Beef up taboula parsley salad

By Habeeb Salloum

No doubt, most people in North America have heard of taboula (tabbouleh), that tasty and healthy Middle Eastern salad. A gem in the cuisine of the Greater Syria region, it was popularized by the Syrian-Lebanese immigrants to North America. A unique version of the regular taboula dish which includes meat is today rarely prepared in the Middle East.

For a delightful summer salad, this recipe is a must.  A tasty treat its hard to beat.

Parsley Salad with Meat – Taboula ma’a Lahm
Serves 6 to 8

  • 1/2 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, then drained
  • 1/2 cup fine burghul (bulgur)
  • 3 cups finely chopped parsley
  • 1 small bunch green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/2-pound beef or lamb cut into 1/2-inch cubes, fried in butter or oil until well-cooked,
    then drained of fat
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • half a dozen cabbage leaves, cut in half

Method:

With a rolling pin, break chickpeas in half, then pick out and discard the skins.  Place in a saucepan and cover with water, then bring to boil.  Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside – keep in water.

In the meantime, soak burghul (bulgur) in cold water for 15 minutes, then drain by placing in a strainer and pushing water out by hand. Place in a salad bowl, then set aside.

Remove chickpeas from water and add to burghul (do not discard water), then stir in remainder of ingredients, except cabbage leaves.

Place cabbage leaves in chickpea water, then boil for a few moments. Remove, then place on top of salad. Serve immediately while the cabbage leaves are still steaming.

Note: Each person should be served one or two cabbage leaves with their portion of
the salad.