Summer may not officially start for another couple weeks, but the warm temps have already arrived – and that means it’s time to take the cooking outside. As part of my efforts to be more sustainable (and save money!), I rarely turn on the air conditioning, so cooking in the oven is inefficient at best, and intolerable at worst. Plus, there’s just something so primal about cooking over fire. It awakens a deep part of our soul that connects us to nature, our ancestors, and our tribe. Right? Who doesn’t want to invite friends over for a grill out?
Not only does the grill keep us from heating up the house, but we all know and love the incredible flavor that comes from cooking over coals. You don’t have to be a carnivore or a seasoned grillmaster to enjoy superb smoky flavor, this Grilled Vegetables with Marinated Feta and Tabbouleh recipe inspired by Chef Jamie Oliver is easy enough for newbies and veterans alike. It’s a party-sized portion that would make an excellent side dish but easily stands on its own.
The bright colors of the seasonal produce seared with gorgeous grill marks creates a feast for the eyes before you even dig in to the mouthwatering flavors and textures starting with light and fresh tabbouleh made with cucumber, lemon, mint, and parsley, piled high with grilled eggplant, summer squash, garlic, and onions, and then topped with savory marinated griddled feta and a heavy drizzle of olive oil.
Bring this to your next gathering and gleefully watch guests devour every last bite.
- ½ a bunch of fresh oregano (2 tbsp of dried would be fine)
- ½ a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 red onion
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 block feta cheese
- olive oil
- 3 summer squash (a mixture of yellow and green)
- 1-2 tomatoes
- 1 head of garlic
- Healthy Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups bulgar wheat
- 1 bunch of fresh mint
- 1 big bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
- ½ a cucumber
- 1 lemon
- Light your grill and give the coals time to get nice and hot.
- Pick the oregano and parsley leaves, peel and slice the onions into wedges and halve the eggplant lengthways.
- Add the feta to a small bowl with half the oregano leaves, a drizzle of Healthy Harvest Greek olive oil and a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the rest of the dish.
- Next make the tabbouleh. Cook the bulgar wheat according to the instructions, then drain. Set it aside to cool a little.
- Pick and finely chop the mint and parsley, then finely chop the cucumber.
- Once the bulgar wheat has cooled, mix in the mint, parsley and cucumber, a good squeeze of lemon juice and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Have a taste and tweak the seasoning to your liking, then cover and set aside.
- Once your grill is hot, grill all of the vegetables and the garlic and, once beautifully charred on both sides, transfer them to a chopping board.
- Chop up all the veg together, squeezing the garlic cloves out of their skins and squishing the tomatoes. Roughly chop the parsley and remaining oregano leaves into the vegetables, season and drizzle with olive oil.
- Carefully griddle the whole marinated feta on the barbecue for about 3 minutes (this will depend how hot your barbecue is), or until golden and crispy, then gently turn and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.
- Spoon the tabbouleh onto a large serving dish, then top with the chopped vegetables.
- Place the griddled feta in the centre, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil (True Tuscan adds a nice peppery finish) To serve, crumble the feta over the top. Delicious served with crusty bread.