Make Ahead

My Mother's Lebanese Tabbouleh

July 18, 2014
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

"My mother's is best" is an adage that fits this recipe perfectly. There are a lot of variations of tabbouleh out there—some mostly made of bulghur, some without cucumbers, some with spice—but I always compare those variations to my mother's recipe and they never stack up. Her recipe has the perfect parsley to bulghur ratio, it has enough lemon to keep it dressed but not soggy, and it has crispy cucumbers that add a nice contrasting bite. She learned how to make tabbouleh from my grandmother who never used a written recipe, making it each time to taste just the way she liked, as grandmothers usually do. It's the perfect simple summer salad to keep your menu light and fresh. Enjoy! —cdilaura

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Cdilaura brings us generations-old Italian and Lebanese recipes, and she also brings beautiful products to Provisions as our VP of Commerce Operations.
WHAT: The best possible way to eat a lot parsley.
HOW: While your bulgur soaks, dice a whole lot of parsley and some mint, too. Toss the grains and herbs with chopped tomato and cucumber, then dress with lemon juice and olive oil.
WHY WE LOVE IT: All too often we buy a whole bunch of parsley, use a couple of leaves, and then let the rest wilt in the fridge. No longer! This tabbouleh uses a load of parsley to make a refreshing and surprisingly simple salad that’s more herb than grain. We love to eat it by itself, with hummus, stuffed into a pita with falafel, or as a bed for grilled fish. —The Editors

Watch This Recipe
My Mother's Lebanese Tabbouleh
  • Serves 6
  • 1 cup fine bulghur (sometimes called #1)
  • 2 bunches curly parsley
  • 12 large mint leaves
  • 5 scallions
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 English cucumber
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper, plus more to taste
In This Recipe
  1. Put the bulghur in a bowl, cover it with an inch with water (it will double in size), and let it sit at least 20 minutes.
  2. Wash and dry the parsley and mint. Remove the stems, finely chop the herbs together, and put them in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Peel and deseed the cucumber half. Slice it lengthwise into thirds, then chop. Chop onion and tomato and it them to the cucumber, parsley, and mint.
  4. Squeeze any remaining water out of bulghur and it to the vegetables.
  5. Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well, taste, and adjust seasoning and olive oil as needed.

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Some people were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, mine was wooden. With an Italian heritage on one side and a Lebanese heritage on the other, good food was never hard to find. I grew up with Sunday dinners at Grandma’s, big pots of sauce simmering away on the stove all day and hand cut pasta drying on the rack in the basement. The perfume of lemon, garlic, garden grown herbs and other fresh ingredients always scented our family kitchens. So it is no surprise that my love for fresh, hand-prepared food is something I now love to share with new and old friends. Because of that, I put on my apron, sharpened my knives and started a blog and NYC supper club called [email protected] to continue spreading the good food love.