Loaded with tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers and more, this Very Veggie Tabbouleh recipe is a quick and easy side dish perfect for spring and summer cook-outs.
I vividly remember the first time I tried tabbouleh. I was 18, and had just moved to the city (New York, that is) for college. That semester I was at Fordham University at Lincoln Center (I transferred second semester to Barnard uptown), . It was a fabulous location, near so much interesting stuff — to my 18-year-old self, at least. One afternoon, I popped over to a local market and decided to skip the little tub of couscous salad I’d fallen in love with in favor of something with a name I couldn’t pronounce (it was tabbouleh, which I now can pronounce) that looked similar and interesting.
Now, I totally wish I could say that I took one bite and fell in love. But the truth is that I didn’t — at all. In fact, the flavors and textures of the tabbouleh were so far from what I was expecting that I intensely disliked it. For years, I totally avoided tabbouleh and cringed at its mere mention. But, as things do, something changed. Perhaps it was something special about the little tub of tabbouleh that comes with the falafel platter I’ve had more times than I can count when leaving Grand Central. Or maybe it was the discovery that tabbouleh + hummus + falafel in a pita is pure heaven.
Whatever the case, I love it now and eat tabbouleh often — usually as part of my lunch.
If you haven’t made it before, don’t worry — it’s pretty easy. It begins with bulgur wheat, which I found in the rice aisle at my local grocery store. Simply combine it with boiling water and salt, cover and let it sit for 30 minutes. The bulgur will soften and cook. Drain off any excess water when it’s done.
Then you just need to toss it with veggies, lemon juice and olive oil. Season as desired. And that’s it! It’s ready to be enjoyed. But a word to the wise: the flavor of tabbouleh is good on the first day and even better on day two — so it’s good to make this in advance.
- 1 cup bulgur wheat
- 1½ cups boiling water
- 1½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups fresh diced tomato
- 1 cup fresh diced cucumber
- 1 cup fresh diced red bell pepper
- 1 cup fresh minced Italian parsley
- ½ cup fresh diced red onion
- 1 lemon, juiced (about ¼ cup)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Additional salt and pepper, as desired
- Place the bulgur wheat in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Pour the boiling water over. Cover the bowl and let sit for 30 minutes. Drain, as needed.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cooked bulgur wheat, tomato, cucumber, red bell pepper, parsley and red onion until well-combined. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil and toss well to combine.
- Taste, and adjust seasoning as desired.
- This can be served immediately or chilled for later. The flavor only gets better with age.