Sometimes a missing ingredient can lead to a tasty surprise. This is one such example, where I planned to make tabouleh for a bbq I was attending, but found that, strangely enough, Vietnamese greengrocers don’t always stock parsley. As the mint and spring onions smelled amazing and I’d already ducked into Woolies and found cracked wheat , the closest I could get to burghul (which is finely cracked wheat), I decided to forge ahead- almost-tabouleh it would have to be. Luckily there was plenty of dill around, so I improvised.

The recipe turned out well, very fresh-tasting and with a nice zing. The lemons I had were ancient (explains the $1/kilo price tag) so I had to add a teaspoon or so of castor sugar, but if your lemons are reasonably fresh you should be ok. This recipe makes a massive salad, a great addition to any summer feast.

Almost Tabouleh
1 cup cracked wheat or burghul
1-2 cups boiling water
1 clove garlic
6 spring onions
1 small bunch mint
1 bunch dill
3 large, ripe tomatoes
2 lebanese cucumbers
2 large juicy lemons
1-2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 -2 teaspoons baharat spice mix (if you have it)
Freshly cracked pepper and salt, to taste
Sugar (perhaps)

If you’re using cracked wheat, boil in 2 cups of water for 10-15 minutes and leave to cool. If you’re using burghul, soak in 1 cup boiling water, covered for 10 minutes. You may need to drain it a bit, I had to rinse the cracked wheat in cold water as it went quite starchy.

They key to this salad is fresh herbs, finely chopped. Very finely chop the garlic and mix through the burghul/wheat. Finely chop the spring onions. Pick the mint leaves, discarding the stalks and very finely slicing the leaves. Finely chop the dill until you reach the point where there’s more stalk than leaf. Stir the herbs through the wheat.

Roughly chop the tomatoes, then quarter and slice the cucumbers. Douse in lemon juice and a slosh of oil, adding everything else to taste. Stir well and refrigerate. Best made a few hours ahead, can make the day before.

Have you ever had a missing ingredient lead to an unexpected dish?

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6 Responses to Almost Tabouleh

  1. Gaby says:

    I think this version is more appropriate for summer, and the “original” one for coolest months. Great unexpected twist!
    Gaby recently posted…Review: The Kitchen @ ivy bar

  2. iris says:

    This looks tasty. I really <3 tabouli, but haven't made it in years and years and years. I recall all the veggie chopping to be rather laborious.
    iris recently posted…Christmas Lights

  3. Dolly says:

    happy new year lauren!

    hope to see you around more often xoxoxox
    Dolly recently posted…Welcome 2012

  4. I love happy mistakes. I have never used burghul in anything before. Going to bookmark this for a bbq I am going to this weekend
    Anna @The Littlest Anchovy recently posted…Are You Achin’ For Some Bacon?

  5. Tabbouleh is such a great salad for a BBQ and your twist of using mint would still deliver that herby freshness and offer a change to parsley.
    Anna @ the shady pine recently posted…Pasta lunch for one

  6. Dear Lauren,

    I have not had the fortunate incident to stumble upon a happy mistake but sometimes I struggle to understand why some picky eaters might pick out bits of onion, peas and what have you and that could be a good starting point to consciously omit an ingredient.

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