Menu planner: Tabbouleh makes a fine complement to your dinner

Thinking ahead to your next few meals? Here are some main dishes and sides to try.

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Tabbouleh

America’s Test Kitchen

Tabbouleh

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes; standing time: about 70 minutes

INGREDIENTS

3 large tomatoes, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, divided

Black pepper to taste

1/2 cup medium-grind bulgur, rinsed

1/4 cup lemon juice (2 lemons), divided

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/2 cups minced fresh parsley

1/2 cup minced fresh mint

2 thinly sliced green onions

Additional salt and black pepper to taste

Toss tomatoes with 1/4 teaspoon salt in fine-mesh strainer set over bowl and let drain, tossing occasionally, for 30 minutes. Reserve 2 tablespoons drained tomato juice. Toss bulgur with 2 tablespoons lemon juice and reserved tomato juice in bowl; let sit until grains begin to soften, 30 to 40 minutes. Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, oil, cayenne and remaining salt together in large bowl. Add tomatoes, bulgur mixture, parsley, mint and onions and toss gently to combine. Cover and let sit at room temperature 1 hour or until flavors have blended and bulgur is tender. Before serving, toss salad to recombine and season with additional salt and black pepper to taste.

Per serving: 143 calories, 2 grams protein, 11 grams fat (63% calories from fat), 1.5 grams saturated fat, 12 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 112 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.

Ground beef reuben melts

INGREDIENTS

Makes 6 sandwiches

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 pound 93% to 95% lean ground beef

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup refrigerated sauerkraut, with liquid

6 slices dark rye bread, toasted

1/2 cup reduced-fat Thousand Island dressing

6 thin slices reduced-fat Swiss cheese

Heat a medium-size nonstick skillet to medium-high. Add beef, onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, 5 to 7 minutes or until beef is no longer pink and onion is softened. Meanwhile, heat broiler. In 1-quart saucepan, heat sauerkraut; drain. Arrange toasted sliced bread on broiler pan. Stir salad dressing into beef mixture. Spoon mixture evenly onto bread slices. Top each with sauerkraut and cheese. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat 3 to 4 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly; serve.

Per sandwich: 289 calories, 26 grams protein, 11 grams fat (34% calories from fat), 3.9 grams saturated fat, 23 grams carbohydrate, 59 milligrams cholesterol, 645 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.5.

Farfalle with salmon and mint

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 10 minutes, plus pasta

INGREDIENTS

12 ounces farfalle (bow tie) pasta

1 tablespoon butter

1 large leek, white and light green part only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (about 2 cups)

1 1/4 cups unsalted chicken broth, divided

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

12 ounces skinless salmon fillet (3/4 to 1 inch thick)

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

Cook pasta according to directions; drain. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add leek, 1/2 cup broth, salt and pepper; bring to a simmer and cook 1 minute. Place salmon on leeks; cover. Cook 5 minutes or until leek is tender and salmon is cooked through. Remove salmon to plate. Add remaining 3/4 cup broth and zest to skillet; bring to a simmer. Break up salmon. Place salmon in pasta pot with drained pasta, leek mixture, sour cream and mint. Toss to mix; serve.

Per serving: 351 calories, 21 grams protein, 8 grams fat (21% calories from fat), 3.4 grams saturated fat, 47 grams carbohydrate, 42 milligrams cholesterol, 187 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 3.

Penne with ricotta, arugula and basil

For a flavorful no-meat meal: Cook 1 pound penne pasta according to directions; reserve 1/2 cup cooking water and drain pasta. In a large bowl, mix 8 ounces reduced-fat ricotta, 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat another tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add a 5-ounce package baby arugula (coarsely chopped) and 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil. Toss with tongs until wilted, or about 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to the bowl with the ricotta and mix well. Add the hot pasta to the ricotta mixture and toss to coat. Add reserved cooking water as needed to moisten the pasta. Serve, passing more Parmesan at the table.

Italian tacos

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine 1 pound lean ground beef, 2 lightly beaten eggs, 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup minced onion and 1 cup red pasta sauce. Mix well; pressing into an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan. Bake 1 hour or until temperature at center of loaf reaches 165 degrees. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Slice into 6 slices. Crumble each slice into a warmed taco shell. Top with additional warmed pasta sauce and shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese.

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