[Photograph: Brys Stephens]

Brys Stephens's recipe for tabouleh in his cookbook, The New Southern Table, is a lot like the tabouleh I grew up eating—heartier than the traditional herb salad, it is chock full of tomatoes and cucumbers and contains just as much bulgur as parsley and mint. He takes it up another notch by tossing in cooked fresh field peas (he uses purple hull peas, but you could use black eyed peas or any other fresh bean), taking the dish from tradition to Southern-Middle Eastern fusion. So while it may not be the exact definition of tabouleh, this salad is absolutely fun, enjoyable, and hearty. Take it on a picnic and you won't regret it.

Why I picked this recipe: Grain salads are the perfect thing to eat now that the weather is warming. Add beans and you've got an easy meal.

What worked: This salad couldn't have been easier to throw together, and I loved the intensity of the lemon flavor in the final dish.

What didn't: Nothing.

Suggested tweaks: You'll want to use freshly shelled beans here, not dried and reconstituted. If you can't find any fresh beans, you should be able to find frozen fresh black eyed peas or lima beans in the freezer section of the grocery store. Thaw in a pot of simmering salted water.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The New Southern Table to give away this week.

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