Like hummus, pita and other elements of Arab cuisine, tabbouleh has
become a popular "American ethnic food". The Levantine Arabic tabbule
is derived from the Arabic word taabil, meaning seasoning.
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 wheat
is often added to the dish; some variations add garlic or lettuce, or
use couscous instead of bulgur.
To the Arabs, edible herbs 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. Originally from the
mountains of Syria and Lebanon, tabbouleh has become one of the most
popular salads in the Middle East.
In Iraq, the dish is considered native to Mosul, which has close
culinary ties to Syria. 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.
In the Middle East, particularly Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and
Israel, it is usually served as part of a meze, with romaine lettuce.
Variations of content, and of the title, exist in different areas of