Tabbouleh: Middle Eastern Parsley & Bulghur Salad
Tabbouleh, or Parsley Salad, is one of those dishes just packed with nutrition: high fiber bulghur (semi-cooked and dried whole wheat), fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and parsley, beautiful golden olive oil and the best sea salt you can find. Fresh lemon juice finishes it off, giving you a side dish that’s light enough for a late iftar or an early-morning suhoor if you are one to incorporate salads into those meals.
It may or may not be traditional to make tabbouleh in the way I describe below, so if you’re a tabbouleh traditionalist, I’m curious to know how you simply must have yours. I’m mostly focused on the high-quality, fresh and hydrating ingredients in this dish because they help me get through a long fast when paired with protein, fruits and other healthy things.
Bulghur + fresh parsley= tabbouleh. Start out with fresh, dried bulghur. I like the medium grain, also known as #2 bulghur, but if you prefer smaller, go ahead.
Pick nice, fresh tomatoes but try to get ones that aren’t too juicy or you’ll spend a lot of time drying them up. No one likes soggy tabbouleh.
Put the bulghur in a bowl, then add water. I like the 1:1 ratio- 1 cup bulghur, 1 cup water. It doesn’t really matter, though, because you’re going to squeeze it out and remove most of the water like in the picture above.
Clean the veggies really well, even if they’re organic. I like to spray with white vinegar and let sit for a few minutes, then rinse realy well with cool water. Vinegar is a great, all-natural disinfectant.
Removing seeds and drying up the vegetables are where most of the work is in this dish, but I like to think chopping can be therapeutic. Save the insides of these veggies and add to soups and stews or make gazpacho with it.
Salad spinners aren’t just for lettuce. Once I’ve rinsed the vinegar off the parsley, I run it through a salad spinner and then chop off the woody stems and even the thinner, shorter stems all the way up to the leaf. Again, a little bit of work but easy to do while talking on the phone or something else involving multi-tasking.
I love my salad spinner. If you have a similar one, don’t put heavy things like tomatoes or cucumbers in it or it could break- it’s not that sturdy.
Chop the parsley as fine as possible. It’s nicer to eat when there aren’t large chunks of it in the salad.
This is what it looks like before the addition of tomatoes. It’s so pretty. But it’s not really tabbouleh yet.
Add all the fresh ingredients you’ve just chopped up, including the tomatoes plus olive oil, salt and lemon juice to the bulghur. (Detailed recipe below)
UPDATE: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
At the end of this post, tell us how you use real, wholesome food to get you through a long fast and you could win coupons for FREE Saffron Road halal frozen foods AND a $100 Whole Foods Market Gift Card! For those of you who follow the MHK Facebook page, you probably already know that this is just one of FIVE giveaways sponsored by Saffron Road and Whole Foods Market during the month of Ramadan. Please stop by their pages and thank them for offering such generous giveaways in an effort to reach out to Muslim consumers at a time that is so special to us. Saffron Road is donating 50 cents to the IFRC and the Whole Planet Foundation for every ‘like’ they get on their page during Ramadan.
How do you use real, wholesome food to get you through a long fast?
Your answer in the comments section of this post will enter you into the giveaway for FIVE FREE Saffron Road halal frozen entrees, redeemable at Whole Foods Markets AND a $100 Whole Foods gift card, redeemable at any U.S. Whole Foods stores.
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- 1 cup bulghur #2 (medium size grain)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 1 cup tomatoes, seeds removed and tomatoes finely chopped
- 1 cup cucumbers, seeds removed and flesh finely chopped
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- 2-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
- In a bowl, soak the bulghur in the water for 15-20 minutes. It will plump up and absorb most, but not all of the water.
- Grab a handful of bulghur and squeeze out all of the water. Place the squeezed bulghur into another bowl. Discard the water that you squeezed out.
- Be sure the parsley, tomatoes (seeds removed) and cucumber (seeds removed) are all completely dry before adding to the bulghur, otherwise the salad could turn out soggy.
- Add olive oil, salt and lemon juice. Stir to combine well. Taste for preference and adjust, if necessary.
