Tabbouleh is all about the parsley. It is not a bulgur salad with some parsley to flavor and freshen it up. It’s a parsley salad. Fresh, grassy, flat-leafed parsley chopped lovingly in zen bliss (or frenetically to heavy metal if that’s your jam) by hand. And a lot of it. So much that it’s a commitment. All that’s required is a sharp knife. Fine bulgur is traditionally used and requires less soaking time, but it’s not that easy to find. If you have a Middle Eastern market close by or want to order online, go for it, but we use the more accessible medium-grind bulgur.
Don’t try to process the herbs in a food processor, you’ll end up with pesto or a puree.
We do recommend using the tender parsley stems in addition to the parsley leaves. The stems give a little texture and juiciness. It’s less waste and tons of flavor.
Pour 1/2 cup of boiling water over the bulgur in a heat-proof bowl or 2-cup glass measuring cup, cover, then let soak for 30 minutes. Drain bulgur if very wet, then return to the bowl and stir in 3 tablespoons of the lemon zest and juice, oil, the salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
Transfer the bulgur to a mixing bowl and gently stir in the parsley, mint, tomatoes, red onions, and cucumbers. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately with lettuce leaves if you like.