Tabbouleh, classic version

October 8, 2010  •  Category:

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.


37 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Anh says:

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

  2. A Canadian Foodie says:

    SOunds like the perfection I know and love.

  3. Rosa says:

    That is such a fresh and delicious speciality!



  4. Mary says:

    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. Angie's Recipes says:

    A great salad! Thanks for sharing another great recipe!

  6. carina says:

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

  7. SYLVIA says:

    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. Rachel K says:

    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. Cherine says:

    The best salad ever!!

  10. Grapefruit says:

    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.

  11. Priya says:

    My fav salad, looks sooooo prefect..

  12. lisaiscooking says:

    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!

  13. Barbara says:

    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!

  14. Katerina says:

    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.

    • Joumana says:

      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.

  15. Magdalena says:

    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!

  16. Karen says:

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

  17. Erica says:

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

  18. Mark says:

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

    • Joumana says:

      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.

  19. peter says:

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

  20. Mathai says:

    The simplest tabbouleh is the best! 🙂

  21. Tatiana says:

    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.

    • Joumana says:

      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!

  22. grace says:

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

  23. Leah says:

    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.

    • Joumana says:

      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.

  24. domi says:

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

  25. Seth says:

    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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    • Joumana says:

      @restaurant agadir: I am having the newsletter, RSS and subscription installed in the next week or so. Thank you for your patience.

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