Bulgur Salad with Spring Herbs

I grow a number of herbs in my garden.  They are not only great to have for cooking, they are also pretty, easy-going members of my garden plant communities.  While tabouleh is often made with parsley, I’m highlighting three mild fresh green herbs in this version:  mint, lemon balm, and fennel fronds.  They’re like good friends, and play well together on the palate.  And, just for fun, I added some primrose petals for a bit of color.  (Yes!  some flowers are edible)

lemon, primrose, mint, fennel fronds, and lemon balm

Bulgur Salad with Spring Herbs

Lemon balm is a delightful, easy to grow herb, and smells of lemon.  I grow a couple different types of mint.  In this recipe I use my favorite for cooking – Kentucky Colonel.  I lightly dressed the bulgur and herbs with olive oil and fresh lemon juice, seasoning with sea salt to taste.  Simple, easy, fresh and satisfying.  Enjoy!

Bulgur Salad with Spring Herbs

1 cup wheat bulgur
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 cups boiling water
fresh squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
3 TB olive oil
2 – 3 sprigs mint
2 – 3 sprigs lemon balm
fennel fronds

In a medium bowl, pour boiling water over bulgur and salt.  Cover and let sit for 20 minutes.  Remove cover, fluff the bulgur, and cool in the fridge for another 20 minutes.

Chop herbs fine, then mix into the prepared bulgur with the olive oil and lemon juice.  Add more salt to taste if needed, then serve.  Garnish with edible flowers if desired.

What is it? Parsley.

This green, green herb has a long and important culinary history.  Often relegated to the role of garnish, parsley deserves some attention as a culinary mainstay.  It’s fresh, nutritious, and mildly savory.  Parsley (petroselinum hortense) is the best known member of its botanical family — the parsley family.  Other parsley family herbs include cilantro, caraway, carrot, dill, fennel, and celery.

Parsley is also grown as a root vegetable.  While all parsley types are biennial root-producers, Hamburg Root Parsley is a type of parsley that produces an especially fat root that looks like a chubby white carrot.  Parsley root is a great stew and soup vegetable with a mild parsley flavor.  Try it in chicken soup.

Use flat leaved, or Italian parsley for cooking.  The flavor is superior to that of curly parsley – which is still a beautiful and edible herb.

If you have a little garden space, consider growing parsley.  It is an easy to grow herb, but the seeds can take a while to germinate.  Easier still, buy parsley seedlings at your local nursery, set them out in your garden, give them a little water, and you’ll be enjoying this timeless herb all summer.

One simple recipe that stars parsley is Tabouleh.  This classic salad is very common in the middle east.  Made with summer ripe garden tomatoes, Tabouleh is delicious, refreshing, and super good for you.  There are hundreds of versions of this popular salad out there.  This is how I like mine.

Tabouleh

1 cup wheat bulgur
1 cup boiling water
1 bunch flat leaved parsley, stems removed, chopped fine
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
1 large or 2 small tomatoes, chopped
fresh squeezed juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup good olive oil
sea salt

Place wheat bulgur in a heatproof bowl.  Pour the boiling water onto the bulgur.  Cover with tight fitting lid or plastic wrap.  Set aside for 20 – 30 minutes.

Fluff the prepared bulgur with a fork.  Add the remainder of the ingredients, mixing just to combine.  Add salt to taste.  Refrigerate, covered.  Serve at room temp, or cold.

note: Tabouleh recipes often include chopped onion or scallion.