This isn’t really a tabouli salad at all, but it started off that way, years ago. Slowly, ingredients got substituted, added, and modified, creating this new, hearty summer salad. It keeps beautifully for lunch the next day if it hasn’t been completely wolfed down at dinner. —Emily
Bring a small pot of water to the boil. Peel cucumber, cut into medium-sized chunks, place in a colander, and salt generously. Let sit while you prepare the other ingredients. Once the water is boiling, salt the water and add the bulgur wheat (or couscous) , cook until tender and drain. Let cool for a few minutes before adding to the salad.
While the bulgar wheat/couscous cooks, de-stem the kale, wash and spin dry, then chop medium fine. Put in a large bowl. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and energetically massage the kale with your hands until it is thoroughly coated and reduced in size. Grate the zest from the lemon and add to the kale. Grate the garlic clove—or use a garlic press—and add to the mixture. Once the bulgar wheat is slightly cooled, you can add it to this mix.
Wash grape tomatoes and cut in half. Clean and finely slice scallions. Add both to the kale.
Drain garbanzo beans and rinse; then—and here is the annoying part—try to get rid of as many garbanzo bean skins as possible. Start by putting the beans in water and shaking them vigorously and rubbing them by the handful between your hands; most of the skins will come off this way; if you like, you can pick over the remaining to remove any lingering skins. Add to the salad. Or maybe you don't care if there are some garbanzo bean skins floating around your salad, in which case you can simply add the beans after you rinse them.
Add the cucumbers to the salad. By now, they should have given off some liquid. Typically, you do not need to rinse them: any remaining salt helps flavor the salad.
Squeeze the lemon and add the juice. Toss the salad to combine all the ingredients. Add freshly ground black pepper.
Last, cube the feta and gently toss to combine. Taste for salt, adjust as needed. I've occasionally added extra lemon juice or garlic.