Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sunday Lunch With Another Kind of Grandmother

It’s still January and still cold with snow and sleet expected, but we need a break from stew, chili, and soups at my house. Last week I told you here about a typical Sunday meal at my grandmother’s house. Today I want to share a recipe from another Sunday meal I was frequently privileged to share. I grew up in a small town on the Mississippi River. One of the nice things about river towns, is that they are usually culturally diverse. As a young girl, I often spent Saturday night with one of my good friends who was of Lebanese descent. After attending the Greek Orthodox church with her, we went to her grandmother’s for lunch. Teta spoke not a word of English, but she spoke the international language of love—food. Lunch at Teta’s was a bustling lively affair with new smells, food, and sounds.


My favorite thing on the menu was tabouleh—a salad made with bulgur wheat and fresh vegetables! Bulgur (or bulghar) wheat is a whole wheat that has been cleaned, dried, parboiled, and ground. It is a common ingredient in Turkish, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean dishes. I found this in the “natural” section of Kroger. I have eaten this salad in restaurants, but it has never matched my memories or the recipe I was given.


If we can’t have spring, at least we can eat something that tastes like spring. The parsley and mint in this salad give it a unique flavor! If you have never tried it, you’ve been missing a treat—easy, delicious, and it only gets better with time. I’ll be serving this tonight with stuffed cabbage rolls and I’ll share that with you soon..


1 cup bulgar wheat

4 cups water

1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped

6-8 mint leaves, chopped

3 tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup lemon juice or more to taste

1/2 cup olive oil

1 cucumber, chopped (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the wheat in the water until soft (at least 1/2 hour). Drain thoroughly. Add chopped vegetables, lemon juice, and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Chill until served. I add the cucumber because I like it and Teta added it. This can be made in advance and gets better with time!

I’ll be linking this with Michael Lee West at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday. You can click on her button on Thursday night to see what’s cooking over there!


  1. I often make this salad, it's so refreshing! I put a southwest spin on it, though, I use cilantro instead of mint. It's great either way, but I love cilantro, so usually that's what I toss in.
    Thanks for visiting my blog!

  2. I used to share this frequently with one of the department heads. We were the only one that cared for it and kept it all to ourselves. I have not seen a recipe for it in forever, thanks for sharing.

  3. I would love to try this - it sounds very good. Thanks!

  4. Hi Susan, thanks for your visit and your thoughtful comment. I am a big fan of tabouleh. I love that you were introduced to it in a small town on the Mississippi River!

  5. Oh, that sounds good. They serve a good version of it at Petra Cafe.

  6. I have to try this. I have heard of it but never had the occasion to try it, so I am going to try your recipe!! It looks delicious!! Thanks, Susan!!


  7. this is a must try! and i will be excited to see what you bring to fridays foodie party!

  8. Thanks for your visit to my blog...I have a little dog like yours, except mine is white. You have a very nice blog, so fun to meet new people! :D

  9. Hello!
    Thanks for coming over to my blog and leaving a comment.Lovely to get to know new faces.
    I love Tabouleh,nice and light and good for my figure.Have been eating far too many chocs and biscuits of late...must get into some healthy eating!


  10. I've seen this grain before and it does look interesting and delicious! Enjoy your day!

  11. You've reminded me of a recipe I have using bulgur wheat. I love the texture and how easy it is to use. Your recipe sounds delicious.


  12. Susan, I have never made this, but it looks delicious! I'll have to try this. It looks like it is so healthy. Great new recipe.

  13. That's such a wonderful story :) I've never made Tabouleh but it does remind me of spring that I so desperately long for right now!

  14. Susan, this sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I think that recipes like this, passed down from family or close family friends, are always the best. We have a lot of Lebanese restaurants in Florida, and I always enjoy tabouleh. Thanks for sharing your memories and your recipe with us!

    Happy Foodie Friday...


    Sheila :-)

  15. Hi Susan,

    It was good to read about the happy memories of lunch with your friend.
    I like tabouleh and even better, that it is a healthy dish.

    Happy weekend

  16. Hello there!
    Woo hoo we are having seconds, sounds good to me!

  17. This looks so fresh and tasty!

  18. How lovely to have friends from all over and all different. it has to be enriching!! The salad looks awesome! tq for visiting :))

  19. Susan, this looks and sounds delicious! And what a wonderful memory for you!

  20. I love having friends from different places and sharing their culture. It is fantastic. We have so many memories tied to food and sharing meals. It is really so much more important than we probably realize.:) Thanks for sharing your great recipe.

  21. My HS friend is married to a Lebanese man..a dentist, who went to Law School when he retired, LOL...She is Irish like me..and I am amazed she has come to love these dishes. I have not acquired the taste..but I do love Pierogi which I never had till I married my husband who has Ukrainian heritage. I have spent many hours making them..sheet on the table, flour flying..LOL!

  22. Mmmmm... this post makes me so eager for summer time!


  23. Hello Susan, I just scrolled down to several of your posts and enjoyed them so much. Sunshine's white dress is gorgeous and so is she. I love the personal things on your secretary. You are a romantic even if you don't claim Valentines Day. Smile. Which takes me to your gorgeous wreath. Good job on that one. The Saints will win the SB I hope. I agree, that town needs some happiness. Mmmm, Waldorf salad. My sister makes Tabouleh. I like it too. I would rather have the Waldorf though.

    Have a happy day.
    Hugs, Jeanne

  24. I love tabouleh. We used to get it at a place where we had our lake cabin when I was a kid. Haven't had it in a long time. Will have to have it again soon.

    Christi @ A Southern Life

  25. I love tabouleh and since my husband is Armenian, I have had this a lot, and we especially enjoy it in summer.

  26. I agree; each bite of Tabouleh gives a sweet hint of spring. Thank you so much for the recipe.

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  28. This Looks so good! We'll have to give it a try! A recipe to remind me of spring is perfect!

  29. Oh this makes me miss the year I spent in Greece. I adored your rose wreath a few posts down. It looked as though I was in good company. Well done.

  30. Susan, I ♥ ♥ ♥ tabouleh!! We had a Lebanese gal on our tennis team & we alrequested that she make it for our pot-luck luncheons. I've never tried doing it myself, so your recipe is already copied & saved for future reference. All I need is the b.wheat & the mint....everything else I have on hand.

    Oh & I am soooooo there if you are making stuffed cabbage rolls! I use a BIG can of V-8 juice instead of the tomato soup or sauce in most recipes. You'll love the added flavors it provides.
    I look forward to seeing your take on these soon. :D


  31. Susan, I adore tabouleh, too. And I love that your memories of it have a story and friends that go along with it which makes it all that much more special.

    Me? I was introduced to it at a non-descript health food store at the deli counter in my hometown back in the '70's! Lackluster compared to your memories. *grin*

    xo~ m

    P.S. I had to do a double-take... Bob's Red Mill is just a little over 3 hours from my house!

  32. I love tabouleh! We used to get it at a great restaurant that is now closed...glad to have your recipe...must try it!

    Thanks for your vist and lovely comments...I'm making the rounds a little late...Hope you are having a great weekend.

    Miss Bloomers

  33. Susan, I've never eaten tabouleh (such a sheltered life!). I'll try your recipe soon. Such an interesting story about your friend and her grandmother. You are so good at telling a story. laurie

  34. Great memory and delicious looking meal!

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