Elias Abusaba, our dear friend and a remarkable poet, would make us his version of Lebanese tabbouleh every time he and Mary Edith came to dinner. Nothing could compare to his. After he died, I was on my own and have tried my best to duplicate his wonderful salad, although I must confess (please forgive me, Elias) I don’t chop the parsley, green onions, and mint by hand. In memory of Elias…
½ cup bulgur (cracked wheat)
Juice of 1-2 lemons equaling about 6 tablespoons
3 Romas or other tomatoes, seeded, juiced, and chopped (you want about 2 cups chopped), see instructions if you need them
Note: Romas are pretty good during the winter—but are certainly not local. You can also use sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, thinly sliced.
2 cups chopped parsley (1½-2 bunches) using a food processor
½ cup chopped green onions (4-5 green onions) using a food processor
½ cup chopped mint, using a food processor
1 tablespoon dried mint
½ cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced, see instructions if you need them
Pinch of allspice, optional
Pinch of cinnamon, optional
½ teaspoon cumin, optional
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
Lettuce for serving
1. Soak the bulgur in 2 cups water for 20 minutes. Squeeze well with your hands, removing as much moisture as you can.
2. Put in a bowl and add the lemon juice and tomatoes. Let sit for 30-45 minutes to absorb the liquid or until the grain is tender.
3. Add the parsley, green onions, fresh and dried mint, cucumber, spices, if desired, salt, pepper and oil. Mix well.
4. Just before serving, taste for seasonings. Adjust as needed. You can serve the salad on a bed of greens or use the leaves to scoop it up.
A combination of two recipes: Cassie Maroun-Paladin’s Foods of the Lebanon and Claudia Roden’s The New Book of Middle Eastern Food