When you hear the word salad, the first thought is of leafy greens, tomatoes and cucumbers. Maybe there are some croutons or sliced avocado or creamy dressing. This is the kind of salad that most people love.
We love a classic green salad just as much as anyone else, and we have them all the time. But we’re also big fans of Middle Eastern cuisine and sometimes need a heartier version of a light starter. After all, cooking is about introducing different colors, textures and flavors. There are endless options with so many salads to experiment with.
Today, we’ll talk about what tabbouleh is and what it’s made of, and use this exotic salad to transport you to different parts of the world from the confines of your own home.
Nothing speaks louder about Middle Eastern identity than tabbouleh. It’s a staple dish and locals probably eat it once a week. This classic couscous, parsley and seasoning salad offers a refreshing way to eat your vegetables.
What is Tabbouleh?
Tabbouleh is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine. This salad is made mainly of parsley and bulgur with some fresh mint, tomatoes, onion, lemon juice, olive oil and seasoning. Originating from Lebanon and Syria, today, it is also popular in Palestine, Egypt, Israel and beyond. Every region puts its own personal touch to the ingredients and preparation of tabbouleh but the basis is pretty much the same everywhere.
Parsley is at the heart of tabbouleh. This herb complements the couscous or bulgur and turns the salad into a bouquet of flavours. Using couscous means making tabbouleh is fast. Also, couscous is packed with nutrients. You’ll find a variety of spellings for tabouli, including tabouleh, tabbouleh or tabbouli. However you spell it, you’re in for a refreshing and nutritious meal.
What is tabbouleh made of?
The basic ingredients for a serving of tabbouleh salad are:
- 1/4 cup couscous or bulgur
- 3 bunches fresh parsley, minced (about 2 cups)
- 3 large tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 5 fresh mint leaves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Chop the parsley finely and put in a bowl. Chop the mint, tomatoes and onion and add to the parsley. Add your lemon juice, olive oil and spices. At this point, all the ingredients except the couscous should be in the bowl.
Once you prepare the couscous according to the instructions on the package. Fluff it up with a fork and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir thoroughly and enjoy.
Taste for seasoning, adding more salt or lemon juice. You can eat fresh from the bowl, or chill before serving. Tabbouleh salad can be prepared in advance, as the flavors will only deepen and come together even better.
Try out this recipe with Martino’s Bulgur and experiment with Middle Eastern cuisine!