NORENE’S TERRIFIC TABBOULEH

Salads

Yield: About 4 cups (8 servings)

1/3 cup bulgar (cracked wheat)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
4 plum (Italian) tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic (about 2 tsp minced)
2 cups tightly packed fresh parsley (washed and well-dried)
1/2 cup tightly packed fresh mint leaves (washed and well-dried)
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped red or green onions
3 Tbsp lemon juice (preferably fresh)
1 tsp grated lemon rind
Freshly ground black pepper

Everyone will shout “yahoo!” when they taste this terrific tabbouleh. Most recipes call for soaking the bulgar in water, but I prefer the Lebanese method which I learned from Vivianne Barzel, of Israel. She rinses the bulgar, drains it well, and then mixes it with olive oil before adding the other ingredients. This produces a vibrant-green tabbouleh that isn’t watery. Vivi chops the parsley and herbs by hand, but I use my food processor. I like to layer the ingredients, which helps the bulgar absorb the other flavors.

  1. Place the bulgar in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water for 1 to 2 minutes. Press down firmly to remove excess moisture. Transfer to a bowl and add the olive oil and salt; mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours (or even overnight).
  2. Top the bulgar with a layer of chopped tomatoes. Mince the garlic, parsley, mint, cilantro, and onion. (This takes 10 to 12 seconds in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.) Spread the minced herbs and onions on top of the tomato layer. Add the lemon juice, rind, and pepper but don’t mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours to allow the flavors to blend. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. This tastes even better the next day!

Recipe doubles and triples easily. Keeps for up to 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator.

69 calories per serving, 8.3 g carbohydrate, 1.7 g fiber, 2 g protein, 3.8 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 157 mg sodium, 212 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 34 mg calcium

CONFETTI TABBOULEH: For a more colorful salad, add any of the following: 1/2 cup chopped English cucumber, 1/2 cup chopped red pepper, 1/2 to 1 cup corn kernels, or baby green peas. Basil can be used instead of cilantro. Add an extra drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil.

COUSCOUS TABBOULEH: Omit the bulgar. Combine 1/3 cup couscous with 2/3 cup boiling water. Cover and let stand 10 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Transfer to a bowl and add the olive oil and salt; mix well. Continue as directed in Step 2.

BARLEY TABBOULEH: Omit the bulgar and add 1 cup cooked barley.

QUINOA TABBOULEH: Substitute 1 cup cooked quinoa for the bulgar. Excellent for Passover.