Tabbouleh, is a very popular salad from the Middle East/Arab regions. The actual Arabic word meaning ‘a little spicy’, this salad is typically made from bulgur wheat, combined with herbs, tomatoes and dressed with a simple olive oil, lemon juice vinigarette.

Bulgur, is a staple in this region and is used in all dishes from koftes to pilafs. Not to be confused with the cracked wheat or dalia from India, bulgur is a par boiled, broken wheat where the bran is partially removed. Although healthier than rice, it is less superior to cracked wheat when it comes to fiber content. Due to all of these reasons, bulgur doesn’t require ‘active’ cooking. A good soak in hot water, is enought to soften these grains, which makes this a super easy salad, not to mention a tasty one too. This is readily available in most groceries these days. It is typically classified by the size of the grains, with #1 being the smallest, the same size as dalia or broken wheat, and ranging up to #3, used for pilafs.

I have adapted this recipe from ‘The chef and her kitchen’, but I have also doubled her recipe and modified it to suit my taste.

1 cup bulgur #1
1 1/2 cup water
1 large tomato,seeded and chopped
1 cup chopped parsley
1 medium cucumber peeled and chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped mint
1/3 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
2 tbsp sliced olives
salt to taste

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp black pepper powder,freshly crushed
juice of 1 whole lemon

Whisk all the ingredients listed under dressing until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.

Bring the water to a boil. Place the bulgur in a bowl, pour the boiling water on top of the bulgur. Add salt to taste. Immediately cover with plastic wrap. Let sit 15-20 minutes, while chopping the herbs and veggies. At the end of the 20 minutes, fluff with a fork. (no need to drain or squeeze, as this will make the grains clumpy). Add the chopped cucumber, tomatoes and herbs to this and toss to combine. Pour the dressing over this and combine.

Don’t worry, if it seems like too much dressing, it will get absorbed by the grains. Cover again with plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator for the flavors to meld. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Verdict: This makes a very filling meal and the above quantity can serve 2 people as a meal in itself. The lemon juice perks up the flavors of the vegetables and makes it a refreshing dish. It tastes better as it sits, which makes this a great salad for taking along in picincs etc. Healthy and tasty.

Sending this to ‘Tried and Tasted: Chef and Her Kitchen’, event series by Lakshmi.

Also to ‘Bookmarked Recipes vol 39’ and Souper Sundays @ Kahakai Kitchen.

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