I love the bright flavors of tabbouleh, the Levantine grain salad traditionally made of bulgur wheat, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, parsley and mint. It all gets hit with a heavy dose of lemon juice and olive oil, making it a fresh, herby side dish that's perfect for outdoor entertaining.
I decided to modernize the dish a bit for this recipe. Like the very best tabboulehs, this salad is laced with just a touch of bulgur. But unlike classic versions, I didn't chop the assortment of lovely herbs I found at the market— purslane, parsley, basil, lemon basil and so on—and instead just picked the leaves and left them whole.
I added sweet cherry tomatoes and garlicky yellow squash to the salad, and dressed everything in a raisin-laced shallot vinaigrette. The finished salad is just as bright as tabbouleh, just a little more colorful and a little more elegant.
To learn more, read "Love on a Rooftop."
Bulgur Wheat with Cherry Tomatoes, Yellow Squash and Summer Herbs
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
For the Macerated Raisins:
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
½ cup golden raisins
¼ cup red wine vinegar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Salad:
1½ cups bulgur wheat
Salt, to taste
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow squash, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup packed arugula
1 cup packed purslane leaves
½ cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
½ cup purple basil leaves
½ cup packed lemon basil leaves
½ cup packed mint leaves, torn
¼ cup packed tarragon leaves
¼ cup chopped chives
¼ cup almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon nigella seeds (optional)
1. Make the macerated raisins: In a small mixing bowl, combine the all ingredients and allow the shallots to macerate and the raisins to plump up, about 20 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.
2. Make the salad: Place the bulgur in a large bowl and pour over 3 cups of boiling water. Season with salt and cover with a large plate. Allow the bulgur to sit until it has absorbed all the water and has become tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the bulgur in a colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Transfer to a parchment-lined sheet tray to dry.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the squash, thyme and garlic and cook until squash is almost tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and transfer the squash to the mixing bowl with the bulgur.
4. Toss the bulgur, squash, herbs, almonds, tomatoes, vinaigrette and remaning olive oil to combine. Serve immediately.