Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tasty Tabouleh

One of my favorite restaurants back in Rochester is a Greek/Mediterranean place called Aladdin’s. On their menu (which includes many pitas, wraps, and pasta dishes) is also a substantial amount of appetizers and dips for pita, including tabouleh, which is where I fell in love with this delightful dish.

According to Wikipedia “tabouleh is a Levantine salad dish. Traditionally a mountain dish from the Lebanon, and one of the Lebanese main dishes, it has become one of the most popular salads in the non-Persian side of the Middle East. Its primary ingredients are finely chopped parsley, bulgur, mint, tomato, spring onion, and other herbs with lemon juice, olive oil and various seasonings, generally including black pepper and sometimes cinnamon and allspice. In the Arab world, but particularly the Greater Syrian region, it is usually served as part of the mezze, and is served with romaine lettuce. The Lebanese use more parsley than bulgur wheat in their dish.”

Now that we have the details out of the way I can tell you how much I love tabouleh. It’s refreshing and tasty and perfect with pita. That’s why I was super excited that I received a bunch of fresh parsley in my farm share a few weeks ago AND that the weekly newsletter came with a recipe for tabouleh! And lucky for me, I already had some fresh mint in my refrigerator that my dad had sent me a few days earlier. Again, the cooking fates align.

Since I was already well-equipped with the herbs and spices I needed I didn’t feel like going out to the store to buy the bulghur wheat that the recipe called for so I just substituted a packages of couscous that I already had on hand (making it according to the box directions but not including the spice packet.) That worked out really well and the tabouleh came out phenomenal! It was very tasty with crackers, and pita, and these wonderful herb pita chips that my mom found at the Rochester Wegmans. Oh Wegmans, how I miss you. I made the tabouleh only a day before I ventured back to Rochester to do some research for the book I’m currently writing so both of my parents had the chance to sample the tabouleh (including my Dad who had supplied the mint.)

I would gladly make this again and I think it could be a real hit at a summer picnic or a casual dinner party.



Tabouleh (recipe compliments of Enterprise Farm Newsletter)

Ingredients --
  • 1 cup bulghur wheat 
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped 
  • 1 box grape tomatoes, finely chopped, with their juice 
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 3/4 cups finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 
  • Freshly ground pepper 
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt 
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint 
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions --
  • Soak the bulghur in cold water for 10 minutes. 
  • Drain in a sieve lined with damp cheesecloth, squeezing out all the water. 
  • Transfer to a bowl and fluff with a fork. 
  • Stir in the tomatoes w/ their juice, the parsley and the scallions. 
  • Add the lemon juice, salt, and oil. 
  • Season with pepper. 
  • Toss to coat. 
  • Just before serving, mix in the mint.

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