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
- Put the bulgar in a bowl with 1 cup of cold water and let stand for one hour. Drain well.
- Toss bulgar with remaining ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.