The Easiest, Most Flavorful Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh is one of those items that can really go either way. The tasteless ones dull an entire meal but the good ones can liven and brighten everything. Alon Shaya has figured out that perfect balance of brightness. The humble parsley salad shines in his capable hands. 

We caught up with Shaya, of New Orleans' eponymous Shaya restaurant, at the Seaport Food Lab. While Shaya might be gone, you can check out the rest of the chefs in residence through October. 

But if you can't make it there or to New Orleans, you can still get all the secrets for his perfect tabbouleh. Watch the video above or make the recipe below.

Tabbouleh with Preserved Lemon and Almonds

1⁄4 cup water
1⁄8 teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon Morton kosher salt, divided
2 tablespoons bulgur wheat
5 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced preserved lemon
1⁄2 teaspoon Baharat
1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 quarts lightly packed fresh parsley leaves (from about 4 bunches)
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
A quarter of a red onion, finely chopped

Bring the water to a boil with 1⁄8 teaspoon salt (this won’t take long since there’s so little of it). Put the bulgur in a small heatproof bowl, cover it with the boiling water, and cover with plastic wrap or foil until all the water is absorbed, 15 minutes or so. Fluff it with a fork and let it cool.

Whisk together the lemon juice, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, preserved lemon, baharat, and allspice. Stream in the olive oil while you whisk to finish the dressing.

Finely chop all the parsley and toss it in a large bowl with the bulgur, almonds, and onion. Drizzle in the dressing and mix by hand. Serve right away.


And if you want to make the Baharat from scratch, here’s his recipe for that as well:

YIELD: 4 to 6 servings Baharat

6 heaping tablespoons allspice berries
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1⁄4 teaspoon cumin seeds
48 cardamom pods
28 cloves
2 small dried rosebuds
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper
1 1⁄2 teaspoon finely grated nutmeg

Grind the whole spices together (in batches, if need be) until they’re a powder. Stir to combine with the cinnamon, Aleppo, and nutmeg.


YIELD: About 1⁄2 cup