- Enjoy tabbouleh as a side dish to meats, fish and more.
What a great recipe! I love to eat lots of fruits, salads, and vegetables during Ramadan. I keeps me hydrated and is so much healthier than snacking on sweets. Thanks for a great blog 🙂
Mmmm….tempting to my taste-buds and looks so fresh and healthy! These meals also look refreshing. Great Ramadan delights indeed!
That looks very good! I would love to try out the meals. I never heard of them. This will be my first year fasting. Wish me luck!
I’m not Muslim, but I occasionally fast with my fiance for Ramadan and am looking forward to learning to cook good wholesome meals with and for him this year! When I fast in solidarity with him, I like to drink lots of water and eat a hard-boiled egg and then a combination of healthy carbohydrates and proteins for sahoor: a handful of nuts and dried fruits, crackers and cheese, or a whole grain with fruit and nuts. One of my favorites is a gaspacho grain salad: add all the ingredients for gaspacho soup (minus the bread; chopped, not blended) in with a whole grain like wheat berries or quinoa. Let it sit overnight or a few hours for the flavors to meld, then toss in some pine nuts.
I love to eat fresh fruits and veggies for breaking the fast. After a long hot day of fasting there is nothing better than eating a fresh salad full of fresh greens. We all love eating fresh cucumbers. Sometimes I mix them in with yogurt or we just eat them sliced up with some fresh tomatoes. There is nothing better than eating fresh wholesome fruit and veggies to help keep you cool.
(subscribed and “liked” required things for entry)
This is my first Ramadan, having converted to Muslim a month ago. It will be important to use wholesome foods to keep the body fit during the month long fast. I look forward to learning some new wholesome recipes from Whole Foods market and My Halal Kitchen.
I love your website!!! but yes now on to the question, well now that I”m nursing I find myself having to eat smaller meals throughout the day. I try to stick to a large breakfast which includes cheese, milk, bread etc. Then the smaller meals/snack I make sure to eat fresh fruits, baby carrots, nuts etc. This keeps me going through the day and saves me from slaving in the kitchen.
Funny this is that I went to Whole Foods for the first time two weeks ago and was overwhelmed with the variety and gave my taste buds a treat with their organic variety!
I always try to add spinach whenever and wherever I can!
Assalamualaikum wa rahmathullahi wa barakathuhu sister,
JazakAllah kheir for this post. Clicking pictures is not easy once the cooking process has begun but you have taken effort to put up a picture for each step along with a neat description of the recipe for a classic wholesome accompaniment.
I would also like to thank you for shedding light on ‘Saffron Road’ and ‘Whole Foods Market’ and their facebook pages which can help us stay up-to-date with their products. Surprisingly I hadn’t heard of them before. Being new to this place I am still exploring around and InshaAllah we have planned to make our first trip to ‘Whole Foods Market’ today to check out ‘Saffron Road’ products and some fruits and vegges.
It is said that we must fuel our body with ‘food’ and not ‘fillers’ (the preservatives, additives, colorings, artificial flavorings that many packaged foods come with). Hence a food that is devoid of these ‘fillers’ and provides nutrition in its best form can be considered ‘wholesome’. It is not just the foods with fillers that’s bad for us; unfortunately many of us today give in to temptations easily thereby making even our wholesome foods not-so-wholesome by treating it with lots of oil. sugar etc.
In the month of Ramadhan, we have to put in extra effort to make sure that we eat real wholesome food which will provide us with both nutrition and stamina during the fast. Infact other than our spiritual fulfillment Ramadhan can be treated as a time to rectify our food habits and to learn making healthy food choices thereafter.
I have observed that the suhr meal greatly influences our fast. The more wholesome the food is, the better is the stamina until iftar InshaAllah. Hence it is essential to watch what we eat at suhr. The heat waves that we are facing at present could pose a bigger challenge.
Foods that keep me really strong throughout a fasting day include milk, eggs, whole wheat pita bread, yogurt, fruits, vegges like beans, broccoli, Spinach, bell peppers, carrots; healthy dishes made with fish, chicken, lentils and oats and not to forget a handful of nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, Hazelnuts). Not only are these foods wholesome but provide nutrition and vigor in every bite.
