If a recipe comes from my aunt Lark, you know it’s gonna be good. She is the most fabulous cook. I think she was the first in our family to really get into gourmet cooking. I’ve had a lot of things for the first time at her house. And since she has two vegetarian kids, she always makes something meat-free for holiday meals.
At one of those dinners she served this tabbouleh salad, and it was so superior to anything similar I’d ever made I just swooned, and asked for the recipe. Then she packed me up a to-go package to take home, which I treasured. I think what made it so great, in addition to all those fresh veggies, was a bit of cumin. It’s one of my favorite spices, and it gave it just enough of a kick to stand out.
So here’s the recipe. It’s super healthy, and a great accompaniment to something else Greek or Middle Eastern like falafel. Just remember to allow yourself enough time to soak the bulghur and marinate the salad before you plan to eat it.
Doesn’t a recipe that starts out with this colorful array of veggies have to be good?
Aunt Lark’s Tabbouleh
2 cups bulghur (she likes Bob’s Red Mill brand)
2 cups hot water
3 or 4 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 to 1 1/2 cups freshly chopped parsley
1/3 cup freshly chopped mint
3 green onions, finely sliced
1/2 small yellow or red onion, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cucumber or half an English cucumber, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 package feta cheese (optional)
Start by soaking the bulghur. You can use any method you like best, but 2 cups bulghur soaked in 2 cups hot water for an hour should do the trick. You can also use boiling water for half an hour.
Once it’s done (chewy but not too hard), drain any extra water. You may need to put it in a strainer and press out the excess water with the back of a spatula.
Chop up the rest of the veggies and herbs. The key here is to chop everything really finely so you get a little bit of everything in each bite. And no one wants to bite into a big chunk of raw onion.
Normally I don’t love parsley, but the fresh herbs in this recipe are part of what makes it tabbouleh, so be generous with them. Once all the flavors blend together it just seems right.
In another bowl, whisk the lemon juice (I like to use my vintage juicer, which makes it easy to separate the seeds),
with the olive oil, salt, cumin and pepper.
Just a side note: We buy olive oil in HUGE amounts and just refill a container that sits on the stove because we use so much of it. Next to milk/bread/eggs, we probably use it more than anything.
Mix the dressing with the veggies and then add the strained bulghur. Refrigerate for at least two hours before eating. You might also want to taste it to see if you need to add more seasonings. And, I think it’s extra good with a little feta cheese mixed in at the end.
Yum, yum, YUM.