Tabbouleh

A few things are figuring in to the meal planning for this week.  First, I spent the last 3 days at Disney World eating and drinking all manner of festive foods and drinks – some shaped like Mickey Mouse and all laden with calories.  Second, I am starting a new job this week and I’m planning to take my lunch for the first time in a long while.  So, the requirements for this week are things that are pretty light and things that will be just as good tomorrow and likely Wednesday for lunch.  I missed eating at Epcot’s Morocco so I decided to replicate the experience here, minus the Epcot-sized price tag.  I’ve made hummus, falafel and tabbouleh.  Let’s start with the tabbouleh.

Tabbouleh is a mixture of bulghur, parsley, mint, tomatoes, onions, olive oil and lemon juice.   Most of the time the parsley plays a lead role, but everyone has their own take on this.  Tonight we’re having tabbouleh Barefoot Contessa-style.  To me this is a little more ‘tabbouleh salad’ than tabbouleh.  The ratio of bulghur to everything else is higher than I expected.  And this dish has cucumbers in it, which I wouldn’t normally include.  It calls for green onions instead of regular onions.  Still, it’s really good.  Maybe a little more lemon juice would be nice.  Play with the proportions until you find something you like.  One note, I had to look carefully to find the bulghur in my local Kroger.  I found it on the International Foods aisle on the shelves with the various rice varieties.

This is a terrific dish to make when you’ve purchased an entire bunch of fresh parsley for a recipe that only requires 2 tablespoons.  And it’s a terrific dish to take to Summer cookouts.  You can ( and should) make it hours in advance and it can sit outside without spoiling.  Also, herbs are fresh and cheap and local in the Summer.  Tonight’s mint came straight out of my herb garden.  YUM!  Add some grilled lemon chicken make this a main dish salad.

Good? Indeed.
Easy? Absolutely.
Good for company? Sure, the recipe makes lots.
Special shopping? Look for bulghur in the Middle Eastern section of your local grocery.

Tabbouleh ala Barefoot Contessa

Ingredients

1 cup bulghur wheat
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 cup good olive oil
3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (1 bunch)
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (1 bunch)
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (1 bunch)
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Place the bulghur in a large bowl, pour in the boiling water, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper; mix well. Season, to taste, and serve or cover and refrigerate. The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh sits for a few hours.

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