One of my all time favorite foods is tabbouleh. This middle eastern salad is, flavorful, refreshing and somehow manages to be light and hearty at the same time. I’ve made it many times and although it’s always delicious it is never quite as good as my mom’s version. I think part of the reason is that I just don’t have her patience (and because nothing is ever quite as good as when your mom makes it for you!). My mother takes hours to make this salad for me and I devour it in minutes, which I appreciate greatly but won’t do for myself.
So…this is my really yummy but much easier and faster to make version. The key to great tabbouleh is to use high quality ingredients, good tomatoes and olive oil go a long way. A lot of the flavor comes from the parsley so it’s very important to use bright green, flat-leaf or Italian parsley (curly parsley doesn’t have nearly as much flavor). I added kale to my take on tabbouleh because it makes the salad filling, doesn’t wilt or get soggy and won’t overpower the parsley. Use whatever kind of kale is in season and make sure to chop it finely. Bulgur wheat is a key ingredient in tabbouleh, it’s high in fiber & protein and because bulgur is a small, cracked whole grain it cooks very quickly. Depending on what kind you use it may require more or less cookig time but I find that the time it takes to make the salad is just about right. If you are staying away from gluten try using quinoa instead of bulgur.
Tabbouleh tastes better the longer you let it sit, the wheat absorbs more flavor and the lemon-y dressing helps all the ingredients blend, so feel free to serve it right away or make it a day ahead and refrigerate it. It’s a perfect side salad or an appetizer. If you want to turn into a main course, like I do in the video, add grilled veggies and Halloumi cheese on top or try adding protein like shrimp or chicken.
- Cook the bulgur wheat by soaking it in boiling water. You will need about 1 1/2 cups of water so the wheat is totally immersed. Let it steam while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Clean and dry parsley. Really pat it dry, so there isn’t extra water going into the salad. Remove the stems and any other part of the parsley that doesn’t look good. Chop up the parsley leaves – you will be amazed at how little parsley you end up with once it is finely chopped.
- Chop or dice the – mint, kale, cucumber and tomatoes and add toss them in with the parsley.
- Check on the bulgur wheat to make sure it’s cooked. If it’s still crunchy – let it soak a few more minutes. Drain away the excess water and add to the salad.
- Dress the salad with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix everything together. Make sure to taste the salad and adjust its seasonings to your liking, since it is made up of so many fresh ingredients the amount of seasoning varies every time.
- The Tabbouleh is ready to eat or can be stored and refrigerated for 2 days. To serve, place some romaine leaves or any crunchy lettuce leaves on a platter and top with the tabbouleh (you can use the salad leaves almost like a wrap and eat the salad with them). Add the other ingredients like the grilled vegetables and halloumi to the top of the salad and enjoy!