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Tabule is a traditional Lebanese salad made with finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, bulgur wheat, mint, lemon juice, and olive oil. It is a refreshing and flavorful side dish that is perfect for summer meals or potlucks. Tabbouleh is also a good source of fiber and vitamin C.
When I was first married, my neighbor, who was Lebanese, introduced me to this wonderful salad over 40 years ago. This is my family’s favorite salad. My great-granddaughter asks for that green stuff… She’s two and absolutely loves it.
Tabule has been a favorite of mine since I was a child. I remember my mom making massive batches for our family of five several times a year. My sisters were indifferent to it, but I couldn’t get enough of the fresh flavor and tangy lemon dressing.
Back then, it took my mom forever to make tabule because she carefully removed the parsley from the stems, ensuring only the curly leaves were included. I make it differently, incorporating the top part of the stem for extra flavor and to reduce food waste.
This tabule recipe comes from my cousin Marianne, who spent two summers following my Sitto (grandmother in Arabic) around the kitchen, measuring everything as she cooked. Marianne eventually compiled a cookbook for her family, which I now cherish as a legacy and family heirloom.
Tabbouleh is a breeze to make with just six ingredients, ready in 20 minutes. Let it rest for 2-3 hours to let the flavors meld, and enjoy an even better salad.
- Parsley: Use either curly or flat-leaf parsley and chop it by hand for the best flavor.
- Tomatoes: Use firm tomatoes, such as Romas, and remove the seeds and excess liquid before dicing them into small cubes.
- Green onions: Thinly slice the entire onion, including both the white and green parts.
- Bulgur wheat: This ancient grain is a key ingredient in tabbouleh, but if you can’t find it, you can substitute quinoa or couscous.
- Lemon juice: Use only fresh lemon juice for the best flavor.
- Fresh mint: The coolness and freshness of mint are essential to tabbouleh. If you can’t find fresh mint, omit it.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Use high-quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
- Salt and pepper: To taste.
While I’m a traditional tabbouleh girl, here are a few non-traditional ingredients that I’ve added to the dish in the past based on my family’s requests:
- Cucumbers: Use any cucumber, but seed it first. Sprinkle the cut side with salt and let sit for 10-15 minutes to draw out moisture. Rinse and pat dry before chopping and adding to the tabbouleh.
- Garbanzo beans: For a heartier tabbouleh, add cooked chickpeas.
- Feta cheese: For a Greek twist, add crumbled feta cheese. If you add feta, increase the bulgur wheat ratio and decrease the parsley ratio for the best flavor balance.
Tabbouleh, Tabbouleh, Tabouli, Tabule or tabbouli?
Why so many different spellings for one salad?
The Arabic word for parsley, “tabbouleh,” is difficult to transliterate into English. There is no one definitive way to represent the Arabic sound in English, so different people have come up with different spellings.
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Tabule: A Refreshing Lebanese Salad in 20 Minutes
- 1 Sharp knife
- 1 medium mixing bowl
- 1 small mixing bowl
- ¼ cup (35g) bulgur wheat
- ⅓ cup (72g) olive oil
- 3 tbsp (44g) lemon
- 2 bunches parsley, finly minced
- 6 fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 3 roma tomatoes, diced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the bulgur wheat according to the package directions. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice.
- Add the parsley, green onions, mint, tomatoes, and cooked bulgur wheat to the bowl. Toss to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately or chill for later.
- Picture Steps
- Picture Steps
- For the best flavor, use fresh ingredients.
- Chop the parsley and mint finely.
- If the tomatoes are watery, seed them before dicing.
- Let the tabbouleh sit for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.
- Serve tabbouleh with pita bread, pita chips, or lettuce leaves.
- Tabbouleh tastes best after the flavors have had a chance to meld together. I recommend making it at least 30 minutes in advance, but you can make it up to 24 hours ahead of time.
- To make tabbouleh ahead of time, simply follow the recipe as directed. Then, store the tabbouleh in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Leftover tabbouleh can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Tabbouleh cannot be frozen. The tomatoes and cucumbers will become watery and mushy when frozen, and the parsley will lose its flavor and texture.