Tabbouleh

Have you ever had Tabbouleh? No, I’m not talking about a grain salad demurely flecked with parsley, that tastes mostly of bulgur or couscous or quinoa or whatever grain someone needed to use up. I’m talking about a salad that is almost all green, grains used sparingly to bulk out the delicious herbs that provide most of the volume and flavor.

Tabbouleh

But it’s not just parsley and mint that provide the wonderful summer taste of tabbouleh -- there should be some spices that bring warmth to the green flavor of the herbs as well. Add some finely diced tomatoes for extra summery flavor, some shallots for onion-y sharpness, and the time-tested combination of lemon, olive oil, and salt and pepper, and you have the perfect summer salad, one that holds up to refrigeration and transportation admirably.

This recipe calls for fine bulgur, the smallest size of a variety of cracked wheat. If you can’t find the fine size, feel free to use medium, or couscous, or quinoa, if that’s what you can get. The important thing here is the ratio of herbs to grains. And the spices, of course.

Spices used in this recipe


Peppercorns, Tellicherry, Grinder
Coriander, Ground
Cinnamon, Ground
Cloves, Ground
Allspice, Ground
Cumin Ground
Cardamom, Green Ground
Nutmeg, Ground
California Sea Salt, Fine

Ingredients

Tabbouleh Spice Blend:

Preparation

  1. Make the spice blend: Combine all spices until mixed evenly. Store in an airtight container for up to 8 weeks.
  2. Rinse the bulgur in a fine sieve, tossing with your hands until thoroughly wet. Place the bulgur in a bowl and cover with hot water for 10 minutes. Drain fully, and fluff with a fork.
  3. Cut the tomatoes into small dice, starting with ¼-inch slices and then dicing the slices. Discard the cores and seeds, but keep as much juice as you can. Transfer the diced tomatoes and juices to a large mixing bowl. Add the dried and fluffy bulgur as well.
  4. Pack a few sprigs of parsley together tightly and chop finely, stopping at the thick stems and discarding those. Try to shred the parsley as finely as you can -- it may take a few times through with a sharp knife. Add the parsley to the bowl and continue the process until all is chopped. Do not use a food processor -- you will end up with stringy, fibrous shreds that will not make an appetizing tabbouleh.
  5. Pick the mint leaves off the stems. Stack a few together and then roll tightly into a cigar shape. Use your sharp knife to make clean slices crosswise across the mint cigar, leaving you with thin shreds. Do not run your knife through the mint again -- it discolors and bruises easily, unlike parsley. Continue the process until the mint is chopped.
  6. In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, lemon juice, Tabbouleh Spice Mix, shallot, and pomegranate molasses (if using) until combined. Drizzle the mix over the tabbouleh and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4-6. Adapted from Jerusalem.

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