Giai’s Earthly Delights - Tabbouleh (vegan!)

Happy Earth Day, friends! Today marks the 51st anniversary of the modern environmental movement, which first took place in 1970. At that time in American history, 150 years of industrialization had little to no regulation, wreaking havoc on both the environment and public health. With the help of artists, politicians (On the left and right!), college students and community activists, this day marked when 20 million Americans took to the street in protest of the deteriorating environment and the impacts it would have for generations to come. The first Earth Day led to the creation of: the United States Environmental Protection Agency, National Environmental Education Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act, Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act, and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. Today, we are still fighting the good fight for change.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” – Margaret Mead

Prep Time: 30-45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4-6 

Please join me for a sustainable and delightful dish: tabbouleh! This dish is vegan, which does not require the use of factory farming, and it’s packed with nutritious ingredients. You can keep this recipe plastic-free by bringing your own produce and grocery bags to the store. The recipe ingredients are light enough for you to store in a bicycle basket if you would like to take an additional step to go fossil fuel-free (Bonus points for you, good samaritan!).

Tabbouleh:

  • ¼ cup bulgur wheat, rinsed
  • ¾ cup water or broth
  • 1-2 Tbsp Tannenbaum’s - Cranberry, Orange Peel & Allspice Sweet Habanero Sauce
  • 3 cups parsley, minced
  • ¼ cup mint leaves, minced
  • 1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (Toasted sesame oil is also a divine choice!)
  • 2 plum tomatoes (~ ½ pound), finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup cucumber, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup dried sour cherries, coarsely chopped (Dried cranberries work great too!)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Juice of 1 fresh lemon
  • Juice of 1 fresh lime
  • salt & pepper to taste (Keep in mind that lemon & lime is nature’s salt!)

Today’s recipe is a Lebanese inspired dish that can be altered, like many salads, to fit the whims of the chef. Keep in mind that this dish is best served chilled. I recommend heeding this warning and preparing for overnight refrigeration.

For this recipe, I used organic whole grain bulgur wheat. Many recipes call for a fine unshelled bulgur wheat but this came out just fine with the whole grain version. Using a medium saucepan, add water and bulgar wheat. Bring water to boil, stir, and reduce heat to a simmer and place the lid on our concoction. The cooking time will span from 10-12 minutes. Once done, remove from heat and keep covered for at least 5 minutes. Remove the lid and strain out any excess water that is still left. You can use a cheesecloth or a simple kitchen strainer. I like to use a strainer, placing it over the saucepan to allow it to drip dry while chopping the cornucopia of produce.

Similar to how we did the Spring Goddess Dip : rinse your parsley bunches thoroughly and place in a towel to absorb excess water. Once it’s relatively dry, remove the towel and place on a chopping board. It’s best to remove stems at the bottom in order to get maximum volume from the tasty leaves. Don’t worry about the stems at the middle and top, unless you want to take the time to remove them (remember to keep this simple). Take a sharpened chef knife and place one hand on the top (non-dominant) and use your dominant hand to pivot and chop. Bring back leaves into a heap and repeat. Be careful not to overdo it or you’ll lose some of the flavor (oils) that make this delightful herb so tasty. A few rounds of chopping should do it. Measure 3 cups (1 bunch = 1 cup) and place into a large mixing bowl, ideally the one you will use to refrigerate the ingredients overnight.

Once you are finished with the parsley step you can move on to the mint. With this particular herb, you will need to remove the leaves from the stems. The stems are much thicker and don’t produce a tasty addition to this dish. Chop mint as you did with the parsley and measure a ¼ cup (1 bunch should be plenty) and add to the large mixing bowl.

Proceed by adding: cucumbers, plum tomatoes, green onions, garlic, fresh lemon & lime juice and Tannenbaum’s, to the large mixing bowl. Mix the enchanting and aromatic blend with either a spoon or your own two hands. Add the now dry bulgur wheat and continue to toss. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator. It’s ideal to keep this not quite finished dish in the refrigerator overnight but if you’re pressed for time, an hour in chill mode should work just fine.

Now that the dish has soaked and chilled, it’s time to add the finishing touches.

Take out a clean chopping board and chop walnuts and dried sour cherries and add to the tabbouleh bowl. Add olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Mix ingredients and plate over romaine leaves, purple kale, or however you want to showcase your delectable dish. I recommend serving with falafel and hummus for a vegan/vegetarian friendly meal that is a crowd pleaser for all. Enjoy!

“We have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do” – Barbara Ward

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"How do I choose flavors? I really don’t know. I started off with apricot because I like apricots. Then it becomes a game to see what other fruits would work. My wife likes strawberries, so I did some strawberry. It just comes to me."

HARVEY TANNENBAUM, ON PREFERENCES