My recipe for my cooking segment on UCTV’s show Wake Up UConn featured a middle eastern salad called tabouleh that you can enjoy as a main dish or as a side dish. I like this dish as a main dish but if you prefer it as a side dish, you can prepare it with fresh grilled fish or even simply a baked potato.

Sylvia and I on set after making tabouleh. To watch us prepare the dish together, click on the picture above and it will take you to the Wake Up UConn episode. My cooking segment is from 16:00 to 20:15 in the show.

I have changed this dish up from its traditional way of making it. Now, I think the dish is even simpler to make. It is a nice cool and refreshing spring or summer salad that like I said before can be enjoyed either a main dish or as a side dish. This recipe will make four servings of tabouleh if being used as a main dish and takes less than twenty minutes to prepare.

Ingredients used for tabouleh included: cherry tomatoes, hot house cucumber, fresh basil, and green onions.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes

So here’s what you will need to make this:

  • 20 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 to 3 scallions (green onions)
  • 1/3 of a hot house cucumber
  • 1/3 cup of chopped basil
  • 1 cup dry cous cous
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons of lemon juice

Here’s how to make my simplified recipe for tabouleh. Start by making your cous cous. Though you can buy instant boxed cous cous at the store, I prefer to buy dry cous cous and make it myself. To make cous cous, put a pot on your stove over high high with one cup of water and bring to a boil. If you want your cous cous to have more flavor, you can use half a cup of vegetable broth and half a cup of water. Once the water is boiling, add in your one cup of dry cous cous and stir. Remove your pot from the heat and cover. Let this stand for about five minutes, and then fluff with a fork. You can now place your cous cous in a medium mixing bowl uncovered and set aside for now.

Finished tabouleh

Set to work washing your tomatoes, scallions, cucumber, and basil leaves. Once washed, dry all of these off. Cut your cherry tomatoes in half and place aside on a piece of paper towel. This is done to eliminate the excess moisture from the tomatoes that would otherwise make your dish soggy. Next, take your hot house cucumber (NOT a regular cucumber because all the seeds and the excess moisture really ruins this dish in my opinion) and cut about a third of it to use. Chop your hot house cucumber into bite size pieces and set aside, also on a paper towel. Then move onto your scallions. Check them over to make sure you have removed all dirt and grit and then chop your scallions into bite size pieces. Chop loosely about a third of a cup of basil leaves.

Now go back to your cous cous, which should be cooler now. Add in about 1.5 tablespoons of lemon juice as well as one tablespoon of olive oil. Mix well and then add more lemon juice if needed. Next, add your tomatoes, scallions, cucumber and fresh basil to the bowl. Mix well and serve cold.

Note: If you want a more traditional preparation of this dish, your dish should also include bulgur wheat (instead of cous cous), fresh mint and flat leaf parsley as well as eliminate fresh basil. I chose not to use these because I was simplifying the recipe for a faster dish to prepare but here’s what to do if you want to include these as well.

If you want to make this dish in a more traditional way, you can replace your cous cous with bulgur wheat. You prepare the bulgur wheat in the same way as cous cous by bringing it to a boil with your water (or water and vegetable broth) and then removing from heat and letting stand for a couple minutes. Additionally, one cup of dry bulgur wheat yields three cups just like the cous cous.

You can also choose to include mint and flat leaf parsley. The mint, like the basil, really adds a nice flavor and gives the salad an even more refreshing taste. Flat leaf parsley is essential in making this dish in the classic middle eastern way. So if you choose to include these two ingredients as well if you are looking to make a more traditional tabouleh dish, add about 1/4 of a cup of chopped mint and about 1 cup of chopped flat leaf parsley to the ingredients above.

Tabouleh Nutrition Facts

Tabouleh Nutrition Facts Ctd

Here are the nutrition facts for my simplified tabouleh dish, NOT the traditional recipe.

In one serving of tabouleh if used as a main dish, you are consuming 185 calories and 32.8 grams of your total carbohydrates, 3.3 grams from dietary fiber and 2.7 grams from sugar. You are also getting over 350 milligrams of potassium and 5.7 grams of protein in one serving.

Moving onto vitamins and minerals for one serving, you are getting about 5% of your daily vitamin B-6, over 20% of your daily vitamin A, and over 30% of your daily vitamin C. You are also getting almost 5% of your daily iron, almost 10% of your daily magnesium and manganese, over 10% of your daily niacin and almost 50% of you daily selenium.

Complete nutritional facts seen in the images have been calculated using Sparks Recipe Calculator.