I THINK I should be eating more plant-based recipes in my daily diet. My daughter, Francesca, makes amazing combinations of Middle Eastern salads. She uses a base of bulgur wheat soaked in cold water and packs it with tasty herbs and spices. Bulgur is fibre-rich and low fat and a source of vital nutrients. They are easy to prepare, very healthy and, most importantly, extremely tasty. You can also use cous cous.


70g bulgur wheat

4 firm ripe tomatoes

Half a cucumber

1 bunch spring onions, sliced

Bunch fresh flat leaf parsley

Bunch of fresh mint

For the dressing⃰

Grated zest of a lemon

4 tablespoons olive oil

Zest of unwaxed lemon and 2 tbsp lemon juice

1 garlic clove, crushed with a little sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Sea salt and black pepper


Put the bulgur wheat in a bowl and cover with enough cold water to cover. Set aside for 10 minutes until the grains absorb the water.

Chop the tomatoes into small dice. Peel the cucumber, scoop out the seeds and dice the flesh.

Trim the spring onions and slice into thin rounds. Trim the mint and parsley and chop both finely.

Add all the dressing ingredients to a bowl and use a small whisk to blend everything together. Once the bulgur wheat has absorbed all the water, fluff it up with a fork to separate out any clumps.

Mix in the chopped ingredients. Drizzle over the blended dressing and mix. Season to taste.


This combination is delicious as a side dish or served stuffed in hot pitta bread and hummus.

2 aubergines

Olive oil

70g bulgur

2 tomatoes, peeled and diced

1 preserved lemon, diced

1 cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and cubed

2 spring onions, trimmed and sliced

1 bunch flat leaf parsley

1 bunch coriander

200g Greek-style yoghurt

Seeds of a pomegranate

Mint leaves

1 quantity dressing ⃰


Pre-heat oven Gas 6/200C

Wash and dice the aubergines and cut into 3cm chunks. Mix in a bowl with a good drizzle of olive oil, sea salt and black pepper.

Lay on a greaseproof paper on a baking tray and roast for 30-40 minutes, turning them halfway through until they are caramelised and soft. Set aside to cool.

Cover the bulgur wheat in a bowl with cold water and leave to absorb the liquid.

Prepare the other ingredients and whisk the dressing.

When ready, fluff up the bulgur, mix in all the fresh ingredients and stir in the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Finally, scatter across the roasted aubergine and Greek yoghurt and scatter with the pomegranate seeds.