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Tabbouleh (Syria)


Tabbouleh is a very simple salad of fresh herbs (parsley and mint), bulgur wheat, onion, tomato, lemon and olive oil, with some spices thrown in for good measure.  To get it right remember a few things: it’s an herb salad with bulgur added, not a bulgur salad with herbs added.  Also, chop the herbs with a knife rather than a food processor: you don’t want a pureed blob.


I love this version, with all the small alterations to the standard recipe, that bring out the best flavor and texture.  Salting the herbs and tomatoes removes the moisture that can make the salad overly wet, while keeping the flavor.


Serves 4


Total Time 1:15



  • 3/4 pound (1/3 kg) ripe plum tomatoes, finely diced
  • 2 cups (480 ml) finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems (about 2 bunches), finely chopped with a sharp knife
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) kosher salt, divided, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) dry coarse bulgur wheat
  • 1 cup (240 ml) finely chopped fresh mint leaves (about 1 bunch)
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons (75 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh juice from 2 lemons

  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) ground coriander seed

  • Pinch ground cinnamon

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Romaine lettuce leaves, for serving




  1. Season tomatoes with 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt and toss to combine. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer or colander set in a bowl and allow to drain for 20 minutes. Reserve liquid.

  2. Bring 1/2 cup reserved tomato water to a boil, then pour over bulgur in a small heatproof bowl and let stand until bulgur is softened, about 1 hour (bulgur may still have a slight bite, but will continue to soften in the salad). Drain bulgur of any excess liquid and pat dry with paper towels.

  3. While the bulgur is softening, season parsley with remaining 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt and toss to combine. Transfer to a large mixing bowl lined with paper towels and let stand for 20 minutes. Blot parsley with towels to remove excess moisture.

  4. In a large mixing bowl, stir together tomatoes, parsley, mint, bulgur, scallions, olive oil, lemon juice, coriander seed, and cinnamon until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Serve tabbouleh with romaine leaves.

Recipe adapted from


Photo by user Artusername on wikicommons

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