Friday, March 09, 2012

That Oh So Grown Up Feeling

For a period of time when they were young Thatmom and Thatdad worked in a Middle Eastern gourmet food store.  Maybe it's because of this that we ate a lot of Middle Eastern food when I was growing up. It could also be because we always had close family friends from Jordan, Iran, Saudi Arabia...

Whatever the reason, there seemed to be a neverending parade of baklava, baba ganoush, grape leaves, and halavah through our house. We even made hummus almost weekly and for the period of time I was a vegetarian I lived almost entirely on falafel.  The only Middle Eastern delicacy I never fully enjoyed (aside from the sheep brains eaten out of the sheep's head), was tabbouleh.

I can tell you exactly why - the parsley.  Tabbouleh is a cold grain salad, with the predominate flavors coming from the freshly chopped parsley and mint.  Lots of parsley and mint.  And as a kid I never liked parsley.  To be honest, I don't relish it now that I'm an adult either, but I am able to appreciate it and what it brings to a dish.

Which is why, now that I'm a grownup, I have learned to enjoy tabouleh.  The crisp flavors of the mint and parsley I used to despise now seem ever so refreshing.  And it is such an easy thing to throw together - great right away, but even better when you let the flavors meld together in the fridge.  (I think Alton Brown calls this the flavor tango).

This is the more traditional form of tabbouleh, made with bulgar.  However, I have made similar salads using rice, couscous, or barley and all come out equally delicious.

1 cup bulgar
5 Tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 Tbsp chopped mint
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 tomato, diced
  1. Put the bulgar in a bowl with 1 cup of cold water and let stand for one hour.  Drain well.
  2. Toss bulgar with remaining ingredients.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.


  1. When I make tabboulleh I prefer to use less parsley thn called for but it is my one go to recipe for picnics.

  2. It's almost as if I wrote this post! I've also come to enjoy tabbouleh, but I've never made it with bulgar. I bookmarked this to try.

  3. Growing up, I also ate a lot of middle eastern food, lot of latin and kosher food too. I have a special place for tabbouleh. I am glad you posted this recipe. I have been thinking about making it for a few weeks....I needed your post to kick me in the pants.I am going to make it this weekend.


  4. I also hated parsley for a spell but I've come around to it and have learned where it's needed and will add to a dish and where I still won't particularly like it. I'm still not completely sold on mint though, so tabbouleh is always iffy.

  5. I don't find that parsley has much taste. I think of it as cilantro's more neutral cousin.

    I've never made tabbouleh --- I should give it a try.

  6. I could also live on falafel! Or hummus...or tabbouleh - YUM!

  7. Look so healthy and yummy! Thanks for sharing!

  8. That looks fantastic!! Can't wait to try!