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 (bulgur wheat and parsley salad)
Serves 4-6 as a side dish.
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
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.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Bulgur with cheese and eggplant
Armenian red lentils and bulgur (vospov khyma)
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
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