Tabbouli salad

This salad, which is always present  on a mezze, is the essence of Lebanese cuisine. When it is properly made, it is like being thrust into a garden: the fragrance imparted by the fresh parsley is incredibly titillating. There is no other salad in the world with such a shock value for the senses. That is why, when I am ready to make tabbooleh, I know it will take some time and patience! I pick the parsley and mint  leaves leisurely while watching TV or listening to music, I chop the leaves by hand with a sharp knive, I dice the tomatoes and onion methodically, I juice the lemons, all the while knowing that the result will be to my utmost satisfaction. This is the only way to make tabbooleh, and I cannot stress it enough! don’t trust a mix, don’t buy your tabbooleh at a deli in the supermarket (horror), only rely on trusted hands (yours!).


4 bunches of italian parsley

1 large onion (or 4 green onions)

1 bunch of fresh mint

4 large tomatoes (vine or heirloom)

1/2 cup of bulgur #1 (extra fine)

2 or 3 lemons

1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

salt, pepper, pinch of allspice (optional)


1. Wash and dry the parley and mint

2. Pick the leaves and discard the stems from the herbs

3. Slowly chop the herbs with a sharp knife until they are chopped very finely, as fine as you can get them

4. Wash the onions, and chop them very fine

5. Wash the tomatoes and dice them in very small little cubes

6. Rinse the bulgur, and let it sit in a bowl with some cold water  to cover or lemon juice for 3 minutes. Then, drain it  into a sieve, pressing with a wooden spoon until dry.

7. Assemble the tabbooleh: In a serving bowl, put the parsley and mint, then the onion, then the tomatoes, then the bulgur.

8. Prepare the dressing: juice 2 large lemons or enough to equal 1/2 cup of juice; add the extra virgin olive oil and the spices and mix with a fork to emulsify.

9. Pour the dressing on the tabbooleh right before serving and mix the salad thoroughly.

10. Serve with some cabbage or romaine or iceberg leaves  placed on a side bowl to use individually to spoon the salad in. If you have some fresh and tender vine leaves you can use them as well to cup the salad in. Sahteyn!

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  1. Posted May 3, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed making tis dish – everything in it is so so fresh – lemon juice, herbs, tomatoes … lovely lovely side dish :) I will make it again in the near future :) ps: It was great to discover the bulgur as well :) xxx

  2. Posted July 4, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful presentation. Beautiful.

  3. Diane Brady
    Posted February 22, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I am an American, of Lebanese descent. My Grandparents are from Aitoo. The tabooleh recipe they use has parsley, lemon, oil, onions, tomatoes, plus green peppers, cucumbers, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Is allspice similar to cinnamon? Do you ever add peppers or cucumbers to your salad?

  4. Joumana
    Posted February 22, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    @Diane: Hi and I wanted to say that traditional tabbouleh has no cucumber nor peppers; the one salad that does have these two is fattoush salad. Now that is not to say that there are no variations between villages and such, but this is the standard. I have seen tabbouleh made with geranium flowers! See my post on national tabbouleh day in Beirut last summer.
    Allspice and cinnamon are distinctly different in taste; they are used in most of Lebanese savory cooking, butas far as tabbouleh I have seen people use allspice in tabbouleh instead of black pepper.

  5. Posted April 7, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    My favorite salad. My aunt makes it wonderfully.

  6. Posted October 14, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    It’s actually a cool and useful piece of info. I am satisfied that you just shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Posted July 8, 2014 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    Howdy! This blog post couldn’t be written much better!
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3 Trackbacks

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