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Classic Tabbouleh Recipe

Are You Making Tabbouleh the Wrong Way?

No, that's not a typo in this recipe, the ratio of parsley to barley — an astounding 6 cups of finely chopped parsley to a mere 1/2 cup of uncooked barley — is correct. While most Americans may think of tabbouleh as an herb-flecked barley salad, traditionally the proportions of this Lebanese staple are flipped. Rather, classic tabbouleh is an herb salad that's dotted with barley. When made in this manner, it's a salad that's light, refreshing, and completely acceptable to pig out on, without incurring a nasty stomachache. I like to pair it with rich Mediterranean dips like hummus, tzatziki, and baba ghanouj, as tabbouleh's fresh herbaceous flavor brightens each bite.

Classic Tabbouleh

Adapted from Mediterranean Harvest: Vegetarian Recipes from the World's Healthiest Cuisine by Martha Rose Shulman

Notes

Tabbouleh tends to get soggy as leftovers, so unless you're making this for a large crowd, halve the recipe (it still makes a lot of tabbouleh).

Classic Tabbouleh Recipe

Ingredients

  1. 1/2 cup coarse bulgur
  2. 1 garlic clove, minced
  3. Juice of 3 to 4 lemons (to taste)
  4. 6 cups finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (from 6 large bunches)
  5. 1 cup finely chopped fresh mint (from 1 large bunch)
  6. 1 pound ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
  7. 1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts, finely chopped
  8. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  9. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Place the bulgur in a heat-safe bowl and cover with boiling water by 1/2 inch. Soak for 20 minutes, or until slightly softened. Drain through a fine mesh strainer (if you don't have a fine mesh strainer, line a colander with cheesecloth) and press the bulgur against it to drain off the excess water.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with the garlic, lemon juice, herbs, tomatoes, and scallions. Season to taste with salt and pepper (be generous with the salt). Leave at room temperature for 2-3 hours so that the bulgur can continue to absorb liquid, swell, and soften.
  3. Add the olive oil, toss together, taste, and adjust seasonings. The tabbouleh should taste really lemony; add more lemon juice if it doesn't.
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