I went through a stage of addiction with Tabouli. I’m still in recovery, but it’s one straight way to my heart. Nothing quite like a fresh, perfectly dressed tabouli salad.
There are only two places I will order it out from: at The Olive Vine Cafe on Macdougal Street in NYC, and the Lebanese restaurant in Ein Karem (Just outside of Jerusalem). Mohammed, the Egyptian cook at the NYC spot, brought me into the kitchen once after I lauded him with compliments for his outstanding tabouli. His secrets (hope it’s okay I’m sharing!) were: (1) always make it fresh, and (2) nearly equal parts fresh mint, and fresh flat parsley.
My brother Eli, and mom Martha, taught me the basics once they got sick of my requests for it. What has evolved is my own take on the salad below. My cousin Mira, didn’t even like the salad, but continued to try for years, because of my impassioned obsession for it.
Enjoy! You can even sprinkle it with some crumbled feta (my aunt Marilyn’s spin on it) and enjoy it with some freshly baked pita.
- 1/2 cup bulgur (cracked wheat); medium coarseness
- 1 bunch fresh flat parsley, rinsed & chopped finely
- 2 handfuls of fresh mint, rinsed & chopped finely
- 2-3 green onions/scallions, rinsed & chopped finely; (alternatively, purple onion is a nice substitution)
- 2-3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 2 persian cucumbers (optional)
- 1/2 can of chickpeas, drained & rinsed (Cedar or Goya are fave brands)
- salt & pepper to taste
- fresh lemons (1 -2) or two tbsp. lemon juice
- 2-3 tbsp. of very good olive oil; (the olive oil from middle eastern grocery stores tends to be the best)
- Soak the bulgur in 1 cup of boiling water for at least 25 minutes; drain, rinse, squeeze out any extra liquid, and set aside, or in refrigerator
- Rinse parsely & mint; chop either by hand or in food processor
- Rinse scallions and chop finely, on an angle; add to parsley & mint
- Rinse cucumbers, and chop finely; add them & bulgur to the mix
- Tomatoes: I always do them last because of the juice it can get messy; dice
- Add drained chickpeas
- Whisk together the olive oil, salt and pepper, and lemon juice, and dress.
- If you want to be fancy about presentation, looks nice on a bed of lettuce garnished with lemon slices – but I rarely have the patience for the Martha Stewart-touch. Stir and eat!