The secret to good tabbouleh is very simple: don’t cook the bulgar. What’s the catch? You have to make it 24 hours in advance. The bulgar marinates in the juices of everything else, making for an especially flavorful dish.
Every time I make this recipe, I’m convinced it will fail: the bulgar won’t open up, I won’t have this dish, tragedy will ensue, etc. Every time, it is absolutely delicious.
Credit to my mom for teaching me this one.
Recipe for Tabbouleh
- fresh tomatoes, diced
- bulgar wheat
- lots and lots of fresh parsley, chopped finely
- scallions or green onions, chopped finely
- lemon juice
- olive oil
- kosher (or coarse) salt & ground pepper
In terms of quantity, I used about 12 pounds of tomatoes, seven cups of bulgar, 5 or 6 bunches of parsley, and 1 bunch of scallions (you can use more if you like it to be more onion-y). This made for about 16 quarts of tabbouleh, though, so scale down unless you intend to do enough for a party!
Method: Take out a large tupperware container that has a good-fitting lid. Layer enough bulgar so the bottom of the container is evenly covered. (It should not be fully covered.) Sprinkle diced tomatoes over the bulgar. Sprinkle chopped scallions. Sprinkle parsley. Add salt & pepper. Then, drizzle the whole layer with olive oil and lemon juice.
Repeat until container is mostly full or you are out of bulgar.
Marinate 24 hours in fridge. If you can, turn the container upside-down halfway through so that the juices can seep in the other direction. About four hours before the event, taste and adjust seasoning. I found that mine needed more lemon juice and more salt and pepper.
- This is a great dish to make with friends (because there’s so much chopping to do) or kids (because you really can’t mess up the layering part).
- In terms of cheaper dishes, this one is pretty reasonable, especially if you have access to a lot of free parsley or an excess of tomatoes. (Start planning now for next year’s garden!)
- Unfortunately, I found that, this time, my tabbouleh really didn’t keep more than about 24 hours after I served it. This might have been due to its size, not sure.