Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Very First Veganversary: Tabouli Salad

Hello, my dears.

This past weekend was the well-received Veganversary party, celebrating my first full year as a vegan! Now, silly as it sounds, I felt that this was an excellent reason to hold a dinner party. I mean, dinner parties are awesome. Duh.

The guest list was mostly non-vegans, some of whom had already experienced (and hopefully enjoyed) my cooking, others were quite skeptical. Also at the party was one vegetarian (Chris) and one other vegan (Mack). Oh, and Walt the cat. Though I will say, he was having none of this "party" nonsense. He's not big into crowds.

The (Vegan) Menu:

Rebecca's Bruschetta (wonderfully rustic and also Maltese)
Simple Green Salad
Eggplant Moussaka
Lima Bean Bake
Tabouli Salad
Israeli Couscous
Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Icing

Now, I should note that Jenn generously provided some non-vegan items for the guests who were hesitant to eat vegan food. However, as this is a vegan food blog, we'll skip over describing them. No hard feelings, Jenn.

Mmm... My plate. Let's take a look, clockwise from 12 o'clock: The lima bean bake, eggplant moussaka, tabouli salad, spanikopita, and Rebecca's bruschetta. And if you're wondering, I ate all of it. And it was awesome.

To break down this massive feast, I was thinking we go about the recipes separately. So to start, today I will tell you about one of my favorite dishes ever... TABOULI SALAD!

Here are a few good reasons to make tabouli. If you needed convincing:

1) If you've been reading this blog from the beginning, you'll know that one of my favorite ingredients ever is lemon. Lemon makes everything more delicious. Another favorite of mine is Italian flat-leaf parsley. Put them together with bulgur, olive oil, tomatoes, and green onion and whaddya get? Tabouli salad. And I am a happy girl. So if I like it, you might.

2) Tabouli is gloriously simple to concoct. When making it from scratch, you don't have to heat a thing. Just takes some chopping, soaking, and chilling. Or, chillin' if you prefer. Whichever.

3) It's ancient! Who can argue with a recipe that's centuries older than you? This recipe is older than your Grandma. Like, 4,000 years older. So hush up and make it.

Without further ado, Tabouli:

1 cup bulgur (cracked wheat, available in the international section of the grocery)
3 cups chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1 bundle (4 or 5) green onions (aka scallions), chopped
4 or 5 roma tomatoes (or whichever variety you prefer. obviously, compensate for size, though)
1/2 tsp allspice
juice of two lemons
3 tbsp good olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Rinse the bulgur in cold water a few times and drain. Soak it in a few cups worth cold water for about 20 minutes until it starts to soften. It will still be tough on the teeth at this point, so don't eat a spoonful or anything. It might hurt.

Prep your veggies and herbs to however you like them. Traditionally, you'd want the pieces to be smaller, but I sometimes prefer larger chunks of tomato and scallions (aka green onions) or whole leaves of parsley. Whatever you want. Yay for individuality!

Drain the bulgur in a sieve of some variety, or just do the best with your hands. Throw it in a mixing bowl and add the lemon juice, olive oil, allspice, mint, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix that up and add the tomatoes and scallions. Taste it for seasoning purposes, and adjust to your preference. I usually add more lemon juice, but we all know now that I'm biased.

Make sure everything's mixed thoroughly, then cover it with plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge for a few hours. This is really important, because the bulgur will soften further in the lemon juice. If you were to eat it immediately, it might still hurt your teeth. Just FYI.

This can be served over lettuce, or all by itself. It's also one of those recipes that you can do pretty much whatever you want with and it'll still taste good. You know, save adding anchovies or chocolate or something weird like that. Besides, then it wouldn't be vegan anymore, and who wants that? Right. So anyway, hope you like this easy, staple recipe. Maybe make it for your grandma. If she scoffs, just tell her it's 4,000 years old.

Well, friends, all in all I'd say the Veganversary party was a huge success. More recipes to follow. As well as the Veganversary Awards. Because there were a few people who deserved them. You'll see.

Happy eating!


  1. I can assure everyone, it was delicious. Also, look how sexy my arm is in that last picture. Oh yeah. It looks like I'm trying not to throw up, but really I think I was shoveling food into my mouth as quickly as possible, because it was Just. That. Good.