Fresh mint is a great, versatile herb to use in salads and desserts or with red meats. Some mints like spearmint are sweet and mildly menthol, while others such as peppermint are sharply menthol with hot, spicy, and sweet overtones, says culinary herbalist and cookbook author Pat Crocker, who created this recipe for Real Food. Beyond their refreshing taste, Crocker says the plants have beneficial properties, too: Peppermint eases pain and acts as an antiseptic, a digestive aid, and as a stimulant. Use it in teas to possibly alleviate nausea, indigestion, gas, a sore throat, fever, and migraine headaches.
Here, mint adds a refreshingly clean taste with notes of menthol and lemon in this Middle Eastern-inspired dish. And if you enjoy some of its beneficial digestive or other properties? Bonus.
Minted Tabbouleh with Grilled Beef
Makes 4 Servings
For the Minted Tabbouleh
½ cup bulgur
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup boiling water
1½ cups chopped fresh parsley
1 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tomatoes, cut into ½-inch dice
½ cucumber, shredded
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the Steak
1 pound boneless top sirloin steak
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
grind of coarse sea salt and pepper, to taste
4 to 6 sprigs fresh mint, for garnish
- For the tabbouleh, combine bulgur and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a bowl. Pour boiling water over, cover, and set aside for 15 minutes. Drain using a fine-mesh sieve and transfer to a serving bowl. Add remaining oil, parsley, mint, tomatoes, and cucumber and mix well. Sprinkle salt and lemon juice over and stir to combine and set aside or cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Meanwhile for the beef, heat a grill pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil over steak and grind salt over. Place steak, oil side down, in the pan. Sear for about 2 minutes or until browned. Oil and salt the top of the steak, then flip and cook for about 2 minutes or until the underside is browned. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Slice steak crosswise into ½-inch slices.
- Spoon tabbouleh onto a large platter or individual plates and top with grilled beef slices. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs.
Cook’s Note: For a light starter, side dish or appetizer, serve tabbouleh with toasted pita cut into wedges.
More with Mint
Whether you have mint growing in the garden or pick up a bunch from the grocery store or farmers’ market, there is usually more than you can use for one recipe. Crocker offers more ideas to use it:
- Stir 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh mint into homemade chocolate or lemon pudding at the end of cooking.
- Combine ½ cup chopped fresh mint with enough apple cider vinegar to make a sauce to spoon over lamb. Add 1 teaspoon sugar if desired.
- Rub 4 fresh mint sprigs between your palms to bruise them and release essential oils. Stuff them into a mug and pour boiling water over. Let steep to your desired strength.
- Strip the leaves from a sprig of mint and add to the blender for a smoothie.
- Brighten newly cooked potatoes and peas by tossing 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint and a pat of butter.
Thirsty for More?
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Nutrition Info Minted Tabbouleh with Grilled Beef (Per Serving): Calories 369 (188 from Fat); Fat 21g (Sat. 4g); Chol 63mg; Sodium 442mg; Carb 20g; Fiber 5g; Protein 28g