Substituting brown or white rice for bulgur (a wheat product) is a really good way to make this salad gluten free, without losing all the other great flavours of the Middle East.
You can tell this is an old recipe as it gives directions to soak the chickpeas overnight. Of course you can still do that, but it’s much easier now to just buy tinned chickpeas. It makes the recipe a lot quicker and easier to make as you can cut out the first couple of steps and go straight to frying the onions, garlic and pepper.
It used to be quite hard to find recipes that catered easily for vegetarian guests, luckily that’s no longer the case. Years ago I remember searching for an interesting dish to serve my son’s girlfriend for a Christmas lunch dominated by roast pork and turkey. The answer I finally came up with was a stuffed eggplant, don’t think it was quite as spicy as this recipe though. Fortunately she seemed to enjoy it.
When I was growing up cabbage was sliced and boiled and came out quite tasteless. As a result I’m always looking for new ways to cook it, to make it more interesting. The obvious way is to add butter and while that tastes great, dietary wise it’s not such a good idea for some of us. So finding this cutting has been inspiring, there’s some great ideas on it.
Instead of making the pastry case as described in this recipe you could make it as a regular pie or flan. You could even make it without pastry at all by just lightly greasing a pie plate and covering it with fine, dried breadcrumbs before adding the filling. Whichever way you make it the Mediterranean flavors make it a great lunch dish.