The perfect 5:2 Diet Recipe for a Healthy Detox? Taboulah.
I like to eat well on my 5:2 diet fast days – and the 5:2 diet recipes I create are intended to help my health overall as well as hopefully save calories! There are certain dishes that always make me feel better when I eat them and that I instictively choose when I want a healthy detox. Taboulah is one of them. Normally it’s something I order in a Lebanese restaurant and I’ve always loved the fresh taste of mint and parsley that works so well with the grilled meats and fabulous breads you can get in places like Maroush Bakehouse. I started to wonder why it makes me feel so good and have come to the conclusion it is because the dish is probably at least 50% made up of flat leaf parsley. Normally something you or I would use as a garnish, in taboulah, it has a starring role.
Further investigation explains why I feel so good after a helping of taboulah. Parsley does appear to have some remarkable qualities. According to Wiki, Parsley is a great source of some particular types of antioxidants(luteolin) and of folic acid, vitamin K, vitamin C and Vitamin A. And luteolin is something that is supposed to be anti inflammatory and anti-allergic. I’m now wondering if I could eat enough taboulah to get rid of my strawberry allergy! Anyway, the main reason for making a bowl of taboulah today was that I had a large bunch of flat leaf parsley lurking in the fridge and I really wanted to use it before it spoilt. I grow mint on the roof terrace but for whatever reason I haven’t managed to grow much parsley this year and so I bought a massive bunch a few days ago when I was making my 5:2 diet mushroom soup.
The other reason was that yesterday I went to three lovely events – a Pierre Herme event, the London Restaurant Festival launch party and Omar Alhiboy’s book launch party. After that, I felt in need of a detox lunch today.
So I made a couple of salads. And ate a LOT of taboulah. A normal size portion of this (about half a bowlful) using the recipe below should be about 78 calories. The calories come from the bulgur, which is where I cheated. I couldn’t get the RIGHT sort of bulgur. The idea is to us a fine milled bulgur that can added to the salad without any cooking or soaking, or if you prefer, just soak in warm water for half an hour then drain. Instead, I bought a coarser variety that needed to be cooked. It still tasted great! Certainly better than using cous cous, which is something you may see in other recipes, but which doesn’t have the nutty bite’of bulgur. If you find the parsley too overwhelming, then add some diced cucumber. But I quite like this hard-core version.
- 1 bunch Flat Leaf Parsley
- 25 g Bulgur Wheat Cooked till al dente or soaked in water for at least half an hour, then drained
- 1 Spring onion
- 1 Medium Vine tomato
- 1 handful Mint about 1/4 of the amount of mint to parley
- 1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 Lemon
Chop the spring onion finely. Remove all the thickest stems from the parsley and chop finely. It's important to do this with a knife not in a blender so that you keep as much juice as possible in the parsley.
Remove all the thickest stems from the parsley and chop finely. It's important to do this with a knife not in a blender so that you keep as much juice as possible in the parsley.
Take the leaves off the mint and chop finely
Dice the tomato
Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl, taste and season with salt. If necessary you can add a little more olive oil or lemon juice.
Strangely, this is a salad that I find works very well even in winter. You need to make it up just before you are ready to eat, although of course, you can prepare everything in advance. And at 78 calories for a large portion, I’m adding it to my 5:2 diet recipe collection as a perfect light lunch or side dish with some grilled fish or meat.