Perfect for a picnic or a barbeque, tabouleh is a Middle Eastern salad based around bulgur wheat. Similar to cous cous, bulgar is made from durum wheat that’s been partially cooked so that all you have to do is soak it for a bit while you prep everything else. Add in crisp cucumbers, lush early-season tomatoes and refreshing green herbs, toss with a lemon vinaigrette and voila! A simple warm-weather salad that goes with anything you can pull off the grill.
3/4 cup bulgur wheat (check the bulk food aisle at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s)
4 cups hot water
1 cup diced cucumber
1 cup cherry tomato halves
1/2 cup finely packed, chopped herbs like parsley, mint, basil, cilantro, dill, tarragon, etc.
1/2 cup excellent quality olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
sea salt and a few cracks of black pepper to taste
1. Put the bulgar in a bowl and cover with the hot water. Let stand for 20 minutes. Taste some grains and make sure they are pleasant to bite into. Should be firm, not mushy, but not crunchy. Let stand additional time with a little more hot water if necessary.
2. Meanwhile, do all your chopping and lemon juicing and put those ingredients into a big mixing bowl.
3. Drain the soaked bulgur in a fine sieve or a colander lined with a layer of cheesecloth. Use the back of a wooden spoon to gently press out any excess water. Add to the cucumber-tomato-herb mix.
4. Toss so that everything is evenly mixed. Let stand 30 minutes then taste.
5. Balance the flavors with more salt, pepper or lemon.
6. When you are ready to serve, toss the salad, then transfer to a pretty bowl and serve.