Tabouli is one of those meals I love and feel complete nostalgia about.  Our mother and grandmother made it often, and there was always tabouli in the refrigerator when I came home from college.  There’s nothing better after eating junk food all semester.  It’s not just healthy and delicious, but I swear it can make failing Statistics seem unimportant.

Some recipes for tabouli use cinnamon, sumac, cumin, or a combination of them.  I’ve used the following recipe for years, and think the cumin is key.  My grandmother always added canned chopped black olives.  I know that using the good, expensive Kalamata olives would be more authentic, but the canned are what I grew up eating and therefore love.  And, if I didn’t use them, what would my daughter put on the tips of her fingers while I’m making dinner?

I hope my girls grow up loving tabouli as much as I did.  And I hope that I can share the recipe with them when they’re old enough.  Or make if for them when they come home from college.  Over a bowl of tabouli and lettuce, I’ll tell them what I wish our parents had told me:  that there is a 90% chance (give or take a standard deviation) that passing or failing Statistics will never matter.

– Catherine


1 cup bulgar wheat

1/2 cup chopped scallions

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup chopped mint

1 pint cherry tomatoes, diced

1 cup black olives, finely chopped

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cumin seed

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Soak bulgar wheat in 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 cup lemon juice for at least an hour.  Fluff with a fork.

Add remaining ingredients and toss with more salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice to taste.  Serve in romaine leaves with a vodka tonic, as pictured.

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