Tabbouleh – sunshine on a plate

Tabbouleh - sunshine on a plate

Tabbouleh – sunshine on a plate

For me, tabbouleh is the taste of a fresh summers day, something that is always welcomed in my native Glasgow! The key thing to remember is that it’s a herb salad which contains some bulgur wheat, as opposed to bulgur wheat with a few herbs in it, so don’t stint on the parsley. This is where a greengrocer or ethnic supermarket comes in handy – the quantities of herbs required work out far cheaper than buying multiple small packets of the kind you find in most UK supermarkets.

My tabbouleh differs from the Lebanese version mainly through the use of coarse as opposed to fine bulgur wheat – I prefer the nutty bite this gives my tabbouleh, but you can use either. If you do opt for fine bulgur – omit the soaking in boiling water, & just rinse a few times in cold water before leaving to drain in a fine sieve.

Try & make this a few hours before serving as well, as it gives the flavours a chance to mingle & improve.

Serves 4

100g coarse bulgur wheat
200ml boiling water
Large bunch of flat leaf parsley (150 – 200g).
Small bunch of mint (50g)
400g tomatoes
5 spring onions

For the dressing:
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, crushed
½ tsp salt
A decent grind of pepper
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp allspice
½ tsp runny honey


Place the bulgur wheat in a large shallow bowl, pour over the boiling water & mix well. Leave to stand for 20 minutes, after which the water should have been mainly soaked up.

Taste the bulgur – you are looking for something like a very al dente pasta (it will soften further in the tabbouleh). If too hard, add a bit more boiling water & leave for a further 10 minutes. Drain in a sieve & leave to cool.

Wash & shake dry the parsley & mint. Using a sharp knife, remove most of the stalks off the parsley & chop as finely as you can. For the mint, pick the leaves from the stems & again chop as finely as you can. Place both in a large serving bowl.

Finely slice the spring onion & finely dice the tomato – as a size guide, if I were using cherry tomatoes I’d cut them into 8. Add both (including the tomato juices) to the herbs.

Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients & shaking / mixing well.

Add the bulgur wheat to the bowl, & pour over the dressing. Mix well, cover, & leave in the fridge / a cool place for a few hours (or even overnight) to allow the flavours to mingle.

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