Recipe of the month – Lebanese Tabouleh

As the winter draws to a close and the crisp spring breeze hits the air, match your seasonal mood swings with Tapbouleh, a light, airy super salad that has now become commonplace globally. According to Wikipedia “The Levantine Arabic tabbūle is derived from the Arabic word tabil, meaning seasoning.” In traditional Lebanese cuisine, Tabbouleh (sometimes spelled and pronounced as Tabouli) usually starts the cold Mezza which is a host of appetizers and hors-d’oeuvres.

  1. ¼cup fine bulgur wheat
  2. 1small garlic clove, minced (optional)
  3. Juice of 2 large lemons, to taste
  4. 3cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (from 3 large bunches)
  5. ¼cup chopped fresh mint
  6. ½pound ripe tomatoes, very finely chopped
  7. 1bunch scallions, finely chopped
  8. ¼ pound tender cucumbers, very finely chopped.
  9. Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
  10. ¼cup extra virgin olive oil
  11. 1romaine lettuce heart, leaves separated, washed and dried

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Ingredient pre-preparation tips:

  1. Cut stems off parsley then chop finely. Air dry the chopped parsley on paper towels for a few minutes in order to get rid of the moisture, the parsley needs to be dry before you add it to the mixing bowl.
  2. Choose the freshest ingredients, simple dishes rely heavyily on the very best ingredients.
  3. Use using Lebanese cucumbers because they have tender skin, a nice crunchy texture, and just a bit of sweetness, but japanese cucumbers also work well.
  4. Chop tomatoes into very small cubes of less than 1/2 in then place in strainer to rid them of the juice.
  5. Advance preparation: Keep for a day in the refrigerator, though the bright green colour will fade because of the lemon juice.

Preparation

  1. Rinse the bulghar wheat in a sieve until the water runs clear. Drain well, then transfer to a bowl. Pour over 200ml boiling water, cover with cling film and leave to soak for 30 mins or so while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Keeping the parsley in a bunch, chop the leaves roughly. Don’t worry about the inclusion of some of the stalks; this all adds to the flavour. Now do the same with the mint. Put the chopped herbs in a large bowl and add the tomato and spring onion.
  3. Drain the bulghar properly, then add to herb mixture, along with lemon juice and olive oil. Mix thoroughly, season and serve.

Possible additions you can make to your Tabbouleh:

Option 1: Add more diced tomatoes, diced cucumbers, and diced raw zucchini to the tabbouleh.

Option 2: Add rinsed and drained canned chickpeas, and rinsed and drained canned lentils

Option 3: Grill some boneless, skinless chicken breast, dice, toss with the tabbouleh and wrap it up in fresh pita.

Option 4: Serve as a small side salad with fish.

 

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