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15 March 2012







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Tabbouleh is a salad I can eat (and have eaten) daily for weeks at a time with no complaint. My Teta (Lebanese for Nana) was renowned for making the most delicious tabbouleh (but then so is every other Lebanese grandmother!). Living abroad over the last 8 years, I have noticed that Western versions of this dish use a larger bulgur-to-parsley ratio and resemble more of a couscous salad. Although Teta’s recipe calls for only a minuscule amount of bulgur, many of us in the family have chosen to neglect it altogether in order to curtail the bloating side effects. Frankly, I love parsley and don’t care much for the bulgur wheat. In any case, if you wish to add bulgur wheat, then a handful soaked in water for 15 minutes should be sufficient. Do note that it’s meant to be sprinkled sparingly, like salt. Tabbouleh is delicious served alone or as part of a meal; try it with Beer Can Chicken, Garlic Sauce and Hummus.
Serves: 4

  • 1 small handful fine (grade 1) bulgur wheat, rinsed (optional)
  • 4 plum tomatoes, cored and finely diced
  • 4 spring onions, finely diced
  • a pinch of allspice
  • 2 large bunches (about 80g/23/4oz) flat-leaf parsley, stems discarded, leaves finely chopped
  • 10 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • juice of 11/2 lemons
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper

  1. Sprinkle some salt over the tomatoes and the allspice over the spring onions and put them in a bowl.
  2. Add the parsley, mint, lemon juice and olive oil and mix all the ingredients together. Add extra seasoning to taste, if needed.
  3. Sprinkle with the bulgur wheat, if using.





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32 thoughts on “Tabbouleh

  1. Shukran Bethany,
    How wonderfully simple. I have found that local versions use too much bulgur (usually durum wheat/cracked). I like it with less for texture and flavor reasons and the bloating issue that I never thought about before may have been an instinctive thing… So maybe forget about it altogether. Also – would someone help me out with “Israeli Couscous” version served around here? That’s like bulgur on steroids – eh?
    I love couscous as served in Morocco and Tunesia and have always been fond of tabouleh – but I do not u’stand this large-format grain used in that recipe – not even visually.
    I am NOT trying to be controversial or political here, and it is not the nomenclature, but I cringe every time I see this offshoot.

  2. Quick addendum – sorry:
    I give the receipe a 5/5 rating. I did/do not see rating option on my IE8.0 browser – elas technology?
    Also want to add that I have never been too shy to sip the juice! Fabulous!!!

  3. Beth, I love raw salads and yours looks delicious. But for me tabbouleh is synonymous with cracked wheat. I like the tiny white specs it gives. But coming from you, I know this is a source I can trust! 😀

  4. Manggy- Yes it does unfortunately, but it’s still healthy for ya. However, I imagine Quinoa could fill in, without the gluten 🙂
    Khunying- Thank you so much for your support 🙂
    Alexander- Tekram 🙂 you seem to know some arabic? Thank you for the rating, I am very flattered 🙂
    Rita- Sorry to hear you can’t get parsley! not sure bout coriander, never tried it. It would be kind of like a salsa i would imagine… just heavier on the coriander. It’s quite strong, coriander though, might be too overpowering. If you do try it, let me know how it turns out.
    Shaheen- Let me know what you think once you try it this way 🙂

  5. My hubs and I love this salad. We eat this sometimes with pita and hummus – pretty healthy but real good stuff. Though we’re used to the western version with the bulgur in.. what can you say, we don’t know any better.. :o)

  6. This is so interesting. I am totally use to the “more” bulghur version and eating as a side salad with a fork. Your all-veggie version, eating as a “bundle” sounds wonderful. Sounds so fresh and good!

  7. haha thank u for clearin it up 😀 i saw some comments over other sites like they added chicken to the wheat and stuff like this and i was totally shocked cuz it got far from bein a lebanese recipe:) (im lebanese)

  8. The parsley I have planted in my new garden is so fresh and desireable that we have decided to add Tabouleh salad to our Thanksgiving menu to enjoy with family and friends, today. Thanks for your post, we are making the juicy dressing now. .. yum!

  9. Hi to all! I luv the picture where she puts her hands into the bowl full of Tabbouleh! She looks very sexy! I’m from Colombia, but lots of Lebanese people live here… it’s really nice when one of those Leb granmas say ur one of her “favorite kids”…. 🙂 I am one of those “unhappy children” (yeah, sure!)

    Not only Tabbouleh, but Kibbeh (raw, baked and fried ones), shish barak, grape leaf filled with rice and minced beef, hummus and, of course, Baklava! Wow… that was heaven on earth!

    And, of course, Lebanese women! 🙂

  10. I love Tabbouleh, and I find your recipe is very similar to mine. I am relieved to find someone else who uses the Bulgur very sparingly and prolific amounts of parsley. I am happy if I have some to add a little coriander, but I do agree that using all coriander might be somewhat overpowering. I sometimes use quinoa or even lentils instead of bulgur…. I also soak my bulgur in the seeds and juice from the tomatoes mixed with a little lemon juice and some water. I am so excited to find your blog as I love Lebanese food so much but find it hard to find good authentic recipes. Looking forward to trying these here!

  11. Years ago a coworker proudly showed me her lunch, which was a lebanese dish she made. I didn’t know what it was. Apparently it was tabouleh… but it was like 70% burghul! I probably offended her, but I insisted that wasn’t tabouleh…

  12. I keep telling people that Tabbouleh is a parsley salad but it seems like it is one of the hardest things to get through! I even saw a recipe where cucumber and carrots were added to a bunch of couscous and the remaining ingredients and being called Tabbouleh, when I commented that it is not Tabbouleh I was told that it is not bad to experiment…It is not bad to experiment but it seems that with Tabbouleh it is kind of odd to do it, I dunno if it is just me… and Tabbouleh is not even one of my favorite dishes (I know, I know, my family makes up for it though lol).
    What brought me to comment though is the fact that you sprinkled the Burghul without soaking it, this is what my mom does and for some reason I like it better when it is crunchy! I did that the other day and my husband objected to it, I guess it is because the Burghul was on the coarser side, but I never saw any fine Burghul anywhere close by, it seems a bit of a rarity in Nor-Cal.

  13. First, I had to laugh at your comment about being a wanna-be Arab. If you are, then there are at least two of us in the world. Only I’ve never been to Lebanon… much less lived there. I’m only a quarter Lebanese… but all my Lebanese cousins would agree that we’re the best part of the family! Lebanese food is what we gather around. We share dreams of finding ourselves in Beirut … seeking out our family… finally looking like we belong. Um. Anyway.

    Now on to the Tabbouleh. Finally someone who likes more parsley! Everyone around me thinks it’s a burghul salad with some parsley, not the other way around. I did, however, teach my boss (a chef) my (snarky) recipe for the stuff to serve at my wedding. As he endeavored to perfect it through multiple tastings, including a parade of my helpers and family who informed him it was seriously lacking lemon, he became a convert. To the salad. Just to prove you have to have it right.

    Thanks for your blog. Every recipe is making my heart happy.

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