To give our tabbouleh bold flavor, we soak the bulgur in juice we drain from the tomatoes instead of plain water.
SERVES 4 to 6 VEG
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Tabbouleh is a signature Levantine salad made of bulgur, parsley, tomato, and onion steeped in a penetrating mint and lemon dressing. We started by salting the tomatoes to rid them of excess moisture that otherwise made our salad soggy. Soaking the bulgur in lemon juice and some of the drained tomato liquid, rather than in water, allowed it to absorb lots of flavor as it softened. Chopped onion overwhelmed the salad; two mild scallions added just the right amount of oniony flavor. Parsley, mint, and a bit of cayenne pepper rounded out the dish. Adding the herbs and vegetables while the bulgur was still soaking gave the components time to mingle, resulting in a cohesive dish. Don’t confuse bulgur with cracked wheat, which has a much longer cooking time and will not work in this recipe.
3 tomatoes, cored and cut into ½-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
½ cup medium-grind bulgur, rinsed
¼ cup lemon juice (2 lemons)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1½ cups minced fresh parsley
½ cup minced fresh mint
2 scallions, sliced thin
1. Toss tomatoes with ¼ teaspoon salt in fine-mesh strainer set over bowl and let drain, tossing occasionally, for 30 minutes; reserve 2 tablespoons drained tomato juice. Toss bulgur with 2 tablespoons lemon juice and reserved tomato juice in bowl and let sit until grains begin to soften, 30 to 40 minutes.
2. Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, oil, cayenne, and ¼ teaspoon salt together in large bowl. Add tomatoes, bulgur, parsley, mint, and scallions and toss gently to combine. Cover and let sit at room temperature until flavors have blended and bulgur is tender, about 1 hour. Before serving, toss salad to recombine and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spiced Tabbouleh VEG
Add ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon ground allspice to dressing with cayenne.