Water Cress and Orange Tabbouleh

Preparation info

  • Serves

    4 to 6

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini

By Elizabeth Schneider

Published 2001

  • About

This unusual form of the popular Middle Eastern green and grain salad has more herbal variety and punch than the original. Water cress gives textural definition, sharp flavoring, and a tonic bitter freshness to the soaked wheat grains, while orange adds sweetness and color, and its aromatic zest.


  • 1 cup medium or coarse bulgur wheat
  • 1 large bunch water cress (or nasturtium leaves; see Note)
  • 1 medium bunch mint
  • 1 medium bunch dill
  • 3 or 4 medium green scallions (green onions), sliced
  • 3 small oranges, well scrubbed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Optional: ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon ground hot pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons full-flavored olive oil
  • ½ cup lightly toasted walnuts
  • 1 small head romaine lettuce, rinsed and dried


    1. Combine wheat with boiling water to cover by several inches. Soak until grains are plumped and no longer hard, 15 to 30 minutes. Pour into a sieve and press to drain. Leave in sieve and, every now and then, fluff and bounce to dry out as you prepare the other ingredients.
    2. Sample cress stems; if fibrous, trim as needed. Rinse cress and spin-dry. Reserve some sprigs for garnish. Thin-slice lower cress stems; slice upper parts about ½ inch wide. Strip leaves from mint and dill; discard stalks. Rinse and spin-dry leaves. Bunch and slice leaves, then mince together with scallions. Toss with cress. (You should have about 1 quart.)
    3. Grate zest from 1 orange. Halve and juice the orange. Combine juice, zest, salt, cinnamon, and optional hot pepper. Halve lemon. Squeeze juice from one half and add to orange mixture. Slice the other half for garnish.
    4. Toss together wheat, half the juice mixture, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the chopped greens, remaining juice mixture, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil; toss. Chill 1 hour or more, as convenient.
    5. Taste and season. To serve, cut peel and pith from remaining 2 oranges. Section by cutting between membranes to release sections; then halve. Chop walnuts. Save smallest romaine leaves for garnish. Stack and slice enough remaining leaves to make 2 cups thin ribbons. Toss with wheat mixture, oranges, and nuts. Garnish with cress, the small romaine leaves, and lemon slices.