Ever since I was a child, tabbouleh has always been a traditional dish related to laughter and joy during family gatherings. My mom used to prepare it at least 2-3 times a week. On other days, we used to eat either fattoush or cabbage salads at lunch. Nevertheless, tabbouleh remains THE most important and irreplaceable salad to have on the table. It is believed that tabbouleh was first created by residents in the mountains of Lebanon and Syria more than 4000 years ago.
Lebanese Mezze (appetizers)
Tabbouleh decorates the wide variety of healthy Lebanese appetizers (mezze) that include the following popular dishes:
Hummus (Mashed chickpeas, mixed with tahini, minced garlic and lemon). Recipe here.
Baba Ganouj (char-grilled eggplant mixed with tahini, minced garlic and lemon)
Hindbeh (cooked Dandelion greens tossed with a lemon and olive oil dressing and topped with caramelized onions)
Tabbouleh Prep Techniques:
Even if this is the first time you are preparing tabbouleh, if you follow my recipe below, I guarantee you’ll taste THE most delicious traditional tabbouleh ever! Here are some suggestions that will help as you prepare this recipe:
Better to chop parsley by hands than using a food processor. Taste may vary indeed!
Some may substitute the bulgur with quinoa. Others may not use bulgur at all. It depends on personal preferences, but for me nothing compares to the taste of the traditional Lebanese Tabbouleh as detailed below.
Final touches always include tasting and adjusting the seasoning if necessary. It has to be mildly juicy with a balancing taste between olive oil and lemon juice.
Keep in mind that it’s fine to prepare the tabbouleh recipe ahead of time (without mixing the ingredients though), cover and refrigerate it for about 6 hours max, then mix it and present it on the table. It will undoubtedly taste as fresh and delicious as if prepared on the moment!
Tabbouleh is also so delicious wrapped in romaine lettuce leaves, or you may simply eat it with a fork.
Wash the bulgur wheat in a colander. In a medium bowl, soak the bulgur in very hot water for 15 minutes. Drain very well in a colander and then squeeze the bulgur wheat by hand to get rid of any excess water. Put aside.
Chop the parsley very fine. Put in a bowl.
Chop the mint very fine and put it in the bowl mixing it with the parsley to prevent the chopped mint from turning to black.
Chop the tomatoes into small cubes and pour them with their juice on the parsley-mint mix.
Mince the onion very fine. Season with pepper and salt. Leave it for 30 seconds then squeeze the chopped onion by hand to get rid of its water. Put over the tomato mixture.
Add the bulgur and season with salt.
Now add the lemon juice and olive oil and mix.
Usually, tabbouleh is tasted before being served to see whether it needs more salt or lemon based on personal preferences.
For best results, cover the tabbouleh and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Transfer to a serving platter.