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Tabbouleh Recipe

There are many different versions of this summery, refreshing salad, which originates from the Arabic cuisine of the Middle East, where it is served along with small dishes of appetisers traditionally known as meze. But its fresh and citrus flavours also make it a perfect accompaniment to grilled and barbecued food.

Parsley, which usually plays a small culinary role as a flavouring or garnish, takes centre stage in this salad. It is rich in several important nutrients, such as vitamins A, K, and C, and is also a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. You can use either the curled or flat leaved variety but be sure to wash it thoroughly, and get it as dry as possible.

Bulgur is made from whole wheat grains that have been pre-cooked, then dried and cracked. It comes as coarse or fine ground, and doesn’t need to be cooked – just rehydrated in water for a short while. You can use either type for this recipe. For some people, the principal ingredient, parsley, should predominate, but if you prefer a more substantial salad then increase the quantity to your liking. Bulgur is available in many supermarkets, health food shops and Middle Eastern stores.

Some versions of tabbouleh add pomegranate seeds, or include pomegranate molasses in the dressing which gives a more sweet/sour flavour. Others use dried as well as fresh mint, or omit the cucumber. I like to sprinkle a couple of spoons of sumac on top, which adds a lovely lemony flavour. You decide – and enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 100g bulgur, either fine or coarse
  • Large bunch parsley, stalks removed
  • 15 – 18 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint (optional)
  • 4 spring onions, topped and tailed
  • 2 large ripe juicy tomatoes
  • ¼ cucumber (optional)
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons sumac (optional)
  • Handful of pomegranate seeds (optional)

Method

Put the bulgur wheat into a large bowl and cover with twice the depth of cold water. Fine bulgur will only need to soak for 5 – 7 minutes, but if you’re using coarse then leave it for half an hour.

Meanwhile, wash and dry the herbs and use a large sharp knife to chop them very finely. You could use a food processor for this but the texture will be slightly less fluffy. Transfer the chopped herbs to a large bowl.

Finely slice the spring onions, and cut the tomatoes (and the cucumber, if using) into very small dice. Add to the herbs.

In another smaller bowl combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper (and the dried mint and pomegranate molasses if using), and pour onto the herbs, mixing well.

When the bulgur wheat has softened, tip it into a strainer. Take up handfuls and squeeze out the excess liquid. Add to the bowl of herbs and stir very thoroughly to combine.

Taste, and add more salt or lemon juice if necessary. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the pomegranate seeds or sumac, if you wish.

Refrigerate any leftovers in a covered box. Best eaten within 2 – 3 days.

Posted in Erika’s Kitchen on Aug 01, 2023