Your taste buds will do flips over the flavors in this incredible Eetch with Toasted Pine Nuts. With hearty bulgur, sautéed onions, bell peppers, fresh herbs and spices, your mouth has many reasons to be doing a happy dance. But when you throw some toasted pine nuts into the mix, the taste sensation is definitely kicked up a notch or two. (Because seriously...who doesn't LOVE toasted pine nuts?)
What is Eetch?
Eetch is an Armenian vegan bulgur salad that combines cooked and fresh ingredients. Typical recipes always begin with onions and bell pepper sautéed in a generous amount of olive oil. Bulgur and puréed tomatoes or diced tomatoes (or similar) are also key ingredients. The salad is usually flavored with parsley and other seasonings or herbs. Eetch is equally good served warm or cold. Some people compare it to a semi-cooked version of tabouli.
What Ingredients Do I Need?
- yellow onion and green onion (scallions)
- pine nuts
- green bell pepper (any color will also do)
- extra-virgin olive oil
- fresh tomatoes (or use canned, but reduce the water by the amount of juice in your can)
- Fine ground bulgur #1 coarseness–If you don't have the fine ground bulgur, you could substitute a medium grain. In this case, I would increase the water by half a cup.
- tomato paste
- salt, pepper, sugar, paprika
- Aleppo pepper (or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper)–Aleppo pepper has such a wonderful flavor and is worth adding to your pantry. It goes great on pizza, hummus, eggs and a myriad of other dishes. It's much milder than cayenne pepper and does have a distinctive taste. If using cayenne pepper as a substitute for Aleppo pepper, use only a ¼ of what is called for. You could always sprinkle a bit more if you like the heat.
- lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- fresh mint leaves
- fresh flat leaf parsley
How Do I Make Eetch?
Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and toast until very lightly golden. (They'll continue to brown.) You can reserve a tablespoon of pine nuts for garnishing.
Then, add the diced onion and diced green pepper and continue to sauté until the onions and pepper are softening. Next, add the fine bulgur, tomato paste, sugar, salt, black pepper, paprika and Aleppo pepper. (See notes on ingredients for substitutions.) Stir everything together.
Add the water and bring the mixture to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cover and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat and then stir the Eetch so it begins to cool off. You can transfer it to a large bowl at this point. Then, while it continues to cool down, wash and chop the fresh tomatoes, flat leaf parsley, fresh mint leaves and green onion.
Pour the fresh-squeezed lemon juice over the bulgur mixture and then take two forks and lightly toss in the fresh tomatoes, herbs and green onion. Your Eetch is just about perfect! Sprinkle the remaining pine nuts on top and serve at room temperature or chilled.
Eetch with Toasted Pine Nuts can be served with a side of marinated grape leaves, lavash bread or a plate of shish kebab. You could also scoop it into large lettuce leaves if you want to eat it more like a salad.
Some people find that Eetch tastes even better after it has sat in the fridge overnight. This particular recipe has so much flavor, you'll find it tastes great after sitting for just 10 minutes, to give the bulgur a chance to soak in some of the flavor from the fresh herbs.
Eetch with Toasted Pine Nuts
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 large onion diced (1 ½ cups chopped)
- ½ cup pine nuts
- ½ large green bell pepper (¾ cup chopped)
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium fresh tomatoes (1 ¼ cup chopped drained in a mesh colander)
- 1 cup of fine ground bulgur #1 coarseness
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper)
- ¼ cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves (loosely packed) (finely chopped)
- ½ bunch flat leaf parsley (chopped)
- 1 bunch green onions chopped (for garnish)
- Pour the olive oil in a deep skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and toast until very lightly golden. (They'll continue to brown.) Reserve a tablespoon of pine nuts for garnishing.
- Add the diced onion and green pepper and sauté until softened. Add the fine bulgur, tomato paste, sugar, salt and dry spices. Mix together until heated through.
- Add the water and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and then stir to cool off. Transfer Eetch to a large salad bowl. Cool off for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, wash and chop the fresh tomatoes, flat leaf parsley, mint leaves and green onion.
- Pour the lemon juice over the bulgur mixture and then take two forks and lightly toss in the fresh tomatoes, herbs and green onion. Sprinkle remaining pine nuts on top and serve at room temperature or chilled.