Tabbouleh

When I told my family I was going to make tabbouleh they said, Tab what?

Tabbouleh. The ridiculously easy, no-cooking-required dish that’s along the lines of couscous or quinoa mixed with vegetables, herbs, lemon, and olive oil. Healthy and packed with flavor.

After making it yourself and tasting how fresh and vibrant homemade is, you’ll never be tempted to buy it from the overpriced grocery store salad bar.

Tabbouleh is made with bulghur wheat, sometimes just labeled bulghur. There’s coarse and fine and in my regular grocery store it’s sold near the lentils and couscous as ‘bulghur, coarse’ in a plastic bag.

To make the tabbouleh you simply pour boiling water over the dry bulghur, add lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, cover and wait an hour. That’s it.

While you’re waiting chop up cherry tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, mint, parsley and add them after the bulghur has softened and plumped. Stir it all together and you’re in for a texture and flavor treat. The bulghur is soft but slightly chewy, there’s juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers and green onions, and between the lemon, parsley, and mint it’s truly an aromatic dish.

It’s accidentally vegan, healthy, and if you’re not a tabbouleh traditionalist you can improvise with just about anything in your crisper drawer from bell peppers to cilantro. I’ve seen some recipes swap couscous for the bulghur.

The flavors marry over time and it tastes even better the day or two after you prepare it, making it a great make-ahead recipe for lunches for the week, clean-eating dinners, or easy party and potluck sides. There’s no mayo which is great for outdoor events.

Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh. The ridiculously easy, no-cooking-required dish that’s along the lines of couscous or quinoa mixed with vegetables, herbs, lemon, and olive oil. Tabbouleh is made with bulghur wheat, sometimes just labeled bulghur. The bulghur is soft but slightly chewy, there’s juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers and green onions, and between the lemon, parsley, and mint it’s truly an aromatic dish. It’s accidentally vegan, healthy, and if you’re not a tabbouleh traditionalist you can improvise with just about anything in your crisper drawer. The flavors marry over time and it tastes even better the day or two after you prepare it, making it a great make-ahead recipe for lunches for the week, clean-eating dinners, or easy party and potluck sides. There’s no mayo which is great for summer events.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup bulghur wheat or bulghur
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced small
  • 1 cup green onions, sliced thin (about 6 trimmed green onions, using the green and white)
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped finely (make sure to use just the leaves, stems are bitter)
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped finely

Directions:

  1. To a large bowl add the bulghur; set aside.
  2. To a microwave-safe bowl or glass measuring cup, add the water and heat to boil, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Pour the boiling water over the bulghur, add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, stir, cover with plasticwrap, and set aside for about 1 hour. After 1 hour, check to make sure bulghur is softened and plumped and most of the liquid has been absorbed. If it hasn’t wait a bit longer until it absorbs.
  4. Add all remaining ingredients, stir to combine, taste and check for seasoning balance (may need more salt, pepper, lemon), and make any necessary adjustments. Tabbouleh can be served immediately but I prefer to make it a day ahead of time, cover, and refrigerate because the flavors marry over time. Tabbouleh will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days and can be served chilled or at room temp.

Adapted from Ina Garten

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