Homemade Tabbouleh is fresh, light and full of flavor. This finely chopped middle-eastern salad recipe is the perfect side salad whether your serving a middle eastern dish or just want to switch things up!
On the day in which I’m writing this, we’re just a couple years out from my family’s quadrennial reunion. We all gather at my Great Uncle John’s house in the hills of western North Carolina – about 30 minutes from anything. It’s peaceful, picturesque and full of amazing food.
We all look forward to the Saturday night Syrian food feast. After all, all 100+ of us who gather grew up rolling meat stuffed grape leaves with Tzatziki sauce, alongside all sorts of lamb recipes. This feast features lamb in all sorts of ways. The pre-mentioned grape leaves, kibbeh (cooked seasoned lamb balls, kibbeneah (raw seasoned lamb – delicious!), Syrian string cheese (an absolute delicacy) and of course, homemade tabbouleh.
Homemade Tabbouleh Tips and Tricks
Homemade tabbouleh is the perfect middle eastern side dish, while you indulge in your third variety of lamb. And it doesn’t stop there. Serve it alongside any meal as a cool and delicious variety of salad. It’s not hard to make, it just takes a little patience to do correctly. Leave the food processor on the shelf and grab your best chef’s knife as you chop each piece smaller and smaller. The longer and smaller you chop each piece, the better this bad boy comes out. There’s a reason many people know this as patience salad.
- You want normal parsley for this, not Italian. The texture of the leaves will pick up a your dressing better. Meanwhile, the flat leaves of Italian parsley can almost turn watery when chopped too thin.
- You want to master the rock-and-chop method for this. To do this, hold your chef’s knife by the handle with your dominant hand. Meanwhile, place your opposite hand flat atop the blade about 3 quarters down the blade. Using the opposite hand to hold the end of the blade against the board while chopping up and down with your dominant hand. As you chop, use the blade to sweep your veggies back into a pile and keep chopping. The video below from Jamie Oliver walks you through technique.
Let’s make Homemade Tabbouleh
Before you get started, place bulgar in a small bowl and add water until water covers it by an inch. Cover with towel and set aside at room temp. The bulgar will soak up the water, soften and expand.
There are two types of people in this world, people who know how to make Tabbouleh the best way and people who use a food processor. Don’t be the food processor type. The texture of your tabbouleh will be too watery and you’ll destroy the ridged edges of your parsley leaves. Grab your best chef’s knife and use the rock-and-chop technique explained above.
Begin by chopping your parsley one bunch at a time until chopped very finely. I chop until the parsley is the size of short-grain rice. It typically takes me about 5 minutes per punch using the rock and chop method. When you’re done with each bunch, transfer it to a mixing bowl.
Next, finely dice red onion and place in small bowl covered and cover with cold water. The water bath will both save your eyes from burning and take away some of the extra bite from the onion. Place in fridge.
Then, finely dice tomato. I do mine by first slicing it in the same technique I dice an onion. Then, I chop it more using the rock-and-chop method. Add to mixing bowl.
Lastly, we want to dice your English cucumber. Begin by peeling the onion and chopping off and discarding the very ends. Next, cut the cucumber in half horizontally. Then, slice each half into long narrow strips. Then, turn your chef’s knife vertically and dice into very small pieces. Add to mixing bowl.
Homemade Tabbouleh – The Final Steps
Remove onion from mixing bowl and drain water using a mesh strainer. Add to mixing bowl. Uncover Bulgar and feel to make sure it’s turned from grainy and course to soft and fluffy. Add to mixing bowl.
Juice lemon into bowl and zest onion peel into bowl as well. Drizzle with olive oil and mix well. This can be made up to a day in advance, though I recommend only dressing it with lemon juice and olive oil just before serving.
- 2 bunches fresh parsley
- 1 lemon
- 1 to mato
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 english cucumber
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup fine bulgar cracked wheat
- Place bulgar in bowl and cover with an inch of water. Cover bowl with towel and let rest at room temperature for at lest 1/2 hour, unti all water is soaked up.
- Chop parsley well and place in mixing bowl.
- Finely dice red onion and place in separate small bowl. Cover with water and place in fridge to help remove some acid (and save your eyes!)
- Dice tomato and cucumber finely and place in bowl.
- Strain red onion though mesh strainer, then add to bowl.
- Check bulgar to make sure it's soaked water and is soft and fluffy. Add to mixing bowl.
- Juice lemon into bowl.
- Next, using a microplace grater, zest lemon peel into bowl.
- Drizzle with olive oil and mix well.
- Can be made up to a day in advance, but only dress with lemon juice and olive oil immediately before serving to avoid it turning soggy.