I know many of you are enjoying the first wisps of fall. You’re hunkering down with a warm bowl of soup and your favorite over-sized sweater, but I’m in South Florida and the mercury is still hovering in the upper 80s here. On the weekends, when Scott is manning the grill and the pool beckons, I’d rather not spend the day tied to a stove, so I usually opt for something quick, easy and light. A dish that goes with anything the grill-master is making.
Something like this tasty tabbouleh salad. I mean, Inauthentic Tabbouleh. It’s inauthentic because real tabbouleh is so chock full of herbs that there’s barely room for the cracked wheat – and frankly authentic tabbouleh to me, is more like eating grass than salad. Plus a real tabbouleh doesn’t have tasty things like crunchy cucumbers or briny kalamata olives and chunks of salty feta cheese.
I know – it’s not the real thing, but that’s the way I like it! The best part about this tabbouleh, authentic or not, is that the only actual cooking, is boiling the water for the cracked wheat. Seriously. Pour the boiling water over the bulgur wheat and cover with plastic wrap for about 15 minutes, or until it’s tender. Strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove any excess water and cool the wheat to room temperature. While it’s cooling, make the dressing and chop up the veg and feta.
A bright, lemony vinaigrette (which takes about 5 minutes to make) is an easy way to amp up the flavors in this salad. That and fresh herbs.
I use parsley, fresh mint and basil – but not as much as you’d normally find in a tabbouleh salad, about 1/3 cup each. Serve this chilled or at room temperature – it goes great with grilled seafood, chicken, pork or lamb!
For the dressing
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- zest of one lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
For the tabbouleh
- 1 cup medium grind bulgur wheat
- 2 1/2 cups water
- juice of one lemon use the same lemon used for the dressing
- 1/2 English cucumber sliced vertically and cut into thin half moons
- 5-6 Campari tomatoes can use halved grape tomatoes or chopped roma, cut into bite sized wedges
- 4 ounces feta cheese cut into small cubes
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives seeded and roughly chopped
- 3 green onions white and green parts, sliced thinly
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
In a small bowl, combine the minced garlic, dijon, vinegar, lemon zest, salt, pepper and olive oil. Whisk to emulsify and set aside.
Bring the water to a boil. Place the dry bulgur wheat into a bowl. When the water boils pour it over the bulgur and cover with saran wrap. Set aside for 15 minutes to absorb the water.
Pour the bulgur into a fine mesh sieve and set over the bowl to drain any excess water for 5 minutes. Transfer the bulgur to a large mixing bowl and add the lemon juice. Toss to combine.
Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, feta, kalamata olives, green onions, parsley, basil and mint. Add the dressing and toss until well combined. Can be eaten immediately, but the flavors will come together more if it has an hour for two to rest. Can be eaten chilled or at room temperature.