recipe + photography BILLY DOUKAS

Tabouli is the most versatile salad I know. In fact, it gets better as it sits with time, works well at room temperatures and never ever wilts. Some folks will be able to make this staple, flavorful Levantine dish almost entirely from their own garden and there’s plenty of room for improvisation depending on the pickings!

Serves 8
Total time: 60 minutes

3 fresh tomatoes, cored, seeded and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ cup bulgur wheat (#1 fine)
3 small fresh cucumbers
1 cup fresh curly parsley (1 bunch), chopped fine
3 fresh scallions (whites and greens), cut into ¼-inch lengths
⅛ teaspoon cayenne or Aleppo pepper
½  teaspoon black pepper
4 teaspoons honey
4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Optional: 6 fresh radishes, chopped medium

Place chopped tomatoes in a fine mesh strainer sprinkled with ½ teaspoon of salt and set over a bowl to collect the liquid. Toss occasionally over 30 minutes, add lemon juice and bulgur wheat to the bowl. Allow to soak while preparing the vegetables.

Peel cucumbers, cut lengthwise and using a melon baller, remove the center pulp and seeds, and discard. Lay halves on the flat side on a cutting board and cut strips ¼-inch wide; then cut transversely until chunks are roughly ¼ x ¼ inch.

Remove stems from parsley and chop fine. Cut scallions into ¼-inch length pieces. Trim and cut radishes into halves and chop roughly into ¼-inch pieces.

Combine bulgur wheat, cucumber, tomato, parsley, radish, olive oil and scallions into a large mixing bowl. Mix gently while adding ½ teaspoon salt, cayenne, black pepper and honey.

Taste a little of the tabouli; add spices or honey to fine tune your preferred flavor. The texture can also be tweaked with a little added oil (or lemon depending on how wet or dry you like it). Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least an hour allowing flavors to mingle and then recombine before serving with pita or flatbread.

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