When the weather turns from a bleak and rainy April to a sunny and cheerful May, your clothes aren't the only thing that needs to change. Just as you need to switch out your scratchy wool sweaters for your favorite Lilly shifts, you also need to say goodbye to the warm, heavy food that probably got you through the winter and embrace the light and fresh foods that are perfectly suited for spring and summer.
Enter tabbouleh, the food I was always afraid of when I was young. All that parsley! And tomatoes! Thankfully I came to my senses a couple of years ago, and now at least once a month I find myself whipping up a big batch to keep in the fridge and eat for lunch. It's light, yet filling, and the best part is that the longer it sits in the fridge, the better it gets. Perfect!
If you can wield a knife and boil water, then you can make tabbouleh. This would be perfect for a spring luncheon- maybe stuffed in a hollowed out tomato or red pepper? How gorgeous would that be? A grilled or toasted slice of pita bread would also go wonderfully. And a crisp glass of white wine. Plus this food is as gorgeous to look at as it is to eat! So give it a try- this may just enter into constant rotation in your kitchen as it has in mine!
1.5 cups bulgar wheat
2 cups boiling water
1 large tomato, chopped (or a carton of cherry tomatoes, halved)
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, unseeded, & diced
3 scallions, minced
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Lemon Juice (about 1/4 cup, or to taste)
Olive Oil (about 1/4 cup, or to your preference)
1 tsp salt
Optional: 1 bunch of mint, finely chopped
Put the bulgar in a large bowl (preferably one with a lid). Pour the boiling water over the bulgar, and let it sit in the fridge for about an hour (or more). The bulgar will absorb the liquid and fluff up.
Meanwhile, chop the tomato, cucumber, scallions, parsley, and mint (if using). When the bulgar is finished soaking, remove it from the refrigerator and add the chopped ingredients to it. Add the salt, lemon juice, and olive oil, and mix well.
The tabbouleh can be eaten immediately, but is best when it sits in the refrigerator overnight. You'll notice a significant difference in the blending and intensifying of the flavors. Really!
Serve cold or at room temperature.
MOS Note: Poor bulgar has got to be the food with the most unfortunate name! Nothing about it sounds pretty or delicious! But if you haven't tried bulgar, you've got to give it a chance, because it's simply spectacular. You can find it at most major grocery stores, or at whole foods and ethnic markets. Most supermarkets only have one type, but ethnic markets often carry a variety of sizes: fine, medium, course, and extra course. I used medium in this recipe. Bulgar is also delicious in pilaf and as a substitute for rice. And unlike rice, it cooks easily and evenly. If you add to much water, just pour the excess out. It has a rich, nutty flavor and a slightly chewy texture.