Tabbouleh with Cilantro and Feta
Adapted from Ina Garten’s tabouleh recipe
If you’ve never had Tabbouleh, it’s a middle Eastern salad made with cracked wheat (bulgur), tomato, cucumber, parsley, lemon and mint. It does NOT typically have cilantro or feta, but I happened to have a bunch of cilantro (and no parsley) and feta on hand so I made it with cilantro and topped with crumbled feta … oh yes. SO good!
A while ago (I’m not sure exactly how long ago it was …), I was having lunch in a Mediterranean restaurant where they had a little store attached to the restaurant. Little ethnic food stores just fascinate me, so while my friends were paying for their lunch, I wandered through to see what they had in their store and I found several treasures, one of them being a bag of bulghur. I knew I had a reason I wanted bulgur, but I couldn’t quite remember why … I grabbed the bag and took it up to the counter to purchase, took it home and put it in my cupboard and there it sat.
The next day I went to work and overheard a funny comment in the break room: “Who even buys bulgur anymore?!?” someone exclaimed as I was walking out of the room. I smiled to myself and thought “I do!” and went quietly on my way …
Fast forward to summertime and our annual camping trip at the Folk Festival where we always meet my friend and she ALWAYS brings tabbouleh and hummus. Usually she gives me some of the tabbouleh to take home with me and this year was no exception. I gobbled it up and then wanted more and then wondered to myself: why have I never made tabbouleh? Suddenly the synapses in my mind fired and I remembered the bag of bulgur. I pulled it out, googled a recipe for tabbouleh and began making my first tabbouleh. As usual, I couldn’t follow the recipe, so mine is a bit of a twist on the traditional, but I think it’s just perfect. Maybe I should bring the tabbouleh next year? Nah, I’ll probably let her do it, but I’ll be making this one at home.
- 1 cup bulgur (wheat), uncooked
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups chopped English cucumber
- 2 cups fresh garden (or grape) tomato, chopped (or put 1 cup in the salad and top with 1 cup chopped tomato at serving time)
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped mint leaves
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions or green onions
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro (mix or replace with parsley if you prefer)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine (optional)
- Juice of 1 - 2 lemons (to taste)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 - 3 Tablespoons chopped feta cheese (if desired)
- Fresh garden tomato, chopped
- Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
- Put the bulgur in a medium mixing bowl. Bring water and salt to a boil and pour over the bulgur. Stir in the olive oil. Cover and let sit for 1 - 2 hours or until the wheat is cracked and has absorbed most of the water.
- If any water remains in the bottom of the bowl after the bulgur is cracked and soft, use a strainer to strain out the excess.
- Stir in the rest of the ingredients except the feta and tomatoes for the top. Top with feta and extra chopped tomato at serving time and garnish with mint leaves.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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