I adore Ina Garten. I worship her recipes, show, taste, and wit. Did I mention that I am enamored with her recipes? They are precise, easy-to-follow, and yield immensely satisfying results. Her vanilla ice cream? Do die for. Her roasted chicken? Hells yea, it's good.
My favorite Ina Garten recipe is her take on tabbouleh, a fresh, cleansing, and uplifting parsley salad from Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. Ina's version is amazingly delicious, although, not entirely as parsley-dense as the versions that you find in Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean restaurants.
To make a more traditional (or more "restaurant-like") tabbouleh than Ina's version, (1) cut the portions of boiling water and medium grain bulghur wheat in half, (2) chop and add an additional bunch of flat-leaf parsley, and (3) also add a tsp of cumin or a pinch of allspice. You should definitely try her recipe, but check out my slightly adapted version, here.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Parties!
1/2 cup medium-grain bulghur wheat (grains should be this size, look at the fifth picture down)
3/4 cup boiling water
juice from 2 lemons
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 bunches of flat-leaf parsley
1 bunch (not one sprig) of scallions
1 bunch of fresh mint
3 medium tomatoes
1 tsp cumin, or a pinch of allspice
salt, to taste
In a large lidded pot, combine all of the liquid ingredients (the hot water, lemon juice, olive oil), the cumin, and the bulghur wheat. Immediately cover the pot, and set aside.
Finely chop the parsley, scallions, and mint, discarding the brown leaves and stems. Add the parsley, scallions, and mint to the bulghur wheat mixture.
Next, peel and cut the cucumber into small dices, and core and similarly dice the tomatoes. The tomato dice should be "pico de gallo salsa-sized." You can keep the tomato seeds and juices and add them in the tabbouleh salad, if you'd like. They usually will be absorbed up by the bulghur wheat. Now, add and stir all of the ingredients together, and add salt to taste.
I hope you enjoy this recipe (or Ina's). It's a refreshing and healthy salad that goes great with toasted whole wheat pita bread, and creamy hummus topped with toasted pine nuts. I like to let the tabbouleh sit in the fridge, to allow the flavors to combine, and have it the next day at a picnic or at lunch.