I remember when I was in my school-going days, the only thing I had for suhr was whole wheat flat-bread which my mother made along with milk. I would literally tear up small pieces of the ‘roti’ (flat-bread), put it in a small bowl of milk and have it. This kept me energetic all the way till iftar Alhamdulillah. But in the later years, I have started taking a variety of foods and have understood from experience that a ‘wholesome balanced diet’ is essential for our health and well being not just during a fasting day but on other days as well. We must thank Allah SWT for providing us with such AMAZING foods in nature that we have too many wholesome choices to make, SubhanAllah!
JazakAllah Kheir for reading my post 🙂
Here is something that I wish to share:
TIPS TO MAXIMIZE WHOLESOME FOOD
Salam…This is my first Ramadan, so in order to make the best of it, I am going to take tips from your website, also I am going to use new info I have learned in my community “Fresh Fruit and Veggies” group. I want to get and stay healthy during this time and gain a better understanding of Islam, so that I can share with others. I love Tabbouleh. I sometimes use short grain brown rice when I am out of bulgar. Both ways are equally delicious.
my son deleted my last post.. so my plan B was for anyone close to missing sahur since it is so early is keeping 2 dates and a cup of milk close by (the horizon’s are great because you do not have use refrigeration)
Iftar–chickpeas in various forms, lime-ade, fruits, samosas, dates
Suhoor–rice, chicken or goat meat, a vegetable, and a pulse (red lentils)
I Subscribed to the MHK Monthly Newsletter, “Liked” the Whole Foods Market Facebook Page, “Liked” the Saffron Road Facebook Page, and Subscribed to the Whole Story blog via myYahoo.
Great Recipe I love Tabbouleh! I like to make chickpea salad to fill up on protein to get my family through the fast. Another protein filled meal is tuna and cucumber sandwiches. Also dates most morning for Suhoor. InshaAllah all of you have a great and blessed Ramadan may Allah (swt) accept your fast. I follow Saffron Road, & Whole Foods FB page and subscribed to their blog and your newsletter. May Allah reward you for all this tasty Dawah!
Like Katy, who commented previously, I’m not Muslim, but I want to support my boyfriend during his Ramadan fasting. I also hope to learn to cook more good and wholesome meals with and for him this year! I fully respect what the month of Ramadan means for him and all Muslims. I believe that real, wholesome food is always important, and I can see how it is especially needed during a time of fasting. I always love to eat whole, fresh fruits every day, and I think this would be a good habit to continue during Ramadan as fruits are filled with important nutrients and water.
I’m embarrassed to admit that my first couple of Ramadan’s were not as healthy or productive as they should have been. The first one went by in a blur because when you are a revert you have all the energy & excitement of a child. My non-Muslim relatives were shocked & amazed that me a lifetime foodie & chubbie girl could restrain herself which is just short of a miracle. This of course is the time when treats are made by everyone as a way of setting apart this time as special & spreading their joy to their neighbors but unfortunately are not always necessarily healthy. If there was one thing we learned early in my house it is only a foolish person offends the cook ;o) When your non-Muslim relatives make note that you are eating way more food than when you weren’t fasting it is a very humbling and embarrassing thing to have to come to face to face with. So the beginning of this calendar year is when I made my Ramadan resolution to become a healthier & better Muslima. I shunned virtually all processed foods, try to eat raw and said no to salt, sugar and cooking with oil more often than not. I have since lost 40 lbs and fit into those jeans that were sitting in my closet mercilessly mocking me as my oh so roomy and comforting abayas comforted me and understood my pain and frustration :Oo! With every suffering comes relief and this Ramadan I look forward to fasting as I can make sujud without getting winded and eating cleaner (organic and non-processed fruits & veggies when I can afford to) means we are more free to be our better selves. I am more patient not only from the experience but because my blood pressure is not so high anymore, Subhan’allah. A lot of my struggle with food was because of all the chemicals that are used to preserve & make foods appealing to the customer (visually and tastewise) as they are addictive and are missing the nutrients your body needs. So the fresher it is the better for everyone because the gates of hell may be closed but our mouths are not and if we want good things to come out of it we have to put good things into it :O)
I always look to unprocessed oatmeal, fresh fruit, dates, yogurt, eggs and vegetables for suhoor (not all on the same day!) As a convert, I have found it is far more important for me to drink enough water than stuff myself with pastries or something else that won’t benefit me. My first Ramadan, I ate foul like my husband, but It’s hard for me to eat that way now. I’d much rather have a normal bowl of oatmeal with some yogurt or milk and a little fruit. Steel cut oats have a lot of staying power and they’re great with a few nuts on top.
