Whether I’m having company or not, there’s just something in me that wants to do as much meal work as possible ahead of time. If the work is done and the mess is already cleaned up, there’s little to do besides eat and relax when dinnertime rolls around, right? That’s one of the reason I love tabbouleh as a dinner side… It actually tastes better the longer it sits in the refrigerator (to a certain extent, of course!). Plus, the cooking part is almost non-existant. If you can chop vegetables and boil water, you have all the skills you need to throw this one together.
The original recipe makes 8 cups (!), which is way too much tabbouleh for just Dr. O and me, so I cut the recipe in half.
To start, I combined 3/4 cup of uncooked bulgur and 3/4 cup of boiling water in a large bowl. I covered it tightly with plastic wrap and let it stand for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, I diced 3/4 cup of English cucumber and 1/2 cup of tomato and chopped 1/2 cup of fresh parsley and 2 tablespoons of scallions. In a small bowl, I combined 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, 1/2 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of coarse salt, 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, and 4 minced garlic cloves (from the jar, yes, I’m lazy).
When the bulgur’s 30 minutes were up, I stirred in the vegetables and lemon-oil mixture, covered the salad, and stashed it in the refrigerator. I chilled mine for about 8 hours before serving it; make sure you give it at least an hour in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to blend.
I can’t say this is my absolute favorite tabbouleh salad recipe (that would be Ina Garten’s, at least at this point) but this recipe has two things on hers: lots of garlic (love it!) and a much lower calorie count. This recipe is originally from the October 2005 issue of Cooking Light, so I’m sure it’s meant to be a lighter alternative to traditional tabbouleh. It’s definitely fresh, which makes it perfect for spring and summer; I just love the cucumber and tomato. The slightly chewy, nutty bulgur adds a hearty element too. In terms of flavor, I would make two small changes: I would increase the lemon juice (probably by 1 tablespoon for the half recipe) and I would increase the salt (by just a pinch). As always, taste and adjust your seasonings before serving!
TIPS: I used Bob’s Red Mill bulgur to make the salad. I was initially concerned about only letting the bulgur stand for 30 minutes because the package said 60 minutes. However, the package didn’t say anything about covering the bulgur while it stood. I think the act of covering it trapped that heat and moisture and sped up the process.
Recipe link: Tabbouleh Salad