While Parsley is actually an herb rather than a vegetable and often thought of as a garnish rather than an ingredient, incorporating it into your diet has many health benefits. Parsley is a great source of vitamin A & C (which are both antioxidants!) as well as folic acid (vitamin B9) and vitamin K, which is difficult to get via dietary means. Traditionally a sprig would be eaten between courses to cleanse the palate as well as afterwards to freshen the breath.
The name Parsley comes from the Greek word Petrose meaning rock as it tends to grow there, and the Greek word selenium meaning celery as it is of the same family. Curly parsley is native to the Mediterranean where it has been used since the time of the Romans. Olympic victors were adorned with parsley, and it was placed upon the tombs of the deceased.
Recipes for tabbouleh vary from region to region, but this is our go-to from the master of cooking from the Levant. Recipe supplied by Anissa Helou, anissas.com (via The Guardian)
- 30g fine bulgur wheat
- 600g firm ripe tomatoes, diced into small cubes
- 50g spring onions, trimmed and very thinly sliced
- 400g flat-leaf parsley, most of the stalk discarded, very finely chopped
- 70g mint, leaves only, very finely chopped
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground allspice/Lebanese seven-spice mix
- ¼ tsp finely ground black pepper
- Salt to taste
- Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
- 150ml extra virgin olive oil
- 4 gem lettuce, washed and quartered
Rinse the bulgur in several changes of cold water. Drain well and put in a bowl. Stir it with a fork every now and then to help fluff it up.
Drain the diced tomatoes, then put in a bowl. A word of warning: do not chop the herbs with a mezzaluna. This will only bruise them. Instead, use a razor-sharp knife, gather as much as you can handle in a bunch and slice them very thin to end up with nice, crisp thin strips. Add the spring onion and herbs. Sprinkle the bulgur all over. Season with the cinnamon, allspice and pepper. Add salt to taste, then lemon juice and olive oil. Mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately with the quartered gem lettuce.
Note: Cooked quinoa or millet can be used in place of bulgur wheat in order to make this dish gluten free! Cauliflower-rice can be used in order to make it Paleo-friendly.