The Superfood of the Middle East: Tabbouleh!

First and foremost, how does one pronounce it?!

Tah Boo Le

Tabbouleh, or also spelled as Tabouli in some Middle Eastern regions, is a delicious, and healthy Levantine vegetarian salad. It is made of finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, mint, onions, bulgur, lemon juice, olive oil and served with crispy pita bread.

It is one of the most popular foods in Lebanon and has multiple variations of ingredients, making it ideal for those who want to have a refreshing salad with unique concoctions. It is a traditional part of the diet in many Middle Eastern countries. For instance, in Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Palestine, Tabbouleh is commonly served as part of a mezze.

Very few dishes come close to Tabbouleh in terms of freshness, health benefits, and taste. In this blog, let’s take a quick look at the origins of this amazing food, as well as some of the reasons behind its popularity.

The Origin of Tabbouleh

The word Tabbouleh has its origins from the Arabic word ‘taabil’ which translates to spice or season. According to Middle Eastern literature, Tabbouleh can be traced back to 4000 years, where it was first thought to be eaten by the locals residing in the mountains of Syria and Lebanon.

Many history scholars believe that an edible herb called as ‘qaḍb’, which was easily available in these mountains, was an important part of the diet in the Middle Ages. It was the basis of various popular Middle Eastern dishes that we eat today, including Tabbouleh.

However, as people migrated to different regions of the world, variations of Tabbouleh were prepared. For instance, the Lebanese and Syrian version has more parsley than bulgur in the dish. The Turkish version known as ‘kisir’ and the Armenian version known as ‘eetch’ use more bulgur than parsley.

The Lebanese introduced the dish to Cyprus, where it is now known as Tabouli. When the Syrian and Lebanese immigrants migrated to the Dominican Republic, they created another version with local ingredients and called it Tipili.

Today, Tabbouleh is an integral part of the Middle Eastern identity and is prepared in almost every household and ordered with meals in restaurants around the globe.

Many Superfoods In One Delicious Salad!

The secret to preparing authentic Tabbouleh is fresh ingredients and while there are many different versions, the following are considered essential elements of the dish.

Bulgur – This is Tabbouleh’s most vital ingredient. It is made from wheat berries that are partially ground, cooked, and then dried.

Parsley – The greens in Tabbouleh mostly come from fresh parsley. Cucumber, green onions, and mint are also a part of the dish.

Tomatoes – This dish is not complete without a dose of finely chopped fresh tomatoes.

Seasonings – Freshly squeezed lemon juice, a generous dressing of olive oil with some cloves of garlic to revitalize your taste buds.

The Health benefits just go on and on – Tabbouleh isn’t just tasty, but it is also extremely good for you and has many health benefits if consumed a few times a week. Apart from the vitamins, nutrients you get from the fresh greens, lemon juice, and tomatoes, bulgur is also an excellent source of vital minerals, protein, and fiber. It has low-fat content and is ideal for anyone who wants to reduce weight. Moreover, olive oil also offers countless benefits, from mitigating Type 2 diabetes risk and lowering blood pressure.

A Delicious Salad Worth Celebrating

Tabbouleh is a dish worth celebrating as it has won the hearts of people, particularly in Lebanon where a national day is celebrated in its honor. Each year, the first Saturday of July is celebrated as National Tabbouleh Day. During this day, people get together and relish this beloved Middle Eastern food in restaurants, homes, and parks all over Lebanon. This day was created by a famous Lebanese artist named Ricardo Mbarkho in 2010 and is now celebrated across the world.

What’s more, Tabbouleh has also made its way to the Guinness World Records. A team of around 350 people in the year 2009 prepared the largest bowl of Tabbouleh in the world, weighing almost 4,324 kgs. It took 10 hours 30 minutes to prepare and was placed in a bowl measuring 16 ft in diameter.

As you can see, the dish has gained immense popularity due to its appetizing taste and health benefits, making it a preferred choice among people who want to lead a healthy lifestyle yet retain their love for tasty food.

You don’t need to wait till the next National Tabbouleh Day to try a delicious bowl. If you are tempted to order, then look no further than Toum. You can also order from us through Zomato, Swiggy, and PetPooja. Feel free to contact us to know more about our sanitation protocols and how we prepare our dishes. We look forward to hearing from you!