Okay, I admit it. The main reason that parsley exists for me on the planet is for tabouli. I always considered the parsley on the plate as decorative. So when I tried this at a friend’s house I have to say I was surprised. Then addicted. Besides the obvious and critical component of finely chopped parsley, the core of this dish is a processed form of wheat, called bulgur. There are numerous tabouli recipes, this is just one.
Bulgur wheat dates back several thousand years. Because the wheat was dried in the sun, it resisted mold and stored well for long periods of time; making it a survival food during famine. The ancient process is still used in some parts of the Mediterranean. The fresh wheat is boiled in pots until fully cooked (this can take more than a day on some cases), then it’s spread out on rooftops to dry in the baking sun. Finally, when the moisture content is near zero, the wheat kernels are cracked into pieces and sorted by sieving into different sizes for different uses.
Today, the bulgur you buy is processed using modern methods, but the nutritional value is still that of a whole cereal grain.
1 cup raw bulgur wheat…try to find medium or course grain; fine grain is too heavy and isn’t good for Tabouli.
20 to 25 sprigs parsley; finely minced; including stems
10 large radishes, diced
1/2 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup California Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon pepper
2 tomatoes, diced
2 medium onions, diced
Rinse wheat. Pour enough boiling water over it to cover by 1 inch. Let stand for half an hour, or until wheat is light and fluffy. What you are doing is rehydrating your dehydrated wheat. Drain off excess water in a colander, then squeeze with your hands to remove whatever water you can.
Mix with your chopped veggies, add lime juice, oil and spices.
I serve with warmed pita bread.