Thanks to our Armenian heritage, my family grew up eating a number of pretty delicious middle eastern foods, including tabbouli [tuh-boo-lee]. Like many traditional cultures, they had it right when it came to fresh, whole foods.
Tabbouli is a perfect summer salad, taking spectacular advantage of the garden’s bounty of tomatoes, parsley, green onions and cucumber. It’s light, refreshing, cleansing, and completely addictive.
I was totally craving a batch last week. Especially since we found me one of these:
Yes, I’ve officially put on my big girl panties and gotten myself a full size food processor. SoulDaddy was so proud to have scored this brand new Cuisinart for $5, and rightfully so. I couldn’t think of anything better with which to give it a whirl than tabbouleh.
I hadn’t made this salad myself in some time so I had to dig out my Armenian cookbook, compiled by the Women’s Guild of the Armenian Congregational Church in Providence, RI in September of 1981. I was six!
My grandmother somehow got me a copy from her sister-in-law many years ago. I’m honored that she gifted it to me, and always get lost paging through, smiling at the familiar names of family members, some no longer with us, who shared their favorite family recipes. Like Grandma Annie’s Vospov Abour (Red Lentil Soup) submitted by my dad’s cousin, Joyce; can’t wait to try that this winter!
This is one special cookbook, and I’m thankful it had a recipe for tabbouleh to spark my memory, though I quickly adapted it to make my grandmother’s version.
Traditionally made with cracked wheat bulgur, I’ve begun to make tabbouleh with quinoa instead. Honestly, though it requires you to turn on the stove to cook it, I love the texture so much better, not to mention the extra protein, and those with celiac disease will appreciate the gluten-free option. You can use either. Regardless of which you choose, the key to this salad – as my grandmother taught me – is lemon; lots and lots of fresh lemon!
- 1.5 c. cooked quinoa or 1 c. cracked wheat bulgur
- 1 large bunch flat leafed parsley, chopped fine (approximately 2 c.)
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped fine (approximately 1 c.)
- 1 large cucumber or several small, peeled and chopped fine (approximately 1 c.)
- 2 large, ripe tomatoes, chopped fine
- Fresh squeezed juice from 2 lemons ( 1/2 c.)
- Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
If using bulgur, place in a large bowl, cover with cold water and let soak for 10 minutes before draining. If using quinoa, boil 3/4 c. with 1.5 c. water until absorbed and seed breaks open (will make 1.5 c. cooked). Place cooked quinoa in large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and mix until well blended. Serve with slices of whole wheat pita bread or gluten-free crackers.
I took the amateur route and processed my ingredients one-by-one, emptying between vegetables, but I’m pretty sure you could keep adding to the processor to save yourself time. It got my parsley to just the right consistency.
If you chop the tomatoes in there too, be sure to pulse them slowly or you’ll end up with soup. I like the thinner texture it provides better than hand-chopping.
Toss to combine in a bowl, and hello hot weather deliciousness! Pack a plastic bowl and toss in the cooler for your next picnic or camping trip (which we did).
Or use as part of an appetizer tray for girls’ night (as I also did).
I promise you will not be disappointed.
Unless of course you can’t score a new food processor for five bucks.
I shared this post at Summer Salad Sundays, Monday Mania, Mangia Mondays, Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Must Try Monday, Fat Tuesday, Hearth and Soul, Tasty Tuesdays, The Gathering Spot, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Health 2day, Whole Food Wednesday, This Chick Cooks, What I ate Wednesday, Your Green Resource, It’s a Keeper, Pennywise Platter, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, and Foodie Friday.