This classic Mediterranean/Israeli dish is my go-to whenever I’m craving something refreshing, simple, and as visually appealing as it is culinary. With minimal cooking time (and even that’s only a brief boil on the stove), it’s also perfect for summertime menus—at-home dinners and barbecues alike (in my experience, it has a 100% success rate even when people know it’s vegan!).
Tabouleh traditionally features quinoa and tons of parsley in a ratio that favors the latter, which boosts its nutrition. (Read: you can eat a lot with relatively few calories.) I prefer a slightly chewier grain, barley, but that doesn’t weigh down the salad; rather, I find that this alternative makes each bite more satisfying, as a balance to the other light ingredients. The key to getting tabouleh right is chopping. Don’t get lazy and leave big chunks of anything (like I usually do): chop chop chop until everything is finer than you think it needs to be. You won’t regret it.
Classic Tabouleh Salad
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 3 cups water
- 1 bunch fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1 bunch fresh basil stems removed and finely chopped
- 2 pints grape tomatoes quartered
- 1 medium cucumber finely chopped (unpeeled, so that it holds its structure)
- Juice from 2 medium lemons
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- Combine the barley and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer and cover for 20 minutes or until almost all the water is absorbed and the barley is soft.
- Meanwhile, chop the remaining ingredients and combine in a large mixing bowl. You want lots of room to stir, so the bigger the bowl the better!
- Add the oil, juice, garlic, and spices; stir to combine.
- When the barley is done, and while it’s still warm and with any remaining liquid, add it to your mixing bowl and stir very well. Taste to adjust spices and/or lemon juice (for consistency) as needed.
- Refrigerate for several hours until chilled through before serving.
Originally published on Peaceful Dumpling