each cut to form 2 half-rounds
To complete the recipe
8 romaine lettuce leaves
To make the filling, heat the vegetable stock in a small covered saucepan over high heat. When the liquid comes to a boil, remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the bulgur wheat; cover and set aside until the liquid is completely absorbed and the bulgur is softened, about 30 to 40 minutes.
While the bulgur is soaking, whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil. Stir in the mint, pepper, cinnamon, salt, allspice, and nutmeg.
When it has cooled, transfer the bulgur wheat to a large bowl; add the remaining filling ingredients and toss. Whisk the lemon juice mixture, add it to the bulgur wheat, and toss again. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Refrigerate in a covered container for at least 1 hour before serving.
To assemble each sandwich, split open a pita half and spread the inside with 2 tablespoons of the Hummus, insert a romaine leaf, and fill with ½ cup of the Tabbouleh.
In separate covered containers in the refrigerator, the Hummus will keep for up to 5 days, and the Tabbouleh will keep for up to 3 days. Assemble the sandwiches just before serving.
Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.