Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Grandmothers Tabouli

Lovely summer salad….bon  appetit!   

Tabouli, it's the traditional national salad of Lebanon! It's also the salad I grew up with. I remember my grandmother making it almost every Sunday. I can still see my her standing at the kitchen table with her flowered apron, over her house dress using her porcelain enameled white and red bowl.  It was the bowl she used to soak her cracked wheat in. Then she would stand there squeezing the wheat in between the palms of her hands to get the water out…a process I still use today!  She would chop all her vegetables with fine precision and mix everything together. She would then give me a taste …to make sure it tasted right, and it always did! Traditionally Tabouli is made of parsley, tomatoes, fine cracked wheat (bulgar), green onions, and mint. It needs to be made with ripe juicy tomatoes, to get the ultimate flavor.  It is usually made in the summer. The other thing that is important to making a good Tabouli is chopping the vegetables. Everything must be done in a very small dice. Some people have said they use a food processor but, I caution against this. It will make the salad bruised and mushy. If you're going to take the time to make Tabouli, take the time to chop everything by hand. You will be glad you did. Truth is, my grandmother never wrote down any of her recipes. So most everything we make has been re-created by my aunts and mother, who were able to remember and duplicate her recipes. The Tabouli I make is a recipe that I put together trying several different recipes over many years, trying to duplicate my grandmothers version. I know I succeeded because, every time one of my aunts taste my Tabouli they say, "Just like your grandmothers"!

Traditional Tabouli Salad

3/4 to 1 cup of fine cracked wheat (bulgar)
1 bunch green onions (scallions)
2 large bunches of parsley (I use curly)
about a 1/4 cup of chopped mint
4 large tomatoes
1/2 cup of  lemon juice 
(freshly squeezed is best but I have used Real Lemon)
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt…taste to see if you need more
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice

Soak wheat in  warm water for a few minutes. Squeeze dry by pressing between palms of hands.
Chop tomatoes, onions, parsley, and mint. I sometimes throw in a cucumber…seeded and chopped fine.
Add wheat. Then mix all the ingredients for the dressing and whisk together. Pour over the chopped veggie mixture and mix well. Chill at least an 1/2 hour to meld flavors. Enjoy!
This Salad should be made the day it is to be served. It will still be wonderful for leftovers (if you have any) but you want to serve it fresh.

The Vegetables 
Bulgar wheat
Warm water poured over cracked wheat
Fresh mint from my garden
Tomato sliced
cut crosswise 
diced….notice the dice is smaller than a penny

chopping the parsley
Fresh lemon juice
Beautiful Tabouli! Enjoy!


  1. Beautifully done....your grandmother would be proud.

  2. Beautiful post, Kathy! I've always loved Tabbouli. My mom used to serve it in Romaine Lettuce leaves like tacos. I have mint growing in my garden, too, so I'm looking forward to trying your recipe!

  3. Gorgeous salad and so lovingly prepared! Tabbouli salad is so good in the summertime. I've never made it myself so I enjoyed reading your tutorial. I'll have to give it a try for myself!! It sounds delicious!

  4. Looks yummy! I love the freshness of this salad. Mom makes it almost the same way, minus the scallions ( I hate raw onions/scallions hah)

  5. Kathy, thanks for pointing this post out for me. I saw your biscotti post earlier in the week, and the ribs today. Somehow I missed this one. It looks fantastic! I will try it next week, and let you know how it comes out. Nothing like grandmother's recipes. They are so precious.

  6. I have never had this before. It looks like such a good salad, Kathy. I loved that you gave a size comparison for the diced tomatoes - great idea! What a wonderful compliment from your aunts! I agree with Betsy - there is nothing like grandmother's or mother's recipes!

  7. I love your site. Your pictures of each detail help enormously to re-producing the recipe. I have everything on hand to try this recipe and will comment later on the result:)