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Traditional Tabbouleh.JPG
Photo of Tabbouleh, taken in Downtown Beirut during the National Tabbouleh Day 2010
Place of originLevant
Serving temperatureCold
Main ingredientsParsley, tomato, bulgur
Cookbook:Tabbouleh  Tabbouleh
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Traditional Tabbouleh.JPG
Photo of Tabbouleh, taken in Downtown Beirut during the National Tabbouleh Day 2010
Place of originLevant
Serving temperatureCold
Main ingredientsParsley, tomato, bulgur
Cookbook:Tabbouleh  Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh (Arabic: تبولةtabūlah; also tabouleh or tab(b)ouli) is a Levantine vegetarian dish (sometimes considered a salad) traditionally made of tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, and onion, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Bulgur is often added to the dish; some variations add garlic or lettuce, or use couscous instead of bulgur.[1][2][3]

Traditionally served as part of a mezze in the Arab world, tabbouleh was adopted by Cypriots, variations of it are made by Turks and Armenians, and it has become a popular ethnic food in Western cultures.


The Levantine Arabic tabbūle is derived from the Arabic word taabil, meaning seasoning.[4] Use of the word in English first appeared in the 1950s.[4]


To the Arabs, edible herbs known as qaḍb, formed an essential part of their diet in the Middle Ages, and dishes like tabbouleh attest to their continued popularity in Middle Eastern cuisine today.[5] Originally from the mountains of Syria and Lebanon,[6] tabbouleh has become one of the most popular salads in the Middle East.[7] In Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan, the wheat variety salamouni cultivated in the region around the Golan Heights, Galilee, Judea and Samaria, Jezreel Valley, Hawran and in Mount Lebanon, Bekaa Valley and Baalbek was considered (in the mid-19th century) as particularly well suited for making bulgur, a basic ingredient of tabbouleh.[8]

In Iraq, the dish is considered native to Mosul, which has close culinary ties to Syria.[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 Arab world, particularly Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine, it is usually served as part of a meze,[11][12] with romaine lettuce.[13] The Lebanese use more parsley than bulgur wheat in their dish.[11] A Turkish variation of the dish is known as kısır,[7] while a similar Armenian dish is known as eetch. In Cyprus, where the dish was introduced by the Lebanese,[citation needed] it is known as tambouli.

Like hummus, baba ghanouj, pita and other elements of Arab cuisine, tabbouleh has become a popular "American ethnic food".[14]

The National Tabbouleh Day[edit]

Began in 2001, and was started by a Lebanese visual artist named Ricardo Mbarkho. It is celebrated each year on the first Saturday of July. During this day, the Lebanese people meet and celebrate with food, Tabbouleh specifically. This celebration unites the Lebanese (and their friends), who have been torn by wars, and it symbolizes the diversity of these people with its diverse ingredients. Tabbouleh is a common identification which links them together.[citation needed]

World records[edit]

The largest recorded dish of tabbouleh to date weighed 4,324 kg (9,532 lb 12 oz) and was created on 13 November 2009 by the Yaldy Association at Alaayen Elementary School in the Arab town of Shefar'am in Israel.[15] Previous holders of the Guinness World Record for the largest tabbouleh include Lebanon (October 2009),[16][17] Israel (specifically, the Arab residents of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights who made a bowl of tabbouleh weighing 2359 kg in March 2008),[18] and Palestinian residents of Ramallah in the West Bank (June 2006).[19]

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. ^ Julia Al Arab - Tabbouleh in Endive Boats recipe
  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. ^ Wright, 2001, p. xxi.
  6. ^ Madison Books, ed. (2007). 1,001 Foods to Die For. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-7407-7043-2. 
  7. ^ a b Basan, 2007, p. 180-181.
  8. ^ Nabhan, 2008, pp. 77-78.
  9. ^ "Tabbouleh". Chef at Large. Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  10. ^ Caplan, 1997, p. 73.
  11. ^ a b 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. ^ Arthur L. Meyer, Jon M. Vann, The Appetizer Atlas: A World of Small Bites, John Wiley and Sons, 2003, p. 353.
  13. ^ Terry Carter, et al., Syria and Lebanon, Lonely Planet, 2004
  14. ^ Zalinksy, 2001 p. 118.
  15. ^ Largest bowl of tabbouleh
  16. ^ Natacha Yazbeck, Agence France-Presse (October 25, 2009). "Salad days in Lebanon as it sets third Guinness food record". Retrieved October 26, 2009.
  17. ^ Katerji, Omar (26 October 2009). "Lebanon breaks hummus, tabbouleh Guinness record". The Daily Star (Beirut). Retrieved 21 August 2011. "The tabbouleh dish weighed in at an even more astonishing 3557 kilograms, which surpasses Israel’s previous record of 2359 kilograms." 
  18. ^ "Israel." Guinness World Records 2010. 2010.
  19. ^ "Largest tabbouleh record", IMEU. URL last accessed 2008-01-29


  • 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]

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