I first posted this tabbouleh or tabouli salad recipe, back in 2010. At that time, living in Southern California, I used to grow all the produce to make it, in my own kitchen garden.
However, now that I live in lovely but not so bucolic Miami, I just shop for fresh local produce and keep making humongous tabbouleh bowls because this is, by far, my favorite favorite salad. Following is my original post.
One of the reasons I grow parsley more than any other herb, is because of this salad. In my house this is called it “the parsley thing.” Every time I make it, my sybarite gourmet son, Andrés Ignacio, who is almost 9 years old and like me is a tabbouleh killer, starts to get around the kitchen pickings the parsley leaves and doesn’t stop until he gets the first bowl.
He learned to eat this salad since he was a baby. I remember the day I was having tabbouleh and he was 9-month old. He was sitting in his baby-eating chair, watching me eat and began drooling. So I let him sample it and that was love at first bite!
This is a classic Middle Eastern dish and for me is the quintessential salad: fresh, crispy, colorful and full of flavor. The freshness comes from the parsley and the mint. The crispiness comes from the parsley and the bulgur. The color comes from the combination of the green herbs, the red ripe but firm tomatoes and the purple red onions, all of them contrasting with the plain neutral bulgur. The flavor is given by mixing all the ingredients with the simplest seasoning: olive oil, fresh lemon juice and salt. What can be better than this?
A main, characteristic ingredient of this salad is bulgur. This is a cereal made from several different kinds of wheat. It is usually confused with cracked wheat, but bulgur is parboiled and then dried. A common ingredient in Middle Eastern, Indian and Mediterranean cuisines, bulgur can be found in different grinds or sizes: #1 is fine, #2 is medium, #3 is coarse and #4 is extra coarse. The bulgur for tabbouleh is #2 and it can be found in Middle Eastern specialty stores as well as in natural food stores.
You can make tabbouleh with red or green onions. Some people use just regular yellow onions. I prefer the red purple ones because their flavor is sweater and more mellow. However, if I don’t have red onions handily, I use the green ones.
How to make the quintessential Middle Eastern Salad
Cutting is crucial: dice the tomatoes and finely chop the onions and herbs. My secret to get the parley perfectly chopped was to pick only the leaves and soak them in iced water, dry it with the help of a salad spinner and then chop them in a food processor (I use my Cuisinart) by pulsing 3-5 times, being very careful not to over process.
Following is a list of utensils and ingredients to make it, that you can easily find online using my Amazon Affiliate Program:
- Wooden cutting board
- Tomato knife
- Food processor
- Salad spinner
- Salad bowl
- Lemon lime squeezer
- Bulgur Wheat
- Extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup of bulgur #2
- 2 cups of water
- 4 cups of parsley leaves chopped
- ½ cup of mint leaves finely chopped
- ¾ cup of red onion or 10 green onions finely chopped the white part and some of the green
- 2 cups of tomatoes finely diced
- 1/3 cup of fresh lime juice
- 2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Soak the bulgur in the water for 10-15 minutes.
- Drain the bulgur in a fine colander, pressing to squeeze the water out.
- Combine all the ingredients in a big salad bowl.
- Season with olive oil, lime juice and salt to taste.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.