Traditional tabbouleh is a Levantine vegetarian dish, or eastern Mediterranean dish, that typically consists of bulgur, chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, finely chopped parsley, mint, and onion and is seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and sometimes garlic. This tabbouleh has the addition of chicken and the dressing uses fresh orange juice and zest instead of lemon. You can definitely play around with the ingredients; this is just a version I have made for years that also keeps well in the refrigerator and is a great leftover for lunch the next day.
Here are the dressing ingredients:
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Juice and zest from one orange
- 1/4 cup white balsamic or white wine vinegar
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar or carafe and shake well or mix with a hand blender until fully emulsified and set aside.
For the salad, you will need:
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup bulgur wheat
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 3 scallions, finely chopped
- 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
To begin, place washed chicken breasts in a medium-size sauce pan on high heat and cover with chicken broth. When this has come to a boil, turn down to low heat and simmer until chicken is fully cooked (usually takes about 15-20 minutes). Remove chicken breasts and place them on a plate or shallow dish to cool a bit.
Add the cup of bulgur to the sauce pan and let this sit in the hot broth for 20 minutes or so while you prepare the rest of the salad. If after 20 minutes the bulgur is not completely cooked, turn the heat back on simmer and continue to let the bulgur cook until al dente stirring every few minutes to prevent sticking to the bottom of the sauce pan.
After chopping the bell pepper, scallions and parsley, add them to a medium bowl and stir in the raisins. Take the chicken breasts and cut them into bite-sized pieces and add to the other chopped ingredients.
When the bulgur is fully cooked, add it to the chopped chicken and other ingredients, pour over the dressing and toss to fully combine everything. I usually serve this salad over romaine leaves with roasted asparagus on the side.
*the beautiful wooden (poplar) platter, or bread bowl, is from J Parker Reclaimed in Laurel, MS, my hometown.