After this past National Tabouleh day contest in Beirut’s souk el tayeb, where tabboulehs of all stripes were entered, including a lovely one with pink geranium petals, I thought I would introduce my version of winter tabbouleh.
Tabbouleh is the national salad of Lebanon and our pride and joy; unfortunately most often than not misrepresented abroad. It is supposed to be a showcase of a typical Lebanese kitchen garden’s bounty, with the main ingredient being parsley, then mint, tomatoes, onion and then, a very timid sprinkle of fine bulgur. In France, however, tabboulé is often made with couscous, not bulgur, and has almost no parsley!
Question: Do you think that a traditional dish needs to be made according to strict parameters, forever?
This winter version of tabbouleh uses shredded cabbage, chick peas, a sprinkling of dried mint, onion and the usual lemon and olive oil dressing. It is crunchy, lemony, hearty and light at the same time.
- 1 avocado
- 2 cups of shredded cabbage
- 1/4 cup of bulgur
- 1 cup of chick peas
- 1/4 cup of minced shallots or red onion
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced and mashed with a teaspoon of salt
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/3 cup (or more) of olive oil
- 2 Tablespoon of sumac
- 2 Tablespoon of ground dried mint
- Shred the cabbage very fine and place in a large bowl. Peel the chick peas and place in the bowl with the cabbage. Pour very hot water over the bulgur in a small bowl and let the grains swell for 10 minutes or so until tender. Drain the bulgur of its water, pressing on the sieve to extract all the remaining water. Place the bulgur in the bowl with the cabbage and chick peas.
- Peel the cloves of garlic and mince; place in a mortar with a pinch of salt and pound till the garlic and salt form a paste. Transfer the garlic paste to a small bowl and add the juice of a lemon and the olive oil as well as the sumac and mint. Whisk vigorously and transfer to the salad bowl. Mix all the ingredients. When ready to serve, cut the avocado in half and remove seed and peel. Sprinkle the avocado with lemon and cut in slices, garnishing the salad with it.