But I’m also practical so I do resort sometimes to leftovers from iftar. I volunteer at our masjid to serve food at the singles iftars so there are only a few times we have iftar at home. If we do, there are invariably leftovers so sometimes there will be a curry or grilled chicken and vegetables.
I just subscribed to your newsletter
And liked Saffron Road (love them, not like) on Facebook
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I like to use eggplant to make fritters when opening my fast. Dates, yogurt, and eggs all during Ramadhan 🙂
Eating wholesome is very important to me and my husband throughout the year and ESPECIALLY during Ramadan. In order to get keep our energy going through the fast we incorporate protein, whole-grain, dairy, and fresh fruit into our suhoor. A suhoor of choice for us is some type of egg preparation (scrambled, omelet with fresh veggies, etc), oatmeal, a glass of organic milk and fruit. I know this sounds cheesy, but our fruit of choice is organic strawberries from Whole Foods 🙂 It was actually the first thing we ever tried from Whole Foods and have never looked back!
We keep the same mentality for our evening meal, except we incorporate more fresh veggies and replace the eggs with meat or poultry – unless of course we’re in the mood for a frittata for dinner 😉 We make sure not to forget the dairy by either having a glass of organic milk with our date when we break our fast, or make a fresh fruit yogurt parfait for dessert. Since the fasts are longer, it’s important to us to prepare our bodies in the morning and also help our bodies ‘recover’ in the evening by eating foods that are nourishing. If we didn’t eat wholesome in the evening, we would become sluggish rather than have the energy for our evening/night prayers.
I’m also not Muslim, but have a friend who is, and before Ramadan one year she took me to the Farmer’s Market to stock up on fresh herbs, fruits, and veggies. It made cooking much more enjoyable, knowing where we picked up our foods, and she said it was more delicious and filling all throughout!
Allah Subhanna wa Ta’la says in the Qur’an (translation) O (you) Messengers! Eat of the Tayyibat [all kinds of Halal foods which Allah has made lawful (meat of slaughtered eatable animals, milk products, fats, vegetables, fruits, etc.] and do righteous deeds. Verily! I am Well-Acquainted with what you do. Surah Muminoon 51
When making meals for my family I try to apply this ayah. We eat whole grains paired with protein, healthy fats, and lots of fruits and veggies. This really helps us to get through the fast by giving us sustained energy, avoiding blood sugar spikes and crashes, and making it easier to do our ibadat and good deeds biithnillah.
By keeping it simple! What better way to open your fast not just by a date, but by a colorful fruit salad that quenches your thirst and packed with antioxidant and vitamin. In my fruit salad I like to add chopped kiwi, strawberries, mangos, grape, apple, bananas (which I like to add last to avoid browning), pomegranate, and a splash of orange juice.
As for breakfast, I like fresh guacamole and spread it on top of whole wheat toast in the morning. It’s fulfilling and a nutrient booster!
Thanks for the great recipes!! I am excited how Whole Foods and Saffron Road is doing this for Ramadan.. Like sister above said, thirst is sometimes more primary to address than hunger !! i like to savor those first sips of water and then organic juice.. in the pre dawn meals, there are many good options… oatmeal with fruit and nuts is a great filling way to start the day.. and with tea and juice.. dates are nutrient dense and cucumbers and fruits are very hydrating.. melons make great after dinner desserts.. I like to make a variety of soups.. some with meat.. and lovely rice on the side too.. or bread.. and this Ramadan i hope to fast and also be mindful of what Im eating and drinking and keep it healthy and organic and as cruelty free as possible.. salaam !!
and i also signed up for everything 🙂 Thanks for the offer, peace!
