For about a year or so, I made tabbouleh every week and ate it for lunch just about every day. No joke. It is so refreshing, it’s healthy, and it keeps well in the refrigerator all week, really hitting its stride around day 3 or so. Now, I certainly didn’t grow up eating tabbouleh. I’m a southerner who hadn’t even tried it until sometime in my 20s. What I did grow up with was an appreciation for healthy foods with lots of fresh produce. My mom and dad always gardened, and I have great memories of eating tomatoes and snow peas straight off the vine. Heavenly.
So, the first time I tried tabbouleh was in a Mediterranean restaurant in Chicago when I was visiting a friend from high school who had moved to the Windy City for college. I didn’t care for it… Then a few years later, I was visiting my friend Kristy in Boston, and she had me try some of her rough-chopped, freshly made recipe. It was right after we’d gotten back from a pretty warm July walk, and it was so delicious. Turns out, you can manipulate recipes to leave out the things you don’t like and add the things you do. Huh. Who’da thunk it??
Tabbouleh is an herb salad with bulgur wheat copious amounts of fresh herbs. Most recipes call for parsley and mint. I just don’t like eating actual fresh mint. Mint is one of my favorite dessert flavors, but I am not fond of it in savory contexts. Kristy leaves it out, and it changed my whole outlook on the stuff, so I was emboldened to try it at home, and that’s how we ended up full circle with me making it every Sunday night.
The thing I love the best about this salad is that it makes a great vegetarian dish that I can just eat over and over again and never feel bored by the flavors or guilty about the contents. Kristy (and I) add feta for a bit of extra protein. Well…and because feta is delicious… The whole thing is so easy, too. Soak the bulgur in boiling water, olive oil, and lemon juice… Chop your veggies… Mix… And DONE! Bam. So easy. So refreshing. So healthy…
And so dang yummy. 🙂
- 1 cup bulgur wheat
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 2 lemons worth of juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cucumber, unpeeled, seeds removed, cut to the same size as the tomato halves
- 12-16 oz cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
- 1/2 small red onion, diced small (Use more if you’re a raw red onion lover like me.)
- 1 bunch curly or flat leafed parsley (I like both. What’s in stock at the grocery store typically makes up my mind for me!)
- 8 oz feta cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine bulgur wheat, boiling water, lemon juice, and olive oil in a large bowl. Salt and pepper lightly. Stir. Make sure all the bulgur is safely under water so it can soak up all that delicious liquid, and let sit for 1 hour.
- Chop all veggies and parsley. I don’t chop anything too small so the salad stays nice and chunky, but chop to your preference. You’re not going to hurt anything if you like your cucumber microscopic.
- Salt and pepper veggies to preference.
- Combine bulgur mixture, chopped veggies and herbs, and feta. Mix so all ingredients are evenly distributed. It’s going to be delicious immediately, but after it’s been in the fridge overnight, the cucumbers will have pickled slightly, and it will be even better. Enjoy!