Bulgar. Sounds obscene, but it's just a grain. Not the cheapest one, I might add, but it was something different from rice or quinoa and still adds that nutty texture you're looking for with a side like tabbouleh. The fun thing about it is, much like couscous, you simply put the bulgar in a bowl, boil some water, and measure the right amount onto the grain, and let it sit for an hour till it fluffs up! A no nonsense prep- I like it.
This recipe is kind of a long time coming. I'll be honest - I made this dish over a month ago when Mom was visiting. She ate it and said "I need this recipe!" but I didn't have anything to give her. I looked up a few recipes on tabbouleh but ended up using the one on the back of Bob's Red Mill bulgar package as a guide. I ended up doubling the amount of bulgar as this was going to be the main starch of our meal. I was happy with my twist on the Levantine tradition, and I think my mom was too. =)
OOH! I also learned that there's a National Tabbouleh Day. Guess this stuff is celebrated around the world. Happy end of summer!
What you need:
For the tabbouleh
2 cups uncooked bulgar
2 cups boiling water
3 cups grape tomatoes, washed and quartered
1/2 red onion
4 small Persian cucumbers, washed, seeded, and cubed
2 stalks green onion, chopped
1 lemon juiced
1 bunch parsley, washed and chopped
1 glug olive oil
a few shakes salt
a few cranks pepper
Place your bulgar in a large mixing bowl. Boil 2 cups of water and pour over the grain. Let it rest and get fluffy for an hour.
While the bulgar is "cooking," prepare your veggies. It's best to chop them into bite sized pieces. Dice the red onion, quarter your tomatoes, chop your green onion, and mince the parsley. For the cucumbers, I would suggest slicing them in half lengthwise, then in half lengthwise again (so you have 4 long spears) and then run your knife along the length of the cucumber and chop as you go (making little cubes like the photo above). Another tip is to place a paper towel under the cucumbers once they're chopped and salting them to extract the moisture. Before adding to the bulgar, be sure to pat them dry.
To see if your bulgar is "cooked", fluff it with your fork to check all the water has been absorbed. If so, add all your veggies to the bowl and lightly mix. Then squeeze the juice of a lemon, pour in a healthy glug of olive oil, and add a few shakes of salt and cranks of pepper to your liking. The mixture shouldn't be wet, but light and combined nicely. Top with a little fresh parsley as a fancy garnish if you're feeling like it ;) Or, just gobble it all up!
Serving suggestion: Bulgar tabbouleh with tzatziki, falafel, baba ghanoush, some butter pickles (for a refreshing zing), and a squirt of sriracha (for some heat).