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Murdering Tabbouleh

A warning note before I start. This blog is in fact a rant.

Tabbouleh is a Levantine healthy vegan salad made with lots of flat leaf parsley, mint, tomatoes, onion, lemon juice, olive oil and crushed wheat. Brown crushed wheat (wheat with skin on) is the authentic ingredient to add but when not available bulgur wheat, coarse or fine will do.

Using couscous is not ok, even worst using semolina. Certainly not using beetroot or radishes or cheese.

I come across Tabbouleh recipes in health magazines or suggested by nutritionists that make me cringe. It is not ok to call Tabbouleh any concotion you make by adding a few chopped parsley or couscous.

Tabbouleh is a traditional recipe that belongs to a particular culture/ country/ area of the world that gained enough credit in taste and benefits to spread all over the world. To mess around with it is to interfere with the cultural aspect of it.

In Lebanon and Syria friends invite each other to eat tabbouleh together like you invite friends to come round for coffee or tea. It is served with fries or as part of a mezze. And it is mentioned in a song.

Did you know?

1. That we only use flat parsley.

2. Parsley, the main ingredient in tabbouleh, is rich in vitamin A, B3, B9, C, E and K also in Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, potassium and zinc. So it is a salad full of goodness.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe everyone should eat what they like and create their own recipes if they wish. What is not ok is to take a very well known dish and change its ingredients and keep the name. If you’d like to add beetroot to your idea of tabbouleh, please call it some thing else. How about Tabloot or Couscoubleh?

Cooking is a very creative and therapeutic activity we all should be experimenting with to create dishes we love and enjoy. But when we use our creativity to create a dish inspired by a well known dish can we please be creative enough to give it a new name?

Rant over.

To learn the authentic Lebanese Tabbouleh’s recipe, book and join my online cookalong/cookery class on the 20th March. There is a fish dish with Tahini too, or email me to buy my vegetarian recipe book.

Click here for more info about my cookery classes.