There is an almost endless number of variations available online on how to make a proper Tabbouleh Salad, including an excellent video produced by a really great chef, French Chef,Jacques Pépin. It also appears that there is an endless list of ingredients that can be used to make this healthy, colorful, salad. My choice follow!
Step 1: INGREDIENTS (3 Entrees or 4 to 6 Side Salads)
- 1/2 cup raw *medium grain Bulgur Wheat
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed **Lime Juice (the juice of approximately one medium sized lime)
- 1/2 English or Hot House Cucumber, seeds removed.
- 6 ounces red ripe tomato, chopped (or an equivalent amount of cherry or grape tomatoes sliced)
- 4 green onions, chopped, (3 for the salad, 1 for garnish)
- 1 red chili pepper, seeds removed, chopped fine (optional)
- 1 cup fresh Basil leaves, chopped
- 2 TBS fresh Mint leaves, chopped.
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal Salt Sense with Iodine (or sea or Kosher salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup Grapeseed Oil (or any really good tasting light olive oil)
- 3 TBS light Sour Cream.
- Bibb, Boston, or Romaine Lettuce Leaves for serving.
*NOTE: Bulgur wheat should be available in 4 grades; from #1 (fine) up to #4 (coarse). I could only fine one grade which I believed to be medium.
**NOTE: Most Tabbouleh recipes use Lemon juice. Since I prefer Lime juice, I used it.
(If you don't care for Basil or Mint, you can leave them out, or substitute any combination of fresh herbs that you like).
Step 2: PREPARATION:
Begin by preparing the Bulgur Wheat:
- Fill a large pot about 3/4 full with cold water and add the lime juice.
- Place 1 cup of wheat grain into cheese cloth (or a paper coffee filter as I did) and place that into a fine wire strainer. Place the strainer into the pot of water, and let it rest in the water for at least *10 minutes.
While the wheat is soaking prepare the vegetables and herbs:
- Cut the cucumber in half and split one half in half again (refrigerate the remaining half for use another time). Scoop out the seeds with a large spoon and discard them. Cut the cuke into about 1/4" pieces and set it aside.
- Chop the green onions, including some of the green tops; set aside.
- Chop the tomato into 1/4" pieces (or,if using grape or cherry tomatoes, slice them in half); set aside.
- Cut the stem off of the red chili if using; remove the seeds, chop the flesh into very fine pieces. Wash your hands before continuing!
- Remove the stems from the Basil and Mint leaves and chop very fine, set aside.
- *NOTE: After the Bulgur wheat kernels have soaked for at least 10 minutes, taste a few grains to see if it is tender enough for you. Depending on the grade of wheat used, the kernels can be soaked for up to 3 or 4 hours, or in the refrigerator for about an hour. I like mine crunchy, so 10 minutes was fine for me. Once the Bulgur wheat has reached a stage of tenderness that suits you, remove the cheese cloth (or coffee filter) from the water and squeeze as much liquid out of it as you can get; then dump the grain into a large mixing bowl.
Step 3: INSTRUCTIONS (ASSEMBLE THE SALAD):
- As previously noted, place the soaked and drained Bulgur wheat into a large mixing bowl.
- Add the chopped basil and mint, the tomatoes, cucumber, green onion, (and red chili if using).
- Mix thoroughly, taste; season with Salt & Pepper.
- Stir in the Grapeseed or Olive Oil; mix thoroughly, and allow the mixture to rest in the bowl at room temperature until ready to serve (the longer the better - and hour or two won't hurt; you want the grain to absorb as much flavor as possible before plating - you could even make this the day before and refrigerate it over night after letting it rest on the counter for an hour or two).
Step 4: TIME TO EAT . . .
Since I served my Tabbouleh Salad as an entree, I placed a good mound of the salad on top of some fresh Bibb Lettuce leaves and added a big "dollop" of light sour cream and a few slices of hard boiled egg dusted with smoked paprika; then garnished the plate with a sliced green onion.
I see no reason why one can't substitute Zucchini for the cucumber, or add some sliced radishes or carrots, or bell peppers to this recipe. Feel free to experiment!
Step 5: NUTRITION:
I have prepared the nutritional values of this recipe to the best of my ability using the MyFitnessPal Recipe Analyzer. As far as I am concerned, this is a good, hearty, low-calorie meal. (The hard boiled egg is not included in the nutritional analysis; one sliced hardboiled egg will add about 78 calories and 6 grams of protein to the count.