… or Tabooley. Or Tabbouleh. No matter how you spell it, this Middle Eastern salad is an incredibly delicious and refreshing addition to any summer meal. Vine-ripened tomatoes are abundant in Central Virginia now, and I’m looking forward to making my first tabouli of the season to accompany baked kibbee, the recipe for which I’ve already published on the blog. I took this photo last summer, before I had any idea I’d be a blogger. I suppose I could postpone this until I make it again and can take new pictures, but I hate to keep you waiting. So, as I’ve been known to say in my kitchen, “please pardon the mess.”
This recipe is a hybrid of what I could decipher from my Lebanese grandmother’s handwriting and an old community cookbook from Ohio. My best advice to you as you plan your shopping list is to make sure you’re buying fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes. If you can get them from a local farm stand or farmer’s market, that’s even better. In my list of culinary sins, nothing is worse than serving up a bland, pale, pithy tomato that traveled thousands of miles to land on your plate. And that’s today’s sermonette from the MSW. Now go, shop, prepare, and enjoy!
2 cups bulgur wheat
3 cups boiling water
3 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup lemon juice (approximately 4 lemons)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 bunches (2 cups) fresh mint leaves, chopped (I prefer using spearmint)
3 bunches fresh, curly parsley, chopped
2 bunches green onions, including tops, chopped
8 large tomatoes, cut into chunks
additional salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Pour boiling water over bulgur wheat, cover, and let rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, using a food processor, chop mint leaves. Remove from processor bowl with a scraper and place in a large bowl. Add parsley to the food processor and repeat the procedure, scraping the chopped parsley into the bowl with the mint. Using either the processor or a sharp knive, chop the green onions with tops and add them to the mint and parsley mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
After the bulgur wheat has been soaking in the water for 30 minutes, squeeze handfuls of it over an empty bowl, until all the excess water has drained away. Next, add the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt, stir well, and refrigerate the wheat/dressing mixture for two to three hours.
Once the wheat mixture has chilled, add—in batches—the mint, parsley, and green onions. Cut up the tomatoes and add those to the mix. By this point I’ve abandoned all decorum and use my bare (very clean) hands to mix the salad. Adjust the flavor to your taste—additional salt, some freshly ground pepper, and perhaps more lemon juice.