My latest summer salad recipe, a big batch of homemade tabbouleh salad using Ina Garten’s recipe, an easy combination of bulgur wheat, lemon juice and olive oil with cucumber, tomato, green onion, fresh parsley and fresh mint. (Recipe hint: Mint is the secret ingredient!)
TV’s been banished from my house, “Gone, I say, gone”. You see, my relationship with TV is “love-hate” and “on again – off again”. Right now it’s hate and off and has been for, hmm, let’s see, when did Congress in all its wisdom decide that all televisions must be digital? That long, quite a few years.
What’s this to do with Ina Garten and Tabbouleh, you’re wondering? Well, no TV, no Food Network, no Food Network, no Ina Garten.
Luckily, my friends Jim and Kathy are, well, “normal” and own a TV. And thank goodness they are Ina Gartner fans otherwise, I’d have missed Ina Garten’s Tabbouleh Salad recipe, the best homemade tabboulleh salad this side of a Middle Eastern restaurant.
It’s just so simple. So perfect. So unassuming. So fresh. So balanced. And easy – that’s E A Z Y easy. Just soak bulghur wheat, then perform some quick knife work and there you go, homemade tabbouleh salad.
WHAT IS BULGUR WHEAT? First, bulgur wheat is also called BULGHUR and BURGHUL and BULGAR WHEAT but don’t let that confuse you. It’s highly nutritious because it’s made from the whole kernel of wheat, with just a touch of the bran removed, then parboiled and dried, so that when it reaches our kitchens, it cooks quickly. It even “cooks” just by soaking it for an hour in boiling water, like in this recipe for tabboulleh.
WHAT IS CRACKED WHEAT? Bulgur wheat and cracked wheat are often confused. They’re both wheat but not the same thing. Cracked wheat is, well, cracked, but it’s not pre-cooked so takes longer to cook than bulgur.
WHERE TO BUY BULGUR WHEAT? If your grocery carries Bob’s Red Mill products or has a bulk food aisle, look for it there. Otherwise, check Whole Foods or a natural foods store. It’s worth seeking out!
HOW TO STORE BULGUR WHEAT Like all whole grains, bulgur should be stored in an air-tight container in the freezer or refrigerator. I’ve actually converted a vegetable bin in my fridge to storage for roasted nuts and grains – kinda handy, especially because I’m less prone to buy too many vegetables since fridge storage is limited.
THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA:
TABBOULEH SALAD RECIPE
Time to table: 90 minutes (but best after resting several hours)
Makes 6 cups
- 1 cup (170g) bulgur wheat
- 1-1/2 cups boiling water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
VEGETABLES & HERBS
- 1 English cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, cut in small dice
- 2 cups (8oz/227g) cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup chopped green onions, white and green parts
- 1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 cup chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
TO FINISH the TABBOULEH SALAD
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (don’t skip)
- Additional salt & pepper to taste
BULGHUR Combine bulgur and boiling water in a large bowl. Stir in lemon juice, olive oil and salt.
Let rest for an hour, stirring occasionally. (The bulgur will soften and expand. Let the kids check it once in awhile, it grows!)
VEGETABLES Stir the vegetables and fresh herbs into the bulgur.
FINISH Stir in the pepper and any additional salt or pepper to taste.
Cover and refrigerate, best if left to rest for several hours before serving.
LEFTOVER REPORT Homemade tabbouleh salad stays fresh and inviting for several days.
HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE TABBOULEH? Tabbouleh is one of those words you hear pronounced different ways. I’ve always pronounced it [ta-BOO-lee] but am working on a more authentic pronounciation, [TA-boo-lay]. Then again, Merriam-Webster says it’s pronounced [ta-BOO-la], rhymes with Missoula. How you do you pronounce tabbouleh?
HOW DO YOU SPELL TABBOULEH? Okay so it seems that the most consistent way to spell tabbouleh comes from Arabic and is just that, double b, single l. But there’s also tabouleh (single b, single l) and tabouli or tabbouli – or my favorite, the phonetic spelling, tabooli!
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