Appreciating Parsley

Ta-bou-lee. Ta-bou-leh. Ta-bou-lay. However you’d like to pronounce it, this refreshing summer salad is a great way to get out of a romaine & iceberg rut. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, tabouleh is a middle-eastern/Mediterranean parsley-based salad often tossed with chopped tomatoes, onions and a generous amount of olive oil.

I became inspired for this little toss during a recent trip to my local supermarket. Seeking dinnertime inspiration, I was rummaging through the produce section when I paused in front of an item that I would have normally dismissed as boring and/or useless: an abnormally large variety of parsley.  Five different types, in fact. Really? Do people REALLY need that much variety of an herb that serves a garnish, often tossed aside, never to be consumed? I started to think that maybe I have been missing something. I decided that this little green leaf was going to make it onto my plate tonight – and not just as a back-up dancer, but as the star of the show. “Parsley!” I said (to myself, and possibly also out loud), “You have been under appreciated.” (Then I began to wonder if under appreciated was indeed one word, two words, or not a word at all. But I digress.)

Soon afterward, I found myself making tabouleh.

I did not use a recipe, just ingredients that I had on hand and an idea in my head of what tabouleh should be. I chopped some grape tomatoes and decided to add something a little unconventional, but not too far off the rocker: a handful of diced cucumber. Traditional tabbouleh has grains mixed in, and I just happened to have a little bit of millet that I’ve been meaning to use up. Very soon, I scooping bite after bite onto my favorite crackers, indulging in the aromas of a delicious summer salad.

Tabouleh 
(mediterranean parsley salad)

what you’ll need
1 bunch italian parsley, stems removed
1 cup diced grape or cherry tomatoes
2 cloves (about 2tsp) crushed garlic, blanched
1 cup diced (2 or 3 small) cucumbers, peel on
1/2 cup cooked millet (other small grains will work just as well)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp rice (or apple cider) vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp kosher or sea salt

how to do it
Combine parsley and garlic into food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add millet, cucumber & tomatoes. Pulse one or two more times, careful not to over-chop! Toss with oil, vinegar, lemon and salt. Refrigerate for one hour or overnight. The longer it sits, the better it tastes!

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