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October 6, 2011

Recipe for tabbouleh (bulgur wheat and parsley salad) {vegan}

Tabbouleh, a popular Middle Eastern salad. #vegan

Here in Rhode Island, early October affords a very small window of opportunity, before the first frost, when the garden gives up its last vine-ripened tomatoes and the parsley is at its most robust. That's the best time to make tabbouleh, the Middle Eastern salad of bulgur wheat, parsley and tomatoes with a lemony dressing. Very few dishes really give parsley the star turn it deserves, especially when it's as aromatic and crisp as my garden parsley. Tabbouleh (also spelled tabbouli) lets parsley shine. Thanks to an early-season gift from my friend Julia, I also have scallions in my garden. I love this particular version of tabbouleh because it doesn't call for raw onions (I don't like them), though you can substitute onions for the scallions if you prefer. Serve this salad as a side dish with any grilled meat or chicken, or stuff into a pita with some falafel or chickpeas for a substantial (vegan) lunch. The salad tastes best when it sits for a couple of hours before serving, so be sure to plan for that.

Tabbouleh, a salad of bulgur wheat, tomato and parsley. #vegan

Tabbouleh (bulgur wheat and parsley salad)

From the pantry, you'll need: bulgur wheat, extra virgin olive oil, lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg, fresh black pepper, kosher salt.

Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

Ingredients

1 cup fine or medium bulgur wheat
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground or grated nutmeg
4-5 mint leaves, to taste, finely chopped
1 cup diced tomato
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2-3 large scallions, finely sliced (white and green parts)
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, cover the bulgur wheat with 2-3 cups of hot water (hot tap water is okay, but I usually heat water in the microwave to just below boiling). Set aside while you prepare the rest of the dish; the bulgur should be tender after soaking for 7-8 minutes.

In another large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, cinnamon, nutmeg and mint leaves. Add to that the tomato, parsley, salt and scallions.

Taste the bulgur to make sure it is tender. Drain the bulgur through a fine-mesh colander (or a piece of cheesecloth, or a coffee filter), and press on it gently with a wooden spoon to remove any excess liquid. Add it to the vegetables, and toss gently to combine. Season to taste with black pepper and more salt, if needed.

Chill for at least two hours; toss again just before serving, as some dressing might gather in the bottom of the bowl as the tabbouleh chills.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Bulgur with cheese and eggplant
Armenian red lentils and bulgur (vospov khyma)
Tzatzaki
Quinoa salad with tomato, feta and parsley
Chickpea, quinoa and spinach salad with preserved lemon vinaigrette

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Warm bulgur salad with beets, fennel and oranges, from Food Blogga
Spicy Southwest bulgur salad, from What We're Eating
Bulgur, celery and pomegranate salad, from 101 Cookbooks
Bread machine whole wheat bread with bulgur wheat, oats, bran, and flax seed meal, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Bulgur and bacon salad, from Guilty Kitchen

Tabbouleh, a popular Middle Eastern salad made with lots of fresh parsley. #vegan

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Comments

I am crazy about tabbouleh, although I don't usually put tomatoes in it (or raw onions either). Jake and I were just talking about it the other day in fact, saying how much we like it! I'm intrigued by the spices in your dressing, sounds great!

Kalyn, there must be a dozen different ways to make tabbouleh (or a hundred!). I like the little bit of cinnamon in this version.

So interesting, I've never seen cinnamon and nutmeg in tabbouleh - I really like that idea.

Jeanette, I always think of cinnamon in Middle Eastern dishes, so I tried some in my tabbouleh and it really works. Not too much, just a hint of it.

I love tabbouleh and I'm not a fan of raw onions either. I bet the spices are wonderful in this version. Yum!

My mother and I were making this when I was 10 years old! She is an original hippie and a current 40 year plus vegetarian! I was always the kid with the weird lunches who thought everybody had tabbouleh at home! I love it to this day!

I puffy heart tabbouleh.

I remember a friend of ours from Lebanon used to make this when I was a kid living in Saudi Arabia. The proportions of parsley to bulgur and tomato in this salad are all wrong. Tabbouleh is primarily a parsley salad, I remember her chopping large amounts of flat leaf parsley for a long time until it was all very finely chopped and there was a lot of it like 6-7 cups. The tomato should also be a lot finer and there should be a lot less bulgur in it. It should be almost completely green with small flecks of red tomato and intermittent specks of bulgur, this salad above is not really tabbouleh, even if it has the right ingredients, more or less. I'm sure it tastes good, but it's not as intended.

Great recipe. I like the blend of spices you
use in the recipe... I'm going to have to try
it out! Thanks for sharing.

Just made this yesterday. Thought the addition of cinnamon and nutmeg added a great spice dimension (I used mace instead of nutmeg). I did find 2 lemons to be way too much however. I had large lemons and ended up with about a 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of lemon juice. It was way too tart and with the salt pulling the water out of the tomatoes and all the lemon juice it was very watery. I'll continue to tweak it. Thanks for the inspiration.

Great recipe, all of the ingredients melded together really well! Though, I might try a little less salt next time.

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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