Tabbouleh salad is made from bulgar, parsley, tomato, mint, and onion dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. It has a wonderful bright taste and it’s great with barbecue or anything else you can think of.
The first time I had Tabbouleh was at a Christmas party where one of my co-worker’s wife had made it. I fell in love with it and not knowing what it was, I called it Christmas salad because of the bright green herbs, white bulgar, and red tomatoes.
It’s an ancient salad from the Levantine. Because of its popularity, there are many different ways of making it. Sometimes, it’s a lot of parsley and little bulgar, sometimes it a lot bulgar and not so much parsley. There is a version that uses pomegranate seeds instead of tomatoes.
Spices for Tabbouleh
My friend’s mother makes wonderful Tabbouleh so I asked her what was so special about it. She said it was the addition of sumac. Sumac adds a tart, lemony flavor. You can find sumac in Meditteranean food stores, some gourmet stores, and of course, Amazon. It’s a spice worth having, so try to get it.
The other spice that I put in is Aleppo pepper. It comes from a burgundy chile also known as the Halaby pepper. It is not overly hot and just adds a little spice to whatever you are making. I find it especially good with tomatoes, so it just had to go into this salad.
Bulgar is made from wheat, so if you have celiac disease, this is not the salad for you. Bulgur is a cereal food made from the cracked parboiled groats of several different wheat species, most often from durum wheat. It comes dried like pasta and has to be rehydrated for Tabbouleh. Use the fine type for this salad.
I really like Tabbouleh with summer foods like barbecued chicken, kabobs, ribs, you name it. It makes a wonderful substitute for the ubiquitous coleslaw, so give it a try sometime.
- 3/4 cup Bulgur, fine grind
- 2 cups Water, cold
- 2 cups parsley, minced
- 1/2 cup Green onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup Mint, minced
- 1 Cucumber, chopped
- 2 Tomatoes, chopped
- Gather your mise en place
- Place bulgur in a bowl and cover with the cold water. Leave to soak for 30 minutes.
- While that's happening, prepare the rest of the herbs and vegetables. Finely mince the parsley and mint and refrigerate. Chop the cucumber and tomato and set those aside. Make sure you thinly slice the green onions.
- Once you have done that, drain the bulgur through a fine sieve, pressing with the back of a spoon to extract moisture. Spread onto a cloth, roll it up and let it sit for about 15 mintues.
- Unroll the towel and put the onions on the bulgar. Roll up the towel and squeeze it to release any moisture. Set it aside for about 30 minutes to absorb the onion flavor.
- Put the onion and bulgar in a large bowl and add the parsley, mint., cucumber, and tomatoes.
For the Dressing
- In a medium bow, put the mustard, sugar, sumac, Aleppo pepper, salt, black pepper, and tomato paste. Mix it well with a small whisk. Add the juice of the lemon and mix well again. Now, while whisking all the while, slowly start pouring the olive oil into the mixture. You will see it will start to thicken, so just continue whisking and adding the olive oil. Taste for seasoning.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to combine. It is best to use your clean hands.
- Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving. You can line your serving bowl with crisp lettuce if you wish before serving.