Thursday, July 5, 2012

# 5 Lebanese Salad - Tabouleh


Next stop: Lebanon! I adore Mediterranean cuisine and Lebanese food is no exception. Every time I go to a
Lebanese restaurant I always order tabouleh. It's such a tasty refreshing salad! It goes great with mezze, the Lebanese version of tapas. I find making tabouleh quite simple, there's not a lot to mess up except for not cutting things properly.

Before I picked tabouleh as a Lebanese dish I checked to make sure it was actually from Lebanon. Because when it comes to middle eastern food I always get confused which dish originates from where. Every country in the region seems to claim the same national dishes (think of hummus for example). On my quest of figuring out which dish originates from where I discovered all claims are basically correct. All these claiming countries used to be united as a part of the Ottoman empire [Ottoman Syria], and therefore share culinary traditions. There's even a name for these common eating habits: Levantine Cuisine. So there's no more need for arguments!

Glad I just figured out how to peace bring peace to the middle east.. Now, lets get back to our salad...

Tabouleh is a salad made of parsley cucumber tomato onions and bulgur. Bulgur is a whole wheat grain that has been cracked. I personally would describe it as somewhere in between rice and couscous. I find it a shame many people have never heard of bulgur. It's lovely, healthy, and easy to prepare! Although I have seen it popping up in supermarkets lately, I get mine at a Turkish deli [health food stores are also an option]. There are two kinds of bulgur, fine-grind and coarse-grind. Here I use fine-grind but you could also use course-grind.

Fine and course bulgur

 There are many varieties on the tabouleh recipes. Instead of green onions I use in this tabouleh you could also use regular onions. You can also add mint or even garlic. I adapted mine from Cecila Brooks browns Wold Vegetarian Classics.

3/4 cup fine-course bulgur
1 bunch/ 1 1/2 cup parsley
3 ripe medium sized tomatoes
1/2 cucumber
6 green onions
1 lemon
extra virgin olive oil
sals & pepper


Place the bulgur in a bowl and add boiling water so it is covered. [about 1 1/2 cup]

Let this stand for at least 15 minutes. [30 minutes for the course grind bulgur]
chop parsley for tabouleh

 Meanwhile, chop the parsley very fine
[most recipes actually recommend sharpening your knife for this]

 diced cucumber

Dice the cucumber & tomatoes

squeezing bulgur

Drain the bulgur, and then squize out the excess moist

fine course bulgur

Let it dry for 5 minutes on a clean teatowel [this & the next step will make your bulgur have a more intense flavor]

making bulgur

Finely chop the green onions and kneed them through the bulgur

tabouleh recipe 

Mix everything together and bring to taste with lemonjuice [about 4 tablespoons] olive oil [4 tablespoons], salt & pepper


Serve and enjoy!

Tabouleh is great with mezze [Lebanese tapas]
شهية طيبة!

FINAL STEP: Get your Lebanese party going by playing some arabic music by the Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram 
[and be careful being around good looking lebanese guys, apparently they make you cook like an idiot]


If you want to read more about lebanese food check out these blogs: mamas lebanese kitchen and taste of beirut

ps. I have to give props to my friend Annika for helping me in the kitchen! :-)


  1. It's funny that you said you had to check on where tabouleh comes from. I remember seeing a short film about 2 competing hummus stands in the Middle East, both claiming to have created it first. Either way, this looks delicious and I'm a big fan of not having to turn my oven on for a meal!

  2. Will obviously try this version. I used to make mine with mint and without cucumber.


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