For a dish that wasn’t even in the English language until the 1950s (source: Cupboard Love, 2nd Ed.: A Dictionary of Culinary Curiosities, Morton), tabbouleh sure is popular today. Most recipes, however, use bulgur as the main ingredient. Don’t get me wrong, I like bulgur and think it’s one of my favorite grains, but when I make tabbouleh, I want it to be plant-based. This is why I was super-excited to find Anissa Helou’s recipe on David Lebovitz’s blog (those are to pretty stellar references) . Not only does she provide a wonderful parsley/mint-based recipe, but also describes her experiences growing up in Lebanon around the dish:
“When I lived in Beirut, our supply came from my mother’s uncle who had olive groves in the Chouf mountains. He picked his own olives and never left the press while they were being pressed to make sure they didn’t mix his oil with an inferior one.“
I thought it might be difficult to live up to such a tradition and decided to play it by ear after reading the recipe over two times (mainly because I don’t have a food scale and have no idea how much 400g of parsley would be). At first I was really worried, espescially about the bulgur, but as I started to throw the tomatoes and spices into the mint and parsley I said, “holy cow, it looks like tabbouleh!!”
I served the non-vegan option with some merguez (beef/lamb) sausages and for my version, I enjoyed the tabbouleh on toast with some carrots and hummus.
mint, parsley, all spice and cinnamon
+tomatoes and bulgur (maybe too much)
final result – yum!!