Suitable for vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters, tabbouleh works well as a starter, a healthy snack and as an accompaniment to barbecued chicken.
Lebanese tabbouleh is mainly made with parsley and tomatoes. Another authentic ingredient is the fine bulgar wheat or burghul and not couscous as it is generally sold in supermarkets. The amount of burghul can vary according to taste and in the past, as far as I remember, the less you put of it for the guests, the more appropriate it was considered. Another important thing is, do please avoid using a food processor because the real taste lies in the way you treat and chop the ingredients.
One more tip, tabbouleh is best served fresh. If you do have to prepare in advance, I suggest chopping the ingredients and piling them on top of each other then stop at stage 5. Mix the remaining ingredients just before serving. Please, do not leave the prepared dish in the fridge for hours because it will go mushy and the freshly mixed taste that is unique to it will be lost.
- 1 bunch of preferably flat leaf parsley weighing about 150grms / 5oz
- Few sprigs of mint enough to make 1tbsp about 20 grams / ¾ oz
- 3 spring onions or 1 small onion, preferably red.
- 2-3 tbsp fine grain bulgar wheat or burghul preferably brown
- 350grms / 12 oz vine-ripened tomatoes or any tasty tomatoes.
- 4 tbsps lemon juice or to taste
- 3-4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly milled black pepper
- To serve: Crisp lettuce or white cabbage washed and chilled (optional)
- Remove and discard the thick parsley stalks, keeping the fine ones that have the leaves attached and wash thoroughly with cold water in a colander until you get rid of the grit. Drain the excess water then dry thoroughly on a clean tea towel. Once dried, chop finely (relatively fine not extremely fine) and put in a large mixing bowl.
- Repeat the same process with the mint leaves (using only the leaves), then add them to the parsley.
- Finely chop the onion and add it to the parsley-mint mixture.
- Rinse the bulgar wheat in a sieve under cold water, drain then squeeze the bulgar wheat with your hands to get rid of the excess water and add it to the mixture, season with salt and freshly milled black pepper.
- Finely chop the tomatoes and add on top of the bulgar wheat, the idea is that the juices from the tomatoes will moisten and flavour the bulgar wheat. If you are not ready to serve, cover the mixture and leave it in the fridge, ideally not for too long.
- Using 2 large spoons mix everything while adding at the same time the lemon juice. Taste to check seasoning, adjust if necessary, then finally add the olive oil.
- Serve at once with the lettuce or cabbage on the side. In Lebanon, During the Summer people serve young vine leaves as their lemony taste nicely complements tabbouleh.
Drink. Arak, the Lebanese national drink goes nicely with tabbouleh so does chilled Lebanese beer or medium sweet white wine.