Celery and Za’atar Tabouli

By • March 11, 2012 • 35 Comments

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Author Notes: I love tabouli and eat it all summer long. I usually make it with cucumbers and tomatoes, but they can get watery and don't travel well. 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, 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.
drbabs

Food52 Review: WHO: Drbabs is a Food52er we know and love -- and trust in the kitchen.
WHAT: A new version of tabouli, created with portability in mind.
HOW: Make bulgur, add mix-ins. That's it -- seriously.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Run-of-the-mill tabouli has a way of getting water-logged too easily. By replacing the normal tomato and cucumber with sturdy nuts and crunchy celery, drbabs has effectively solved that problem. Pack the smart garnishes (yogurt, feta, and extra spice), and take this on your longest trip -- we dare you.
The Editors

Serves 4

Za'atar (If you can't find it ready-made)

  • 3 tablespoons dried thyme (or lemon thyme, if you can find it)
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (not traditional, but adds a nice bite of heat)

Tabouli

  • 1 cup bulgur wheat
  • 1/4 cup za'atar
  • 1 3/4 cups boiling water
  • Juice and zest of 1 to 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons walnut or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 4 to 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 freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • More za'atar as needed
  • Crumbled feta cheese (optional)
  1. 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.
  2. 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. 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.
  3. 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!)
Jump to Comments (35)

Comments (35) Questions (0)

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10 months ago Cristel

I loooove tabouleh and this version was absolutely delicious. I used cracked freekeh instead of bulgur wheat, which I cooked until al dente, about 12-15min.
The salad was just as good the next day. What a scrumptious lunch it made!

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over 1 year ago lapadia

Cheeers to being a finalist, drbabs!

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over 1 year ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, lapadia! It's so much fun.

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over 1 year ago QueenSashy

QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.

I so wanted to test it, but it was already taken. I made it last night and love-love-loved it!!!

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over 1 year ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, I'm so glad you did. I'll be making yours is week.

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over 1 year ago Kukla

Congratulations Barbara! I love tabbouleu and your combination of ingredients sounds great! Good luck!

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over 1 year ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much, Kukla.

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over 1 year ago EmilyC

Big congrats drbabs! I was one of the testers for this dish -- my family absolutely loved it! So happy to see this here as a finalist.

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over 1 year ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Hi Emily, I'm so happy y'all liked it.

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over 1 year ago JanetFL

Sounds wonderful! I really dislike soggy dishes so love the idea of using nuts and celery in this Tabouli. Congratulations on being a finalist! You and Queen Sashy certainly make voting a challenge!

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over 1 year ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, Janet!

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over 1 year ago healthierkitchen

This is a za'atar week!! Congrats!

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over 1 year ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks. Every week is za'atar week in my house-- we love it!

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almost 2 years ago veghead

I was looking for a recipe that used celery. This is a winner - tastes wonderful. I am always looking for an excuse to use za'atar. i did add sorrel and tomatoes (kind of needed to clean out the fridge). Thanks for posting this.

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almost 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I'm so glad you liked it. Tabouli is great for fridge cleaning!

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over 2 years ago LE BEC FIN

babs, i think you may have finally got me to try my hand at za'atar! lovely components here; thx much for the inspiration!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, le bec fin, it's one of my favorite combinations. Like everything else, it's best when the thyme and sumac are really fresh.

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

Oh yum -- this is absolutely lovely!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, Emily!

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over 2 years ago Panfusine

oooh, this sounds so AWESOME!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, you're so sweet!

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over 2 years ago cheese1227

This looks fabulous!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Wow, thanks so much!

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over 2 years ago Bevi

Wow, the Doctor did it again! I can't wait to make this for our annual spring pot luck.

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, Bevi! I hope you enjoy it!

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over 2 years ago wssmom

This is PERFECT with the nutty warm weather we're having!!! Great job!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks!

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over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Nicely done Dr B - this is a perfect make and keep for lunch during the week dish ... which I will be doing soon!!!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, A! I hope you enjoy!

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over 2 years ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

yummy drbabs. and pretty!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, em. Photography is not my strong suit, but I keep trying!

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over 2 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I love tabbouleh, I love celery, ergo, I love your combination!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, b. You're so sweet to comment.

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I'm in love with this recipe, really love tabouli and the celery is such an unexpected and wonderful twist. Will be making this!!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much! I hope you enjoy it!