Tabbouleh Salad

Tabbouleh Salad

Tabbouleh Salad

Tabbouleh salad (sometimes spelled tabouli or tabbouli) is a popular mezze throughout the Middle East and has roots in Lebanese cooking. This fresh green vegan salad features chopped fresh parsley, fresh mint, tomato, onions, lemon juice, and olive oil. Traditional tabbouleh also includes bulgur wheat grains.

I make this salad often in summers and I just love the freshness that the fresh herbs and vegetables give to this salad. The seeds used in this salad are not the main ingredient, in fact, a pretty insignificant element in terms of quantity.  I enjoy experimenting with the seeds I use for this salad and in the past have tried bulgur, quinoa, freekeh and couscous.

I have tasted Tabbouleh in lots of different countries and I have learnt that regionally, there are differences in the way tabbouleh is prepared. In some parts of Turkey, the bulgur is soaked and softened in tomato juice instead of water. In Greece, the salad is often made with more bulgur and less green. My recipe has far more herbs and vegetables than the grains, making it more Lebanese style in the green/white balance.

No matter how it is made, one thing is certain that tabbouleh is one of the most popular green mezze salads in the Middle East. This salad is perfect for summer as it is light, lemony, and refreshing.

Ingredients

1/3 cup mixture of quinoa and freekeh
1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh mint
2 finely chopped red tomatoes
¼ cup finely chopped onions
½ cup finely chopped cucumber
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon baharat spice mix (optional)
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg powder (optional)
Salt to taste

Directions

Step-1

Boil 3 cups water in a pan and add the seeds mix to the boiling water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the seeds are tender, but not mushy.  Remove them from heat and strain.  Let the seeds cool to room temperature.

Step-2

Take the cooled quinoa and freekeh in a bowl and add the parsley, mint, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, baharat spice, nutmeg powder, olive oil, lime juice and salt and toss gently to combine. Taste and add more salt, lemon juice or spice mix to taste.

Serve at room temperature, or chill in the refrigerator.

Tips & Variations

  1. It is important to treat parsley with care as it is one of the main ingredients in this salad. Always wash it by dunking it in cold water and shaking the excess water off. Spread washed parsley on paper towels and let it rest for a few minutes to get rid of the moisture. Parsley needs to be dry of moisture before chopping.
  2. Parsley needs to be carefully cut, so it does not bruise. I would recommend using a sharp knife and gently chop them as fine as you can.
  3. We only used mint leaves in this salad so the mint needs stripping from its thicker stems, and then gently slicing. Like parsley make sure to wash the mint too before chopping.
  4. Lots of recipes recommend draining the tomato juices off to keep the tabbouleh “crisp and keep it fresh for longer”. However, I prefer using the whole tomato for health benefits and I prefer the juicier versions, so I use the whole tomato.
  5. You can use spring onions instead of onions.
  6. I have used both curly and flat leaf parsley in the past while making this salad and I do not think it makes a huge difference. If given a choice try it with flat leaf parsley first as I find them easier to chop finely and has slightly delicate taste compared to curly parsley.
  7. You can use any seeds like bulgur, quinoa, couscous, freekeh in combination or on its own.

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