“How do you use real, wholesome food to get you through a long fast?”
I find the water content in real, wholesome foods help me get through a long fast, especially on hot days when I would normally get very thirsty. Wholesome food not only fills me up, but it leaves me feeling light, making it easy to stand in prayers and sleep lightly. Once you have experienced a Ramadan with real, wholesome food, you will never want to have fried foods at iftar again. I guarantee.
By eating wholesome and natural ingredients it nourishes my body so that I can endure a long day of fasting. Eating whole grains, fruits and veggies are so much more filling for the body more than sweets and other processed foods.
I make sure to drink milk, have cereal, yogurt or a hard boiled egg so I will have energy to last all day. With the longer days, it’s important to be energized and hydrated. That’s why I drink as much water as I can.
I pick foods carefully when preparing for a long fast. So generally I pick several lean proteins because they will keep us fuller longer. I also include lots of veggies and whole grains for their high fiber content, also for fullness. I avoid foods with simple sugars – so fewer high sugar fruits and such, to avoid a sugar spike and then a crash. And I also try to use minimal salt, so that it doesn’t get us very thirsty. Instead, I cook with fresh herbs, freshly crushed or roasted onions, garlic, chilis and spices, to add a lot of flavor and depth to the food. I try to sneak in low-fat cheeses, like ricotta, goat cheese, feta, part-skim fresh mozzarella wherever I can, just to up the protein content of the food.
Tabbouleh is a favorite for us. But I also like things like sauteeing zucchini and leeks in olive oil. then tossing with whole wheat pasta and goat cheese and thyme. Or chopping up scallions, tomatoes, cukes, and dill, and tossing with feta, olive oil, white vinegar for a delicious chilled salad. Or roasting asparagus in the oven with fresh garlic and parsley. I usually cook brown rice with fresh spices and mix of veggies – it turns out like a jambalaya or a spanish rice. Simple preparations like that, that are full of flavor and nutrition, but low on salt, grease, and simple carbs are big on my radar screen.
One other thing I do: look for foods that have a high water content, since a long fast means dehydration. So I’ll generally look for watermelon, oranges, cukes, things like that. Since you can only eat a limited amount each day, I try to pick wholesome foods that do double or triple duty.
As for organic – we’re an all-organic household. And Whole Foods is where we do almost all our shopping. So the ingredients are always the very best available. We’ve been on a financial rollercoaster the last couple of years because of the recession. But despite losing more than 2/3rds of our family income, having 2 people on unemployment and then losing those payments also, the one thing we haven’t given up is shopping for organic food. We’ve cut back everywhere but food, because I strongly believe that eating wholesome, clean food is key not only for getting through long fasts, but for getting through life’s stresses, because it protects your body.
Hope you all have a successful fast and a blessed season with loved ones!
Mmm whole grains, lean halal chicken breast, fresh veggies from the farmer’s market down the street…and lots of faloodeh!
Well, knowing that I am opening my fast with REAL food is kind of simple really. I would not find it acceptable to open my fast, as well as others, by feeding them and myself, food that is either GM or isn’t fresh. Part of fasting is to cleanse your body of impurities, so why put them in through foods that aren’t pure themselves? Eating healthy can go a long way in leading a healthy life. A long hard day at work during Ramadan can be difficult sometimes, but fueling your body properly shouldn’t be overlooked, nor should you just eat simply for the purpose of eating. If you love your body and treat it with respect, it makes for a much more enjoyable life.
“How do you use real, wholesome food to get you through a long fast?”
I like to eat plain, old-fashioned oatmeal during Ramadan for Suhur. I eat it with raisins and cinnamon. I try to eat lots of leafy green vegetables like collard greens. to stay “regular”
I love your blog and it is great to have access to Halal food recipes that incorporate my love for international cuisine. I am pakistani and most of our iftar and suhoor food is made up of fried food. To allow for some healthy outlet, I always make some fruit chaat, which is pretty much fruit salad (apples, banana, oranges, grape, pear, guava) and nuts with some chaat masala! Also, I like to make kala channa , which is the darker and smaller cousin of garbanzo beans. They are a great source of protein and extremely healthy as well.
