Oct 282010


Tabbouleh is regarded as a main-dish salad for summer meals. But tabbouleh fits into chilly weather menus too. Cracked wheat,  chopped vegetables and herbs bathed  in olive oil and lemon juice – all that vitamin C. How can you go wrong? Not to mention that tabbouleh is delicious, inexpensive, colorful, and ethnic. A favorite with vegetarians. And takes very little effort to make.

I think I just talked myself into tabbouleh for lunch tomorrow.

There seems to be a difference of opinion as to the correct proportions of  bulgur wheat to parsley in tabbouleh. Middle Easterners like less bulgur, more parsley – and plenty of lemon.  Westerners don’t enjoy so much herb in their tabbouleh, and favor a mellower dressing. American recipes sometimes include a cucumber, which makes Middle Eastern people raise their hands in horror. Some add cumin to the salad; a shocking departure from the traditional recipe.

Shall I confess the dreadful truth? I  like to chop a little bell pepper into my tabbouleh, and favor the greater proportion of bulgur. I guess I haven’t lived in Israel long enough to change my errant ways.

By the way, cooked, firm quinoa makes a delicious  tabbouleh.


serves 4

printable version here


1/4 cup fine bulgur wheat

hot water

4 tomatoes

1 small onion

1- 1/2 cups parsley

1/2 cup fresh mint

juice of 3 lemons

6 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


1. Soak the bulgur in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain excess water out and if need be, squeeze the mass between your palms to get as much moisture out as possible.

2. Chop the parsley and mint as finely as you have patience to – or chop them up in the food processor. If you use the machine, watch it carefully so you don’t get green mush instead of chopped herbs.

3. Chop the onion and the tomato.

4. Add the herbs and vegetables to the tabbouleh, seasoning it with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice and olive oil, again tasting and adding more if liked.

It’s ready. Serve with yogurt or tahini, or both, on the side.

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 Posted by at 12:36 AM

  11 Responses to “Tabbouleh Recipe”

  1. Sometimes,especially if I am serving it to company for shabbat lunch, I add some pomegranate seeds and a drop of honey in place of the cucumber and tom. It tastes great, and looks very festive.

  2. Rachel, your variation sounds good. Just that touch of sweetness with the lemon…

  3. Your photo is beautiful and seems to have plenty of green. In France a lot of people make tabbouleh with couscous instead of bulgur, and that’s good too. I’ve also made it with brown rice and with barley, just for fun, and we liked them also.
    The Lebanese woman who first taught me to make tabbouleh used green onion instead of regular. It looked like a very large amount but the flavor blended in well with the other ingredients and did not dominate.

  4. Excellent suggestions, Faye. I’ll try tabbouleh with barley – pearl barley is it? I sometimes use use green onions too.

  5. Don’t feel ashamed about using cumin and cucumber in your tabbouleh. The recipe I learned here in Israel used both, as well as a host of other “pie” spices. It’s quite good.

  6. Mimi, I used pearl barley but I don’t see why whole barley wouldn’t be good too. In fact, this might a kind of basic recipe good for serving any kind of grains you have. I found it in a Lebanese book made with cooked white rice too.
    I find a very fruity extra virgin olive oil is the best match for the generous amount of lemon juice.

  7. Yes, I also think that a cook’s taste is what dictates the food. Next time, I’m going to try cumin in the tabbouleh.

  8. I’ve sometimes made a very American rice salad with lots of olives and celery and some mayo…never thought of rice for tabbouleh. I guess that people just use what they have at hand.

  9. […] Tabbouleh (pronounced ta-boo-lee) is a classic Israeli dish made from cracked wheat (bulgur) and several […]

  10. […] Israeli vegetable salad, hot peppers, Turkish salad (tomatoes cooked with onions and peppers), tabbouleh ( parsley, bulgur wheat , coriander and spices ), pasta salad ( There will also be a vegetarian […]

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