Brys Stephens's recipe for tabouleh in his cookbook, The New Southern Table, is a lot like the tabouleh I grew up eating—heartier than the traditional herb salad, it is chock full of tomatoes and cucumbers and contains just as much bulgur as parsley and mint. He takes it up another notch by tossing in cooked fresh field peas (he uses purple hull peas, but you could use black eyed peas or any other fresh bean), taking the dish from tradition to Southern-Middle Eastern fusion. So while it may not be the exact definition of tabouleh, this salad is absolutely fun, enjoyable, and hearty. Take it on a picnic and you won't regret it.
Why I picked this recipe: Grain salads are the perfect thing to eat now that the weather is warming. Add beans and you've got an easy meal.
What worked: This salad couldn't have been easier to throw together, and I loved the intensity of the lemon flavor in the final dish.
What didn't: Nothing.
Suggested tweaks: You'll want to use freshly shelled beans here, not dried and reconstituted. If you can't find any fresh beans, you should be able to find frozen fresh black eyed peas or lima beans in the freezer section of the grocery store. Thaw in a pot of simmering salted water.
Reprinted with permission from The New Southern Table: Classic Ingredients Revisited by Brys Stephens. Copyright 2014. Published by Fair Winds Press. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 4 cups (945 ml) water
- 1 cup (225 g) bulgur
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 4 cups (680 g) cooked field peas
- 2 cups (270 g) diced cucumber
- 2 cups (360 g) diced tomatoes
- 2 cups (120 g) chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup (100 g) chopped fresh mint
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup (175 ml) olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Red pepper flakes
Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan, stir in the bulgur and the 1/2 teaspoon salt, and simmer gently, 10 to 15 minutes, or until the bulgur is tender. Drain, rinse the bulgur with cold water, and set aside until completely drained, stirring occasionally to help this process along.
In a large bowl, combine the drained bulgur, field peas, cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, mint, lemon juice, and olive oil, and season to taste with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Chill the salad for at least two hours for best flavor.