¼cupcrumbled feta cheese or whole milk yogurt, (optional)
For the bulgur meatballs
Place the bulgur wheat in a bowl, and rinse with water until the water runs clear. If you have time, let the bulgur wheat soak in for 30 minutes or so prior to rinsing.
If you will use ground rolled oats, use a food processor, chopper, or blender to pulse the oats into a course powder. If you wish to use only all-purpose flour, skip this step. (The optimal combination is to use half flour, half oats.)
Add the ground oats or all-purpose flour, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and egg to the bulgur and mix well. Add extra water if necessary just so everything is moist. Set aside, and let the mixture rest for 15–30 minutes to allow the bulgur to soak up the moisture.
For the sauce
Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and sauté until soft and lightly browned. Add the garlic and bell peppers, and sauté for 3–4 minutes. Add the coriander powder and stir to release the aroma. Add the tomato puree, salt, allspice, cayenne, black pepper, and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Add the water, and mix well to incorporate. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil.
Use a teaspoon to portion the bulgur mixture into meatballs. I like to drop the mixture into the broth from the spoon because it’s quick, but if you like, you can shape the spoonfuls into balls with your hands first. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20–30 minutes, until the meatballs cook and the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the lemon juice and fresh parsley just before serving, and top with feta cheese and extra ground black pepper. It should taste spicy, and a bit sour.
Serve up individual bowls of Bulgur Meatballs topped with a generous amount of good quality feta cheese, or a dollop of whole milk yogurt.
Serve this dish with a green salad and crusty toast.
Top your green salad with ingredients that go well with this dish, such as apple, cucumber, shallots, and avocado. Dress with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon, and top with salt and pepper.
For a second side dish, consider Swiss chard or kale. Winter greens are always a winner with tomato. Season simply with salt and a touch of vinegar. You could even top you bulgur meatballs with the greens.
For a full meal, consider serving the bulgur meatballs with peppermint tea, or enjoy peppermint tea as an after-dinner course (especially if your mouth is burning from the spices).
To make a vegan egg out of flax seeds, stir one tablespoon of ground flaxseed meal into two tablespoons of warm water. Wait 15 minutes for it to set up and thicken. Use where the recipe calls for an egg. If you would like to add more vegetables to the broth, I would suggest adding chopped celery, carrots, or chopped green beans.This recipe is adapted from “Vegetarian Dishes from Across the Middle East,” by Arto der Haroutunian.