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Place of originLebanon
Region or stateMiddle East, South Caucasus, Southern Europe, South Asia
Serving temperatureCold
Main ingredientsParsley, tomato, bulgur, onion
VariationsPomegranate seeds instead of tomato

Tabbouleh (Arabic: تبولةtabūla; also tabouleh, tabbouli, tabouli, or taboulah) is a Levantine vegetarian salad made mostly of finely chopped parsley, with tomatoes, mint, onion, bulgur (soaked, not cooked), and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Some variations add garlic or lettuce, or use couscous instead of bulgur.[1][2]

Tabbouleh is traditionally served as part of a mezze in the Arab world. Its popularity has grown in Western cultures.[3]


The Levantine Arabic tabbūle is derived from the Arabic word tābil, meaning "seasoning"[4] or more literally "dip". Use of the word in English first appeared in the 1950s.[4]


Edible herbs known as qaḍb[5] formed an essential part of the Arab diet in the Middle Ages. Dishes like tabbouleh attest to their continued popularity in Middle Eastern cuisine today.[6] Originally from the mountains between Syria and Lebanon,[7] tabbouleh has become one of the most popular salads in the Middle East.[8] The wheat variety salamouni cultivated in Syria, Beqaa Valley and Baalbek was considered (in the mid-19th century) as particularly well-suited for making bulgur, a basic ingredient of tabbouleh.[9]

Regional variations[edit]

In the Middle East, particularly Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq, it is usually served as part of a meze. The Syrian and the Lebanese use more parsley than bulgur wheat in their dish.[10] A Turkish variation of the dish known as kısır,[8] and a similar Armenian dish known as eetch use far more bulgur than parsley. Another ancient variant is called terchots. In Cyprus, where the dish was introduced by the Syrians,[citation needed] it is known as tambouli. In the Dominican Republic, a local version introduced by Syrian and Lebanese immigrants is called Tipile.[11] In Iran and South Asia it is usually eaten with rice, bread and kebabs.

Like Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Pita bread, and other elements of Arab cuisine, tabbouleh has become a popular food in America.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sami Zubaida, "National, Communal and Global Dimensions in Middle Eastern Food Cultures" in Sami Zubaida and Richard Tapper, A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East, London and New York, 1994 and 2000, ISBN 1-86064-603-4, p. 35, 37; Claudia Roden, A Book of Middle Eastern Food, p. 86; Anissa Helou, Oxford Companion to Food, s.v. Lebanon and Syria; Maan Z. Madina, Arabic-English Dictionary of the Modern Literary Language, 1973, s.v. تبل
  2. ^ Oxford Companion to Food, s.v. tabbouleh
  3. ^ a b Zelinsky, 2001 p. 118.
  4. ^ a b Mark Morton (2004). Cupboard Love: A Dictionary of Culinary Curiosities (2nd ed.). Insomniac Press. p. 302. ISBN 978-1-894663-66-3.
  5. ^ "Tabouli: Syrian Parsley and Bulgur Salad". Arousing Appetites. Arousing Appetites.
  6. ^ Wright, 2001, p. xxi.
  7. ^ Madison Books, ed. (2007). 1,001 Foods to Die For. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-7407-7043-2.
  8. ^ a b Basan, 2007, p. 180-181.
  9. ^ Nabhan, 2008, pp. 77-78.
  10. ^ Wright, 2001, p. 251. "In the Arab world, tabbouleh (tabbūla) is a salad usually made as part of the mazza table (p xx) especially in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine."
  11. ^


  • Basan, Ghillie (2007). The Middle Eastern Kitchen. Hippocrene Books. ISBN 978-0-7818-1190-3.
  • Caplan, Patricia (1997). Food, health, and identity (Illustrated ed.). Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-15680-6.
  • Nabhan, Gary Paul (2008). Where our food comes from: retracing Nikolay Vavilov's quest to end famine (Illustrated ed.). Island Press. ISBN 978-1-59726-399-3.
  • Wright, Clifford A. (2001). Mediterranean vegetables: a cook's ABC of vegetables and their preparation in Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, and north Africa with more than 200 authentic recipes for the home cook (Illustrated ed.). Harvard Common Press. ISBN 978-1-55832-196-0.
  • Zelinsky, Wilbur (2001). The enigma of ethnicity: another American dilemma (Illustrated ed.). University of Iowa Press. ISBN 978-0-87745-750-3.