Tabouli - Simple and Delicious

My partner and I found the most wonderful Syrian restaurant in Shepherds Bush during our brief stint living in London where we gorged on cheap, filling mezzes.

Having only ever bought tabouli pre-made from Coles along with my regular dolmades (lazy I know), I decided to make it myself when I got back to Australia. Tabouli (tabouleh) is a Levantine Arab salad traditionally made with bulgur, tomato, parsley and mint, seasoned with olive oil and lemon juice.

I have made a few different varieties of tabouli because you can make it with non-traditional ingredients like couscous, quinoa and coriander, but in my opinion the recipe below is the best I have tried. Soaking the bulgur in ground cumin makes such a difference.

If you want to try something different or want to beef it up to make a large salad, toss in some cooked beans or lentils (such as adzuki beans or chickpeas), try quinoa instead of the bulgar to be gluten free, coriander instead of the parsley or mint (or any combination you like), try cherry tomatoes instead of tomatoes, add other vegetables like lettuce and red cabbage, add some cooked free range roasted chicken and top with a nut medely, goji berries, crumbled falafel or some roast sweet potato.

I like to eat mine as part of a mezze with other dips and some flat bread, or as part of a wrap or salad for lunch with some home made baked falafel drizzled in yoghurt.

Nutritional Benefits: Parsley contains fibre, vitamins and minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. It is also rich in many antioxidant vitamins including vitamin-A, beta-carotene, vitamin-C, vitamin-E, zea-xanthin, lutein, and cryptoxanthins. The herb is also an excellent source of vitamin-K and folate. Bulgur wheat does contain gluten, but offers similar amounts of nutrients as quinoa per calorie. Bulgur contains a high amounts of fibre.

What you need to serve a group as a mezze or delicious kebab:
1 big bunch of parsley (I prefer curly for tabouli), large stems removed and the rest finely chopped
1 small bunch of mint, leaves removed and finely chopped
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1/3 cup fine cracked bulgur
2 tsp ground cumin
Juice of 1 large lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

How to make it:
Mix the bulgur and cumin in a bowl and cover generously with water. Let sit for 45 minutes and add more water if necessary as the bulgur expands. While the bulgur is resting, add parsley, mint, tomatoes and spring onion to a large bowl. Mix together the lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper then add to the parsley mixture. Drain the bulgur, add to the parsley mixture and mix well. Set aside to allow the flavours to develop while you prepare the rest of your mezze.

Make it naughty: enjoy it with some grilled halloumi - yum!

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