Anytime you look into my fridge and not find at least three bunches of cleaned and arranged parsley, there’s something wrong. This is probably the one item, well that and tomatoes and lemons, that I can’t live without. There are so many things to do with parsley – mix it with ground meat to make kafta, chop it for a parsley, onions, tomatoes and sumac salad, use it for fattoush, add it in my son’s smoothie (more on that subject coming soon), and of course the Lebanese national salad: Tabbouleh! also spelled Tabooli, Tabbouli or Tabouli. It’s become a stable on most American ethnic menus out there. With such variations as Quinoa Tabbouleh, Couscous Tabbouleh, Yes and even Almond Tabbouleh.
So, are you still interested to make it? Look, it’s easy. The best advice to give you is to use a very sharp knife to avoid bruising the herbs and make the job much much easier. I personally prefer using a kyocera knife, because it cuts through a whole bunch of parsley with minimal pressure.
And my favorite way to eat the salad is scooping it in lettuce leaves or endive. I’m about to get up and make another bowl (hmm, it’s midnight. Definitely tomorrow).
3 bunches parsley, cleaned and arranged and finely chopped
1 small bunch fresh mint, leaves only, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely diced
4 large tomatoes, finely diced
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp sweet pepper (found at Mediterranean stores)
1/2 tsp white pepper
*1/4 cup brown cracked wheat or fine bulgur ( optional if you can tolerate gluten)
*Place the cracked wheat in a bowl, and cover with water and set aside. This will rehydrate the wheat to soften it and will avoid losing all the juices to the wheat and making the salad dry.
To arrange the parsley, remove the tie, then arrange the leaves side by side like a bouquet of freshly picked flowers. By doing this, it maximizes the usage of the parsley and avoids the use of the stems as much as possible. Once the whole bunch is arranged, tie it around with a rubber band or the tie that was originally used. That will keep it together until you’re ready to chop. Remember to slide the knife onto the herbs only once.
For the mint, pick the leaves and arrange in a pile, then chop finely. Dice the tomatoes and onion. Place all vegetables in a large bowl, drain the bulgur, squeeze out excess water in the palm of your hands, then add to the bowl. Add everything else and toss gently and until well incorporate. Chill for 30 minutes prior to serving.