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Lebanese Potato Salad, Batata Mtabbaleh maa Hamoud wa Toom is a classic summery dish and can complement any type of barbecued meat or seafood, it is also delicious on its own as a starter.

Lebanese Potato Salad, Batata Mtabbaleh maa Hamoud wa Toom

Lebanese Potato Salad, Batata Mtabbaleh maa Hamoud wa Toom

Serves 4


For the salad

  • 450g/ 1lb potatoes
  • 200g/ 7oz tomatoes washed
  • 3 small spring onions or 1 small red onion
  • 25g/1oz fresh mint, leaves only washed and patted dry

For the dressing

  • 3-4 fat cloves of garlic peeled
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste & freshly milled black pepper


  1. If using small salad potatoes, you get the best flavour by steaming them. To do that, pour boiling water into a saucepan fitted with a steamer, tip the potatoes into the steamer with one or two sprigs of mint. Cover, and using a medium setting let them steam for 25 minutes or until cooked. You can test them by inserting a skewer in the centre which should feel soft. Discard the mint, then transfer potatoes into a suitable sized-bowl and cover with a clean cloth so it absorbs excess steam, and helps the potatoes to keep a nice texture without getting mushy. This should take roughly 4 minutes, then cut them into halves.
  2. Alternatively if using big potatoes, leave the skin on, rinse them under the tap, then put in a saucepan and cover with water, bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a medium setting, cover and let them simmer, for nearly 25 minutes or until when inserting a skewer, they feel tender. Drain the potatoes and let them cool down before peeling off the skin. Cut them into bite sized chunky pieces.
  3. To prepare the dressing. Sprinkle a little salt over the garlic and crush to a paste then whisk in the lemon juice and olive oil. Season, taste and adjust if necessary then transfer into the serving bowl.
  4. When you are ready to serve, tip the prepared potatoes into the dressing. Finely, slice the onions then add to the potatoes, chop the tomatoes and tip them including their juice into the mixture. Now, gently mix all the ingredients, taste and adjust if necessary. Roughly, chop the mint and scatter all over the Batata Mtabbaleh maa Hamoud wa Toom salad, serve at once.

I like to serve this Lebanese Potato Salad, Batata Mtabbaleh maa Hamoud wa Toom while still warm, however, it is also delicious served at room temperature or chilled.

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Roasted Vegetables and Green Wheat Freekeh Salad

Roasted green wheat freekeh (also known as freeka, frikeh or farik) is rarely used in western cooking although it is one of the oldest food ingredients in the world. The story goes that roughly 2000 years ago when towns and cities used to fight each other frequently, an eastern Mediterranean city was threatened with being besieged. Fearing to die of starvation, the people of that city picked all the wheat while it was still green and stored it. Unfortunately, it caught fire and was burnt. However, out of desperation, they tried to salvage what they could. To their surprise, they discovered as they rubbed off the burnt external skin, that the wheat itself remained intact and edible, they called it farik (later freekeh or freeka) which meant in their spoken Aramaic language the rubbed one. Ever since, roasted green wheat freekeh has become a valuable grain for cooking in the Eastern Mediterranean and North African countries.

The old method of preparation of roasted green wheat freekeh is that once the young wheat stalks are harvested, they are stacked in bunches and dried in the sun, then roasted in the field over an open fire. The aim is to burn off the bristles and the kernel’s outer skin or husk, the moisture within the young grain will protect it from burning while the process endows it with a distinctive smoky flavour. When the roasted wheat has cooled, the grains are shelled by hand, dried again but this time away from the sun, then they are either kept whole or cracked. In fact, some farmers in rural parts of the Levant still use this method. Of course, modern technology had inspired farmers and enthusiasts to develop new techniques to prepare freekeh faster, efficiently and in bigger quantities, like the Greenwheat Freekeh Company.

Freekeh or freeka is very nutritious. Scientific research has proven that green wheat retains more vitamins, fibres and proteins than any other grains. In fact, this link  describes the benefits of freekeh, providing detailed tables of the green wheat contents.

The next link to a youtube video gives you an idea how roasted green wheat freekeh is processed by modern farming

Most importantly, freekeh has a distinctive smoky and nutty taste and it is versatile, it can be cooked as a side dish or as a main course. We Lebanese use it mostly in salads and with meat, while neighbouring countries as well as North African ones have their own signature dish, most of their recipes including the Lebanese ones are on the internet.

Here are my own versions for a salad suitable for all seasons and a heart warming soup.

Roasted Vegetables & Green Wheat Freekeh Salad,

Freeka maa al Khoudra

This roasted green wheat freekeh salad is quite sustaining especially if you are a vegan, as well as that, it goes well with barbecued or grilled meat it can be eaten warm or cold, either way it is quite tasty. It is also ideal for picnics or packed lunches.

Roasted Vegetables and Green Wheat Freekeh Salad

Roasted Vegetables and Green Wheat Freekeh Salad

For this recipe I used coarse cracked freekeh (freeka), but you can substitute it with a whole grain one which might take a little longer to cook.

Serves 4-6


For the freekeh (freeka)

  • roasted green wheat freekeh (freeka) 1¼ cups
  • 2½ cups water
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp dried mint


  • 3 or 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste & freshly milled black pepper
  • About 30 g/1 ¼ oz fresh coriander, rough stalks discarded the rest is washed, dried then chopped

For the roasted vegetables

  • 1 aubergine about 400g / 14oz washed.
  • 450g / 1 lb juicy tomatoes washed then quartered
  • 2 medium courgettes washed then cut into 3 cm / 1¼ inch chunks
  • 2 medium onions peeled then quartered
  • 1 each red and yellow peppers quartered seeds removed
  • 1 tsp dried mint

For the garlic sauce

  • 3 cloves of garlic peeled
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & freshly milled black pepper

Equipment: 1 non-stick baking tray measuring about 30 cm x 22 cm (12 inches x 9 inches) and one non-stick medium sized saucepan.


Preparing the vegetables

Preparing to roast the vegatables for the freekeh salad

Preparing to roast the vegatables for the freekeh salad

  1. I like to drain the excess bitter juice from the aubergine, it helps to roast better and to absorb other flavours, but it can work without it. With the skin on, cut the aubergine into 3 cm / 1¼ inch chunks then sprinkle over about 1 tsp salt and mix. Transfer into a colander, fit on top a suitable plate on which you place a heavy weight such as tins of tomatoes and leave for an hour to drain away some of the bitter juice. Next, rinse under a tap of cold water then dry thoroughly with a kitchen paper.
  2. When you are ready to cook, pre-heat the oven (fan oven) to 210°C / 450°F.
  3. To make the garlic sauce. Crush the garlic to a paste then add the olive oil, season, and mix well.
  4. Now, arrange the chopped vegetables in the baking tin, sprinkle over the dried mint and mix. Next, drizzle over with the garlic sauce and toss in the vegetables so they are well coated, season again with salt and pepper and give it a good stir. Pop it in the oven for about 30-40 minutes or until the vegetables start to brown round the edges.

To prepare the roasted green wheat freekeh

  1. Pre-packed freekeh is usually clean. If you have purchased it loose, it may contain some dirt, tip into a fine sieve and rinse a couple of times under a tap of cold water and drain well.
  2. Using a medium heat setting, heat the oil in the saucepan then tip in the chopped onion and cook for about 3 minutes. Next, add the freekeh (freeka) and sauté the mixture until all the grains are coated with oil, then pour in the water, add a pinch of salt, cayenne pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat slightly, stir in the dried mint and simmer for about 20-25 minutes by which time the water should have been absorbed while the mixture remains moist and the grains have softened. It is worth checking the mixture when simmering, so if it is cooking dry, top it up with a little more boiling water. If using whole grain freekeh (freeka), increase the amount of water by roughly 85 ml/ 3 fl oz and simmer for a longer time. Once the freekeh (freeka) mixture is cooked, let it stand covered for 5 minutes before assembling the salad.

Assembling the salad.

  1. Tip the cooked freekeh (freeka) over the roasted vegetables, so the roasted green wheat freekeh would absorb all the juices and gently fork it in, adding the chopped coriander and drizzling along the dressing, so all the flavours mingle together. Transfer into a large salad bowl and serve.

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Ardi Choki literally translates the thorn (choki / chawki) from the ground (ard), indicating that this plant belongs to the thistle family. Its initial growth is marked by a pretty purple flower head, while the thorny tips of the leaves is another noticeable thistle characteristic. You will find a good illustration of the Globe Artichoke .

It is worth mentioning that there are three types of artichoke plants which are unrelated: Globe Artichoke, Jerusalem Artichoke and Chinese Artichoke, however, my main focus here is the culinary usage of the Globe Artichoke in our cuisine. The two recipes below demonstrate our simplistic way of cooking artichoke as an appetiser or as a starter.

Artichoke benefits

According to the articles I read, globe artichoke leaves are valued together with the rest of the plant for their health benefits. Apart from their high fibre content and antioxidants, globe artichokes are praised for their properties in:

Cancer prevention

Increasing bile flow

Liver health

Treatment of hangover

Helping digestion

Reducing cholesterol

See also this article on the health benefits of Globe Artichokes.

When buying globe artichoke:

Make sure it is firm with tight fresh green leaves and feels heavy when you hold it.

A raw Globe Artichoke

A raw Globe Artichoke

How to prepare and cook a whole globe artichoke

  1. Place the artichoke on a strong cutting board, remove the toughest outer leaves at the base. Grip the stem and cut off most of it leaving only about 3cm on the artichoke.
  2. Trim the stem with a paring knife, removing any tough fibres surrounding the base. Some cooks prefer to trim off the thorny bit of the top of each leaf, I don’t.
  3. Now rinse the artichoke under a cold water tap.
  4. Next, fill a pan large enough to fit all the artichokes comfortably so they are covered with water, to which you add salt and lemon juice, some cooks prefer to cut a lemon into wedges and throw it in.
  5. Bring to the boil then drop in the prepared artichoke, making sure it is well submerged and let it boil gently uncovered for about half an hour to 40 minutes (depending on the size), or until you can easily pull away an outer leaf.
  6. Once it is cooked, place the artichoke upside down in a colander and drain well.

Globe Artichoke Leaves with Lemon Dressing

Ardi Shawki maa Salsit Hamoud.

This is a very simple and basic recipe that you could use as a tasty appetiser, which is very low in calories. Artichoke can be served warm, at room temperature or even cold as some people prefer. When you eat a whole globe artichoke, watch out for the inedible part called the hairy choke: simply scoop it out and discard.

Serves 4


  • 4 globe artichokes: allow 1 artichoke per person
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • About 1 tsp salt

For the lemon sauce

  • 1 fat clove of garlic peeled
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 7 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste & freshly milled black pepper


  1. