Tabouleh is a dish I grew up with.
Tabouleh is a summer favorite at my house. It’s a wonderful way to use oh-so-popular ancient grains. Fresh parsley, bulgur wheat and a few other fresh ingredients pulled together with a bit of oil and lemon juice.
Parsley rounds out flavors of other herbs. It tastes green with a hint of pine and thyme. Stir into soups, stews, salads, eggs, stir fries, and about anything with cheese or butter. Add a teaspoon of minced parsley with garlic and lemon to vegetables, poultry and fish and you’ll have a burst of flavor without adding fat or salt. Most chefs prefer European, or Italian flat-leaf parsley, which is more refined. My preference is for the pungent curly parsley of my childhood.
Tabouleh is a nice seasonal dish – especially when you’ve got tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and parsley in season.
Tabouleh: The Way My Mother Made Tabouleh
Fresh parsley is a must.
1 cup bulghur cracked wheat (I usually use grind #1, fine or #2, coarse)
(make sure the label says cracked wheat,
along with bulghur/bulgur)
6 tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 bunch radishes, chopped
1 English cucumber, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2-3 teaspoons cumin
in, or to taste
Several sprigs mint leaves, chopped
Several sprigs basil leaves, chopped
Salt to taste
1/4 cup vegetable oil, or to taste (Mom used Corn oil – I use either corn, canola or olive oil)
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice if necessary.
Place wheat in bowl and rinse under cool water three times. Leave about ¼ inch water on top of wheat after third rinse. Let sit for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Now I will tell you, coarse #2 wheat takes longer than that to soften. You want it to be chewy, not rock hard. If after 15 minutes it’s still hard and water is absorbed, then add a bit more water. Squeeze to drain remaining liquid out.
Meanwhile, mix vegetables together. Add cumin and herbs and mix. Add wheat, and mix. Add oil, a little at a time, and mix. Add salt, more cumin and lemon juice if you want.
Tabouleh can be served with pita or eaten as a salad with a fork.
Tabouleh Tips from Rita’s kitchen: Bulgur
Make sure you buy cracked bulgur wheat, which is cooked, dried and cracked, and only needs to be reconstituted. Whole-wheat berries are sometimes labeled as bulgur – it’s the cracked, creamy tan looking grains you want to buy.
The vegetables are also tasty mixed with cooked, chilled couscous. When vegetables are home grown, I don’t add lemon juice and use very little oil.