Traditional Lebanese tabbouleh is a finely chopped herb salad with a little bulgar for texture, tomatoes for acidity and color, and cucumber for crunch. Since it’s packed with copious amounts of parsley and mint, fava beans and radishes are a natural substitution for a fetching springtime variation. Watercress makes a beautiful bed for the salad and adds a peppery element. I made a lemon vinaigrette with tahini, sumac, and allspice for an exotic and complex dressing that would be delicious on just about anything.
Spring Tabbouleh with Fava Beans & Watercress
serves 4 as a side dish
for the vinaigrette
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 2 lemons
1 small garlic clove, pressed
1 tblsp tahini, well-stirred
1/4 tsp sumac
a pinch of allspice
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
6 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
for the salad
1/2 cup bulgar wheat, soaked according to instructions, excess water squeezed out, cooled
2 cups finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
1 cup finely chopped mint leaves
3 scallions, white and pale green parts only, very thinly sliced on the diagonal
1/2 cup fava beans, shelled, blanched, and shelled again
4 radishes, scrubbed, trimmed, finely chopped
1 cup watercress leaves, well-washed and de-stemmed
1. Make the vinaigrette: in a small bowl, combine all ingredients except olive oil and whisk together with a fork. In a slow, steady stream, whisk in the olive oil.
2. Make the salad: in a large bowl, combine the bulgar, herbs, scallions, fava beans, and radishes. Toss with the vinaigrette. Lay the watercress at the bottom of your serving bowl, leaving some leaves peaking out of the sides. Spoon the tabbouleh on top.