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Tabouleh – Middle Eastern Greens and Grain Salad

Tabouleh - Middle Eastern Greens and Grains SaladMy sweet friend Michaela brought Tabouleh to some-one’s bachelorette party.  Was it mine?  Was it Lisa’s?  I can’t remember, they all seem to have blended together over time.  In any case, I quickly decided it was one of the best things I’d ever had prepared by a friend.  (Michaela is an exceptional cook, and really, I enjoy anything she creates.)   I immediately began stalking her for the recipe, which of course she didn’t have.  She, too, cooks in a little of this, little of that fashion.  And it’s part of her heritage so she’d been making it “forever”.  This at our ripe old age of 24.  In any case, as happened with most things in my cooking life pre-blogging, she emailed me the recipe she came up with, and it promptly disappeared into the mist of long lost emails when I quit working and didn’t have that email address or data any longer.

So this is what I came up with as my interpretation.  Tabouleh traditionally consists of parsley, mint, bulgur wheat, some veggie type things in a citrus vinaigrette.  Incidentally, can every Arabic word be spelled like 1,000 different ways?  Between trying to decide how to correctly spell Tabouleh and Baba Ghanoush, my brain feels like it’s been put in a washing machine.  Bulgur wheat is a whole grain which is high in fiber with a low-ish glycemic index for a grain.  I love tabouleh and love that it adds such nice color to appetizer plates!  Proper tabouleh production ensures only the leaves of the parsley are used and no stem pieces as a key element, albeit labor intensive and seriously time consuming.  This is a good time to let your preschooler practice those scissors skills.  Feel free to add more mint, I was using up what I had on hand, but would have been happy to add additional!

Tabouleh (makes about a quart)

4 c. parsley, leaves only, minced

1/2 c. fresh mint, leaves only, minced

2 tomatoes, finely chopped

1 english cucumber ( 1 c. finely chopped)

3/4 c. minced yellow onion

1 and 1/2 tsp chopped garlic

1/2 c. bulgur wheat

8 tbsp lemon juice plus 2 tbsp lemon juice

4 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp kosher salt

12 turns pepper

Use scissors to trim only leaves from parsley, discarding any stem pieces.  Mince leaves to accumulate 4 cups.  Use a similar method to mince mint leaves.  Combine with tomatoes, cucumber, onions, and garlic.  In a saucepan, bring 3/4 of a cup of water and 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice to a boil.  Add bulgur, remove from heat and let sit for 30 minutes.  Drain, then squish with  a clean towel to pull out any extra moisture.  Add to salad mixture.  In a small bowl, whisk to combine remaining 8 tbsps lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, then pour mixture over salad.  Cover and refrigerate at least two hours, stirring part way through.