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!
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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.