Simple and delicious
Tabouli, also spelled tabbouleh and tabouleh, is a simple salad made with wheat bulgur, fresh herbs and vegetables that lends itself to a lot of variations. Americans typically use more bulgur and less herbs, but traditional Lebanese tabouli is mostly an herb salad made with a small amount of bulgur. Tabouli traditionally calls for flat-leaf parsley and mint, but I also like it with cilantro or basil. Likewise, some people like a lot of lemon and olive oil and others prefer their tabouli a little dryer. I like to season my tabouli with Aleppo pepper and Maldon sea salt for a little zip and crunch, and garnish it with a sprinkling of feta cheese.
The thing about tabouli is you can adjust it to suit your own personal taste. This tabouli recipe is a place to start. Add, reduce or delete ingredients until you discover your perfect tabouli.
A word on wheat bulgur
The ancients began making wheat bulgur 4000 years ago. Wheat bulgur starts with whole grain wheat and then is parboiled, dried and cracked, much the same process that is used for oatmeal. Bulger comes in different grades according to size. Fine or medium grain bulgur is typically used for tabouli. Fine and medium grades of bulgur do not need to be cooked. Prepare simply by pouring boiling water over and letting the bulgur sit and absorb the water.
Wheat bulgur has a lot of good things going for it. Bulgur is high in fiber and manganese and is a good source of B6, niacin, folate, magnesium and iron.
You can add diced chicken, lamb, beef or fish to create a more substantial meal. Or add other vegetables and herbs, depending on what you have on hand. Avocado, roasted cauliflower, broccoli. celery, beets and pomegranate seeds although not traditional, are nice additions. Tabouli may be seasoned with a variety of spices including sumac, allspice, and za'atar. Tabouli is often served with romaine lettuce cups to transform it into a finger food.
Yield 4 servings
Loaded with fresh herbs and vegetables, tabouli is an easy dish that can be eaten as a side, or by adding protein can make a complete and satisfying meal.
- 1 cup fine or medium wheat bulger
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups boiling water (varies by manufacturer)
- 10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 Persian cucumbers, quartered diagonally and chopped in 1/2" pieces
- 4 ounces radishes, chopped in 1/4" pieces
- 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped in 1/2" pieces
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1/2 to 1 cup parsley, chopped
- 1/2 to 1 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 to 1 cup mint, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil, or more to taste
- 1 t Aleppo pepper or fresh ground pepper to taste
- Maldon salt to taste
- 3 ounces crumbled feta cheese (optional)
- Put the wheat bulgur in an over-sized bowl and add 2 cups boiling water. Stir and let sit for 30 minutes or until it is tender. Note package instructions may vary. Drain and press out any excess water with a clean dish towel.
- Add the next 8 ingredients and stir to combine. Add lemon juice, olive oil and season to taste with salt and Aleppo pepper. Stir to combine. Can be eaten right away or prepared several hours in advance and kept in the fridge. Tabouli gets better after a few hours.
THIS SERVES WELL WITH