My first introduction to real tabbouleh was through my Lebanese friends in DC. My college roommates and closest friends were from Beirut, so we’d spend a few evenings throughout the year eating incredible home cooked Lebanese food with their families. I was straight up spoiled. They had a big influence on my culinary tastes, and you’ll find my kitchen always stocked with za’atar, sumac, and plenty of fresh mint and garlic.
I prefer Lebanese style tabbouleh compared to other varieties because it’s much greener and uses more herbs instead of grain. A traditional Lebanese tabbouleh calls for lots of parsley, cucumber, mint, tomato, white onion, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, a pinch of cinnamon and allspice, and just a small amount of bulgur. It feels much lighter and more alive than other varieties that use several cups of bulgur as the base.
Since bulgur is wheat, I like to substitute my tabbouleh with hulled hemp seeds (or hemp hearts as you might have seen them called before) for a gluten-free version. Here’s a quick look at the nutritional profile of hemp:
Nutritional Profile: Hemp Seeds
- A high protein seed containing all nine of the essential amino acids
- Nature’s highest botanical source of essential fatty acid, with more essential fatty acid than flax or any other nut or seed oil
- A perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid and Omega-3 Linolenic Acid which is good for cardiovascular health and general strengthening of the immune system
- A rich source of phytonutrients, the disease-protective element of plants with benefits protecting your immunity, bloodstream, tissues, cells, skin, organs and mitochondria
- The richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids
- Hemp does not contain phytic acid, the chemical that inhibits nutrient absorption in most seeds and nuts unless soaked, making this seed easy to digest and readily obtain its nutrients
I also substituted the tomato with red radish, since tomatoes are nightshades and have been known to cause inflammation. And a note on the alliums – raw onions and I just don’t get along, so I left it out of this recipe and used garlic instead. However, if you love them feel free to add diced onions into this mix.
RADISH & HEMP SEED TABBOULEH
1 cucumber, peeled & diced
4 radishes, diced
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
½ cup hulled hemp seeds
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp Himalayan pink salt (or sea salt of your choice)
juice of 2 lemons
Peel and halve your cucumber lengthwise, then use a spoon to scrape seeds from your cucumber. Cut into lengthwise strips, then dice cucumber into small cubes. Place into a large bowl, then add in the remaining chopped ingredients. Toss with olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Grind in fresh pepper to taste, add more salt if desired.
Note: While cooling cucumbers and salads in general are good for balancing pitta, radishes can have a slightly heating effect. Omit the radishes from this recipe if needed.