Part of the Middle Eastern picnic spread! My personal favorite part. (This and the falafel post were written side-by-side, so apologies for any time-related inconsistencies.)
Tabbouleh, or however you care to spell it, is, in my humble opinion, the universe’s best salad. And that’s coming from a girl who loves salads. It’s based on bulghur wheat, which is a pain in the buttocks to find if you don’t live near a Middle Eastern grocer or specialty foods store. I scored some from a friend who’s trying to go gluten-free. If you really can’t find it, quinoa is a perfectly acceptable substitute, unless you’re me and you’re kind of picky about your tabbouleh. I give you fair warning. 🙂
To the soaked wheat, add tomatoes, a whole bunch of chopped parsley, some garlic, lemon juice, and salt. Let marinate, and try not to eat the whole bowl at once. After all, when you’re making falafel and your own pita to go with them, might as well savor the treat. 😀
- Shop around for bulghur wheat before realizing that your quest is futile in your part of the city. Score delivery of some from friend – awesome! Since that little delivery won’t be arriving until tomorrow, prep your salad the night before.
- Chop one large cucumber into somewhere between a chop and a dice. Scoop into salad bowl. (Seed before chopping if you’re picky, but I’m not. I like seeds in my cukes and tomatoes.)
- Add three large tomatoes, chopped reasonably small.
- Throw in about two cups of parsley, chopped. On the list of “kitchen skills I do not have yet” is chopping big bunches of greenery in any sort of neat manner. I didn’t worry about it too much.
- Realize that your bowl is far too small for this much salad. Frantically search kitchen for larger bowl. Realize that you cannot find larger bowl because that’s where your pita dough is rising. Sigh and go back to making salad.
- Add a handful of chopped green onions (about three stalks). Pause to slice up rest of onions for flash-freezing, because these onions are looking pretty sorry.
- (Very quick flash-freezing instructions: spread food to be frozen into single layer on plate. Stick, uncovered, into freezer for about twenty minutes or until most pieces are solid. Store in labeled plastic bag in freezer. This way, you don’t get a whole giant brick of onion.)
- Throw in four minced cloves of garlic. Don’t be shy with the garlic in this salad. It’s not first date food.
- (Take a break to go peel the rest of your household supply of garlic, because apparently this is Tabbouleh And Housecleaning Day.)
- Add a couple tablespoons of dried mint, in place of the fresh mint the recipe calls for. (If you have fresh, throw in about a third of a cup.)
- Realize you’re out of friggin’ lemon juice, throw up your hands, stir your salad, cover it, stick it in the fridge, and come back to it later. Sheesh.
- When you return from the store later, add half a cup of lemon juice, stir again, re-cover, and stick back in the fridge.
- The next day, soak two cups of bulghur in enough boiling water to cover it. Stir into your salad, chill long enough to cool the bulghur, and serve. 🙂