Marhaba (مرحبا)! Today, I am going to teach you how to prepare Tabbouleh (التبولة) which is a tasty and healthy (صحي) vegetarian appetizer (مقبلات نباتية ) that is popular in the Middle East and especially in Lebanon. Like the tasty dish Moujadara, this is one of the most popular appetizers throughout the year and during Lent. It is the most common appetizer served at all Levantine restaurants (المطاعم) and it is one of the principal dishes offered along with Mezza.
We had friends over for lunch this past weekend and my wife and I decided to serve Tabbouleh as our principal salad rather than a normal green salad made of lettuce (الخس), tomatoes (طماطم) and cucumbers (خيار). Even though it is very simple and easy to prepare, this appetizer requires some practice and time to get the right taste (نكهة). In some instances, some ingredients are hard to find. In a nutshell, you need parsley (البقدونس), tomatoes, onions, burghul (البرغل) (kind of cracked wheat), lemons (ليمون), olive oil (زيت الزيتون) and salt and pepper (الملح والبهار) for final touches. As you can see, the most of the ingredients are easy to find, but bulghur is not. For example, the right burghul might not be available in some cities/countries. My wife and I usually shop at a local Lebanese market that imports fine bulghur directly from Syria and Lebanon.
I am sharing the recipe that my wife and I use to prepare this popular appetizer from a popular blog called Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen. It is a Lebanese recipes and food blog and contains many genuine and authentic Middle Eastern recipes. I have also added a YouTube video in Arabic that shows you how to prepare this vegetarian and healthy, beyond tasty, appetizer. From our personal experience, this recipe makes around 6-7 servings and takes around 30 minutes to prepare. Imagine that in about half an hour, you will have one of the tastiest salads ever!!
Ingredients (7 servings)
- 4 bunches of Parsley chopped finely (مفرومة فرما ناعما), drained
- 1 bunch of fresh green mint chopped finely, drained (optional)
- 1 cucumber chopped finely (if using regular cucumbers, use only up to 4 inches of it)
- 5 medium sized tomatoes chopped, drained
- 1 small white onion chopped finely
- 1/4 cup of fine Burghul (fine cracked wheat #1)
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup of quality olive oil
- 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 to 2/3 teaspoon of salt
- 1/3 teaspoon of Lebanese 7-Spices*
* Lebanese 7-Spices contain equal proportions of the following ground spices: Allspice, Black Pepper (البهار الأسود), Cinnamon (قرفة), Ground Cloves (القرنفل ), Ground Nutmeg (جوزة الطيب), Fenugreek (حلبة نبات), Powdered Ginger (زنجبيل)
- Rinse (شطف) all vegetables and let dry, especially the parsley and mint.
- Cut stems off parsley then chop finely. Spread chopped parsley on paper towels and let rest for a few minutes in order to get rid of the moisture (رطوبة). Parsley needs to be dry of moisture before adding it to the mixing bowl.
- Cut stems off mint, and finely chop the leaves. Lay them on a paper towel and let dry.
- Chop tomatoes into small cubes of less than 1/2 in then place in strainer to rid them of the juice.
- Finely chop onions and mix with 7-spices.
- Finely chop the cucumber.
Once ready to serve, add the lemon juice on top of the dry Burghul, add the olive oil and salt all over the ingredients and then mix lightly with a fork and avoid over-mixing so it doesn’t turn soggy. My wife and I usually serve Tabbouleh with lettuce or cabbage (ملفوف). It also goes well with French Fries (بطاطس مقلية)! You might have had tabbouleh at a Mediterranean restaurant, but now it is your chance to give it a shot and impress your family and friends with this healthy, simple and extremely tasty appetizer.
I encourage and invite you all to give it a try and let me know how it goes.
Stay tuned for upcoming posts