Israel is well known for growing gorgeous vegetables. Situated between the Mediterranean’s generous seasonal rainfall and the Middle East’s scorching heat, it’s the perfect location for growing delicious fresh produce.
An abundance of beautiful vegetables means that Middle Easterners make some truly exceptional salads. Many of the region’s cultures have interchanged ideas through the years: that’s why Tunisian shakshuka and Iraqi sabich are Israeli mainstays. Tabbouleh is no different: originally Lebanese, it has become a staple on every Israeli table.
Contrary to popular belief, tabbouleh is not a grain salad. Although cracked wheat kernels – also known as bulgur – feature, they’re not the star here. Nope… humble parsley takes front and centre stage in this delicious Middle Eastern side.
Serve as a starter with soft pitta or crunchy lettuce leaves to scoop up morsels of this super salad. Or, use as a fresh side to accompany a light meal like grilled chicken.
To make a tabbouleh a Mideast mamma would be proud of, you need:
- 1 cup of flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, washed and dried
- A few sprigs of mint
- 50g dried fine or extra tabbouleh (cracked wheat)
- 1 cucumber (best type is English/hothouse – thin skinned with few seeds)
- 1 cup ripe cherry tomatoes
- 1 lemon
- A few tablespoons of good-quality olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- (Finely sliced spring onions to taste – optional)
- Pour boiling water over the tabbouleh; cover tightly and allow to sit
- Finely shred, then finely chop, the parsley and mint
- Finely dice cucumber (remove seeds if necessary)
- Quarter the cherry tomatoes lengthways, then in half across
- Time to combine! Gently mix all the leaves, vegetables, and wheat together. Dress generously with freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, and seasoning. Enjoy!