Author Notes: I love tabouli and eat it all summer long. Since I usually make it with cucumbers and tomatoes, it’s a summer-only indulgence. I was really inspired by the idea of using celery to make a winter-friendly tabouli salad. I love the taste of celery, and especially the leaves--green and vegetal and slightly bitter--I use celery leaves frequently in my cooking. I also love za'atar, the middle eastern herb, sesame and spice blend, and thought it would marry well with celery. In this salad, you use the celery and the leaves, and while proportions are stated in the recipe, I suggest that you adjust according to your taste. For example, I like lemony tabouli salad, so my ratio of lemon (a lot) to olive or walnut oil (a little) may not work for you. I use bulgur wheat in tabouli, which is traditional, but I’ve made it with couscous and quinoa, both of which work really well. So here’s a little bit of summer at the end of a strangely (but pleasantly) warm winter.
- 3 tablespoons dried thyme (get lemon thyme if you can.)
- 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1-2 tablespoon sumac (adds tartness)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup bulgur wheat
- 1/4 cup za'atar
- 1 3/4 cup boiling water
- Juice and zest of 1-2 lemons
- 2 tablespoons walnut or olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- 4-6 inner stalks of celery with leaves, finely chopped (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of chopped celery with leaves)
- 1 spring onion or 2 scallions, minced
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
- more za'atar as needed
- crumbled feta cheese (optional)
- In a large bowl, stir za’atar into bulgur wheat and pour boiling water over the mixture. Let sit until the water is completely absorbed, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, zest and juice your lemon, chop your parsley, onions and celery, toast your walnuts.
- When the wheat has absorbed all the water and cooled to room temperature, stir in zest and juice of one lemon (you might add more later) and 2 tablespoons of walnut or olive oil. Add in chopped parsley, onions and celery and stir well. Taste it. Add salt and pepper to taste, and adjust the rest of the seasoning to your taste. You may need more oil and/or lemon juice, and you may want to stir in more za’atar.
- To serve, scoop the tabouli onto a plate and add a tablespoon or so of plain yogurt. Sprinkle the yogurt with a tablespoon of the chopped walnuts and a pinch or two of za’atar. (I've also eaten it with a sprinkling of feta cheese, and it's really good!)
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Celery Recipe