Grainy, herby, tomatoey, lemony tabbouleh is a first-class side dish for warm weather meals. It comes from the mountains of Syria and Lebanon originally, and has become a popular mezze all over the Arab world. We love it too, and one of the first things we did when we made our homemade spelt bulgur was treat ourselves to a big bowl of spelt tabbouleh.
With no meat in the recipe, spelt tabbouleh is definitely vegetarian friendly. The story goes that when tabbouleh and other vegetable-based mezze were introduced to cooks in Baghdad, they made fun of the Syrian and Lebanese cooks for being too cheap to buy meat!
Spelt tabbouleh is great served with a basket of nice, fresh warm spelt pita breads.
Spelt Tabbouleh RecipePrep Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 6 servings
- ¼ cup fine spelt bulgur
- 1 small garlic clove, minced (optional)
- Juice of 2 large lemons, to taste
- 3 cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (from 3 large bunches)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
- ½ pound ripe tomatoes, very finely chopped
- 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
- Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 romaine lettuce heart, leaves separated, washed and dried
- Place the spelt bulgur in a bowl, and cover with water by 1/2 inch. Soak for 20 minutes, until slightly softened. Drain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer, and press the spelt bulgur against the strainer to squeeze out excess water.
- Transfer to a large bowl, and toss with the garlic, lemon juice, parsley, mint, tomatoes, scallions and salt.
- Leave at room temperature or in the refrigerator for two to three hours, so that the spelt bulgur can continue to absorb liquid and swell.
- Add the olive oil, toss together, taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with lettuce leaves.
Adapted from The New York Times