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Traditional Tabbouleh.JPG
Course Salad
Place of origin Levant
Region or state Brazil, South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia), Southern Europe (Cyprus and Greece), the Middle East (Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey)
Serving temperature Cold
Main ingredients Parsley, tomato, bulgur
Variations Pomegranate seeds instead of tomato
Cookbook: Tabbouleh  Media: Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh (Arabic: تبولةtaboūleh; also tabouleh or tab(b)ouli) is a Levantine vegetarian salad made of tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, bulgur, and onion, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. 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. Variations of it are made by Armenians, Israelis, and Turks. 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 of Lebanon,[7] tabbouleh has become one of the most popular salads in the Middle East.[8] The wheat variety salamouni cultivated in the region around Mount Lebanon, Beqaa Valley and Baalbek was considered (in the mid-19th century) as particularly well-suited for making bulgur, a basic ingredient of tabbouleh.[9]

Tabbouleh and other vegetable-based mezze dishes popular in Syria were mocked by Baghdadi women and cooks when they were first introduced to them, because they were seen as being a means to scrimp on the use of meat.[10]

Regional variations[edit]

In the Middle East, particularly Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Iraq, it is usually served as part of a meze. The Lebanese use more parsley than bulgur wheat in their dish.[11] A Turkish variation of the dish is known as kısır,[8] while a similar Armenian dish is known as eetch. 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.[12]

Like hummus, baba ghanoush, pita, and other elements of Arab cuisine, tabbouleh has become a popular American food and usually has couscous as its main ingredient.[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: Lebanese 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. ^ Caplan, 1997, p. 73.
  11. ^ 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."
  12. ^


  • 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. 

External links[edit]