Tabuli is the curious traveler that visits our holiday celebrations. It is not a particularly wintery dish, but it has a cultural place in our tradition. It is a simple Middle Eastern dish that is prepared much the same as a salsa, lots of chopped fresh and fragrant ingredients, with the addition of bulgur wheat which gives the dish body, and makes it a complete dish with protein.
My family makes this for Christmas each year and it’s a great light dish for leftovers. Its a side salad who’s a confetti beauty on the dinner table with the various greens and small dice. This is the traditional way my Grandma and Mom always make it, and doesn’t need a thing added to it. Keep it fresh!
Ingredients (About 6 servings, ¾ cup each)
- 1 cup fine or small bulgar wheat*
- 2-3 cups water
- 1 cup finely chopped green onions
- 1 cup finely chopped mint
- 1 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- About 1 lemon to yield ¼ cup juice
- 2-3 tomatoes, finely diced (optional)
- ½-1 cucumber finely diced (optional)
- ½-1 teaspoon salt
- freshly cracked pepper
*You may need to go to a health food store or Middle Eastern specialty market to find this. You can alternatively use brown rice, barley, or quinoa, and cool it down before mixing with the salad ingredients.
- Add 1 cup fine bulgur into a large serving bowl. Add water until bulgur is just covered. Let sit for 30 minutes until almost all water is absorbed. If water is not all absorbed after 30 minutes, drain by holding paper towel over bowl tightly and drain. If all water is absorbed before 30 minutes, add more water to keep bulgur moist.
Near the end of the 30 minutes. Most of the water is absorbed. I should have used less water though!
Drain gently with paper towel to remove excess water. My mom says you want the bulgar to be dry so it can soak up the olive oil and lemon flavors.
- While bulgur is soaking, chop all herbs and vegetables. Mix the olive oil and lemon juice.
*The technical way to chop mint. Roll like cigar and slice thinly, all the way through. Its called chiffonade. Just a little thing I learned I thought I’d share. If its fresh no need to be technical.
- When bulgur is ready, add herbs, vegetables, and dressing, and salt and pepper to taste. Top with halved cherry tomatoes if desired.
This is a great side dish to prepare ahead of time, it will keep well and the flavors will marinate overnight in the fridge. You can serve cold or room temp. Take it to school or work the next day!