Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tabouli


I love fall but I know it means I am soon going to be missing fresh garden produce and farmer's market veggies. Still, it is part of living seasonally.  A good way to bid farewell for now to vine ripened tomatoes and cucumbers and abundant fresh herbs is to make one of my favorite salads—Tabouli, or perhaps you spell it Tabouleh.  However it is spelled, it is a celebration of good things like parsley, tomato, cucumber, onion, with the accompaniment satisfying, chewy bulgur.  Bulgur is whole wheat that is cracked and parboiled to make it more tender and easy to cook.  I know many of you are gluten sensitive so you would not want the cracked wheat but quinoa makes an excellent substitute.
 I am not claiming this recipe to be authentic. I am not as concerned with authenticity as I am with flavor.  But this recipe is very versatile- feel free change it up to suit your taste!


I used yellow tomatoes so the color here is muted.
Tabouli (Tabouleh)

 1  heaping cup  Bulgur, cracked wheat*
  1   cup very warm water
          **********     
   2-3 TBSP     Fresh Lemon Juice
  1  Tbsp  Balsamic Vinegar
     1/3   cup Olive Oil
1     tsp. Lemon Pepper, Optional
Sprinkle of salt to taste
½ tsp  Greek seasoning (optional)

          ************             

    2/3 -3/4    cup  Chopped Parsley. Flat leaf, Italian is really best
     1/4 cup Chopped Fresh Mint, -- Or 1  Tbsp  Dried, optional
     1/4  cup Chopped Cilantro, Optiona
     1/3  cup  Sliced Green Onions

       ********
  2-3   Plum Tomatoes, Chopped
1-2     Cloves  Garlic, pressed, optional
1 large Cucumber, Peeled, Seeded and Diced( use more if you like)
1/2 cup Red Onion, minced

Rinse and drain bulgur and soak in a bowl of very warm water for 20-40 minutes, until it is tender enough while still chewy. Drain well, using a sieve if necessary.
Mix lemon, vinegar, olive oil and seasonings together in a large bowl and add bulgur. Let it sit for 20 minutes at room temperature. Fluff and add herbs. Mix well then add vegetables. Blend well and adjust seasonings as desired. Let stand covered for about 20 minutes.
Refrigerate any left overs.
Note:  If fresh mint is not available, I have substituted 1 cup of very strong mint tea for the water used to soak bulgar. It adds a nice minty undertone.
Serving Size  6-8     Preparation Time About   1  1/2 hours
*Need a gluten free Tabouli? No problem,  just substitute quinoa. Rinse quinoa well and cook according to package instructions. I have cooked it in a rice cooker on white rice setting with great results.  

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