One of the most portable summer salads you can make is tabbouleh. This refreshing salad has its origins in Middle Eastern cuisine where it is often served as a mezze (appetizer). There’s no actual cooking involved and it works well as a side dish or as a main course for a vegetarian meal. Tabbouleh a mixture of fresh vegetables and herbs tossed with bulgur wheat, dressed with olive oil and fresh lemon.
To make the most delicious tabbouleh, it’s important to emphasize the parsley, not the bulgur. Think of it as a parsley salad with a bit of bulgur wheat, not the other way around. Whenever you use parsley, make sure you rinse it well to remove any grit, pat or spin dry and use only the leaves as the stems can be quite tough. You can save the parsley stems to make soup stock.
This is one recipe where it’s best to use all organic products so the flavors can really shine.
1 cup bulgur wheat
2 cups tomato, seeded and diced (about 2 medium tomatoes)
2 cups cucumber, peeled and diced
½ cup diced red onion
2 cups finely chopped parsley
1/3 cup finely chopped spearmint
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a heat-proof bowl, put 1 cup bulgur wheat and 1½ cups boiling water. Stir gently to evenly disperse the water, then cover and let sit for about 15 minutes. Drain out the water, fluff the bulgur and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, parsley and mint. Add the bulgur.
In a small bowl or shaker jar combine the oil, cumin, lemon juice and zest. Pour over the salad and toss well to combine. It’s best to place the tabbouleh in the refrigerator for about an hour before serving, giving the flavors time to meld.