Whole steel cut oats with dates and nuts for suhoor. I also enjoy breaking my fast with a delicious salad (along with dates) such as the tabbouleh recipe above. Also, delicious wholesome soups like lentil soup.
I pick foods carefully when preparing for a long fast. So generally I pick several lean proteins because they will keep us fuller longer. I also include lots of veggies and whole grains for their high fiber content, also for fullness.
“How do you use real, wholesome food to get you through a long fast?”
We eat traditional, filling fava beans for our pre-dawn breakfast; I wish Whole Foods carried dried, organic fava beans so we could slow-cook them at home!
I use a juicer to get as much nutrient (from organics…kale, spinach, apple, celery, carrots, etc.)into a cup of about 14 to 16 oz. This along with 1-3 mejdool dates for Iftar/suhoor. My proteins are from halal chicken/ lamb and fish, avocado, nut varieties, eggs, fresh beans when possible….I have too many recipes too mention, incorporating these into salads, sautees, omlettes, barley/ veggie soups, or just cooked alone….Also….the wonderful Yerba Mate tea..keeps me awake and focused in Taraweeh and throughout the evening…it contains the natural stimulant “mateine” and it does not interfere with your bedtime. Whole foods does carry Yerba mate… In tea bags, loose tea, and in ready-to-drink bottles.
“How do you use real, wholesome food to get you through a long fast?”
I make a huge pot of soup with hearty vegetables at the beginning of the month, freeze 3/4 of the pot in quarters and each week, I thaw out another 1/4 so that I can eat it throughout the month and don’t have to spend too much time cooking OR worrying about eating healthy during Ramadan which is even more important to me than any other time of the year.
Then I make salads regularly throughout the month.
Eating like this makes me feel content and Allah wants ease for us, so we get the best of both worlds when we do it like this and don’t spend each day in Ramadan in the kitchen!
jazakum Allahu khairan.
It is really important to use whole grains for suhoor because it’s healthier and will keep you fuller, longer. For example, today I made steel cut oats from Whole Foods, added a little bit of non-fat organic milk to achieve a desirable consistency. I chopped up organic mangoes and bananas. I then toasted some sliced almonds for a nice crunch and topped it off with Whole Food’s organic 365 wildflower honey. YUM! This wholesome, real meal will get you though a long day of fasting for sure! Not to mention it’s delicious.
Also please remember to hydrate while praying tarawih because our bodies store water in our muscles and you need to stock up in order for it to benefit you in a positive way.
I strive to use the best products and make food as delicious and healthful as possible, you can see this through my blog on http://www.maryyums.blogspot.com.
Ramadan Kareem everyone!
I have liked Whole Food’s and Saffron Road’s facebook page and subscribed to the Whole story and MHK newsletters.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Thanks!!!!
GReat recipe, never made Taboula but will have to try this iA!
my husband was adopted, but his birth father was muslim, and as a way to reconnect with his ancient traditions and customs, he has begun to fast during ramadan. i like to make a giant pot of harira for breaking the fast–full of warming spices, hearty and delicious.
1.“How do you use real, wholesome food to get you through a long fast?”
My sister is on a very long fast because she can not eat whole food. It is due to a medical condition, not religious. She takes nutritious foods and blends it so she can drink it. I am always looking for nutritious foods for her special condition. I can’t wait to go to Whole Foods and look over the Saffron Roads food line! I think my sister is in for a real treat! Please choose my entry so I can help her!
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I like to have a fill of wonderful fresh fruits in the morning in addition to oatmeal to help get me through the fast for the day. As it’s summer, I am enjoying being able to load up on watermelon and mango in particular, though the banana is great for substance. Evenings I look forward to a variety of homemade dishes including curries.
And, I happily “subscribed” and “liked” all that was requested. 🙂