California Tabouilli



  • 1 C Bulgar wheat / Couscous
  • 1 C boiling water
  • 1 bu green onion
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 bu parsley
  • 2 - 3 tomatoes, nice and firm
  • Mint - carefully chosen
  • 1/2 C olive oil
  • 1/2 C lemon juice
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1/4 t salt

Hand chop all ingredients, the flavour and texture will make it worth the inconvenience.

  1. Pour Bulgar wheat / Couscous into air tight refrigerator container.
  2. Pour boiling water onto the wheat, swish around so all wheat gets nice and well mixed with water. Cover and let sit for 1/2 hour or so, until wheat is well cooked, and dry.
  3. Wash and thoroughly dry parsley, onions, tomatoes, mint.
  4. Separate parsley flowers from stalks, chop flowers well.
  5. Chop onions well.
  6. Chop tomatoes as small as you can get without being mushy.
  7. Chop mint (sorted, and cleaned) as small as you can get.
  8. Peel, then chop cucumber as small as you can get.
  9. Fluff cooked wheat up, scrape off bottom of dish, combine vegetables with wheat, mix well.
  10. Combine lemon juice, oil, salt, pepper in shaker, shake well, pour over salad mixture, mix well.
  11. Cover air tight, and refrigerate.
  12. Keep it cool, and eat it fast. Fortunately, eating it fast is not hard - or unhealthy.

Buying, Extracting, and Sorting Mint

Mint is the key ingredient in the tabouilli, so get the best possible.
Grade the mint in the store before buying:

  • A Grade: If you get to the herb counter and smell the mint before you see it, you have A Grade. Buy 1 bunch.
  • A- Grade: If the air smells of it as you pick it up, it's A-. Buy 2 bunches.
  • B Grade: If you pick it up, and your fingers stink from it, it's B. Buy 2 of the best bunches.
  • B- Grade: If you wave it around, and it smells sort of good, it's B-. Buy the 2 absolutely best bunches on the shelf. Then go to another store, and look for some better too. Buy at least 1 more bunch at another store.
  • C Grade: Anything less is C Grade. If this is the second (or third store) buy 2 or 3 bunches of C Grade, and prepare to sort leaves. If this is the first store, buy the 1 absolutely best bunch, then go elsewhere for another 2 bunches.
  • If you cannot get better than C grade, and it looks like you may have to buy 4 or 5 bunches and sort them, maybe it's not a good week for Tabouilli. Unless your audience is set on having Tabouilli, maybe you should consider another offering, like Cabbage / Mushroom / Shrimp / Tofu Salad. Don't serve substandard Tabouilli.

Bag the mint immediately, before putting it in the shopping cart. I carry a couple 1 gallon zip loc storage bags when I go shopping, and squeeze all the air out of the bag, before sealing it. Obviously you have to prepared to tell the cashier what it is. If there is a product tag on the mint, try to bag so the tag is visible without opening.

When you get home, separate and sort the leaves. Break the leaves off, cleanly, from the stalks. The best leaves are 2 - 3" long, and crisp. Not limp, not thick and heavy. Thin and crisp. You will want the best leaves, and you will want enough to fill a 2 quart mixing bowl to the top, without being packed down - just tossed in while sorting.

If you bought 3 or 4 bunches, sort into 2 bowls, put the not so good leaves into a second bowl. If you don't get enough top quality leaves to fill the first bowl, add not so good leaves, but try to fill 1 1/2 - 2 bowls, total, with those.

Wash the leaves, gently, in cold running water. Drain well, then spin dry in a salad spinner. Repeatedly spin, until no water comes out. The dryer the better.
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