Tabbouleh, classic version

First rain inBeirut today since the beginning of summer,  pouring with a vengeance;  the streets turned into small  rivers;  traffic came to a complete stop; and with the sound of rain,  the cacophony of cars honking. A  five-minute jaunt into Achrafiyeh, the eastern side of town, took me an hour and a half.

Then, as suddenly as it started, the rain stopped, the sky cleared and the honking became muted. Traffic went  back to normal;  a giant rainbow appeared  on a 180 degree stretch across the sky, embracing the city.

Please, there are no substitutions here and no playing around with proportions!  :)


  • 3 bunches of flat Italian parsley
  • 1/2 bunch of mint
  • 1 white onion or 1 bunch of green onions
  • 3 heirloom tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of bulgur #1
  • 2 large lemons, juiced
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • salt, black pepper, a dash of allspice (optional)
  • romaine lettuce young leaves to scoop out the salad (or cabbage leaves)


  1. Wash and dry mint and parsley; pick the leaves and discard the stems (or recycle).
  2. Dice the tomatoes and onions very fine. Chop the parsley and mint very fine, and by hand if possible.
  3. Soak the bulgur in water or a mixture of water and residual tomato juice (from dicing the tomatoes) for 5 minutes. Drain and squeeze well.
  4. Juice the lemons and add the olive oil and spices.
  5. Toss the parsley, mint, tomatoes, onion and bulgur in a bowl with the olive oil and lemon dressing. Serve as soon as possible.

NOTE: If you are making the tabbouleh in advance, it is preferable to add the dressing at the last moment to avoid wilting the herbs too much.

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  1. Posted October 8, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Thank you!!!!! Finally, the classic salad that I totally adore :)

  2. Posted October 8, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    SOunds like the perfection I know and love.

  3. Posted October 8, 2010 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    That is such a fresh and delicious speciality!



  4. Posted October 8, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    This looks wonderful, and is one of my favourite salads. I’ve bookmarked it so I don’t have to buy it any more.

  5. Posted October 9, 2010 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    A great salad! Thanks for sharing another great recipe!

  6. Posted October 9, 2010 at 1:31 am | Permalink

    It is one of my absolute favourites. The mint is new to me though. Will try it with the mint. Thanks!!!

    Posted October 9, 2010 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    There are recipes you’ll want to repeat again and again, appetizing tabbouleh is one of them. Wonderful grassy Herby flavor, vibrant green parsley. Serving this Lebanese jewel in a glass bowl makes a statement and takes the sophistication to a whole new level. Nutrient packed tabbouleh with rainbow of colors and flavors will fuel my body, satiates my whole soul and entertain my taste buds as a professional and mother.

  8. Posted October 9, 2010 at 3:44 am | Permalink

    Perfect. Too many recipes don’t have enough parsley in them. I get soooo frustrated. This salad should taste of fresh herbs not of bulgar! Thank you.

  9. Posted October 9, 2010 at 4:45 am | Permalink

    looks very healthy..

  10. Posted October 9, 2010 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    The best salad ever!!

  11. Posted October 9, 2010 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    My favorite salad! :)
    Thanks for the recipe – western versions tend to have more burghul and so aren’t entirely authentic. This is the way I like it.

  12. Posted October 9, 2010 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    My fav salad, looks sooooo prefect..

  13. Posted October 9, 2010 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Gorgeous rainbow! We haven’t had any rain for a few weeks now. It’s been lovely and sunny, but my garden would like some rain at this point! Great-looking tabbouleh too. I like the proportion of parsley to mint here. Sounds delicious!

  14. Posted October 9, 2010 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I got distracted with the eggplant pizza below…..yum.

    Anyway…you are so funny, Joumana. No, I promise I won’t play around with the recipe’s ingredients. After all, it’s a classic!!]
    But I think I have to make that pizza first!

  15. Posted October 9, 2010 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Is it so much cold in Beirut as is here in Athens? I think the weather has gone completely crazy these days. Anyway, thanks for the tabbuleh recipe. I wanted the authentic one. By the way what do you mean bulgur #1? Thanks again Joumana the salad is a like the rainbow full of colors and flavors.

  16. Joumana
    Posted October 9, 2010 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Katerina: We have had the hottest summer in Beirut to date and it was a relief yesterday to finally get some coolness (still it gets up to 29C!) Re: bulgur #1 it is the extra fine one, not the coarse bulgur used for pilaf.

  17. Posted October 9, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Jpoumana, I didnt know that one should add romaine salad….and you know what, I have one in my fridge, so I am tempted right now to use it tomorrow for the tabbouleh!

  18. Posted October 10, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the recipe– i love this dish, can eat silly amounts of it!!

  19. Posted October 10, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    I love Tabbouleh!!!!! I have to make your recipe at home… husband is going to be so happy :)

  20. Mark
    Posted October 11, 2010 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    You obviously want us to follow the quanities,,,, so…. Do u have anything more precise than 3 bunches

  21. Joumana
    Posted October 11, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Mark: you are absolutely right! Precision would dictate: three cups of parsley or 6 ounces (weight); 1/2 cup of mint (1 ounce). The idea here is to have mostly chopped parsley, with some mint undercurrent, a bit of onion and a bit of tomatoes; the salad should taste like lemon more than oil, even though it has oil.

  22. Posted October 12, 2010 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    I like that dash of allspice….sweetens up things and offers balance to the lemon juice.

  23. Posted October 12, 2010 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    The simplest tabbouleh is the best! :)

  24. Tatiana
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    hi! I found your blog and it’s really cool all the reciepies you give here. I am from Russia and I also have a blog and I would like to share some new stuff with my friends there. I hope you won’t mind if I translate your reciepies into Russian and put them in my blog with your name and website, of course.

  25. Joumana
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Hi Tatiana; I don’t mind at all and I would like to get to know your blog as well and discover what Russian cuisine is all about!

  26. Posted October 18, 2010 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    the classic version is what i love–so refreshing and healthful!

  27. Posted November 23, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Excellent, I’ve just moved and have an enormous patch of parsley that I can use to make this recipe! Just a question, I know you said no substitutions, but can you use curly leaf parsley instead of flat leaf? Here in Australia it seems most kebab shops use the curly variety.

  28. Joumana
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Leah, I have used the curly variety as well; to tell you the truth, even though the flat leaf is better, here in the US, the flat leaf is still too thick and does not even closely replicate the parsley one finds in Lebanon; so either way, the important thing is to mince it very finely and have a minute amount of bulgur and a lot of lemon juice and some olive oil.

  29. Posted March 22, 2011 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    Un taboulé que vous seul savez faire si bien….un régal, à refaire bientôt, bises

  30. Posted October 26, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    I read this piece of writing completely about the resemblance of most up-to-date and earlier technologies, it’s awesome article.

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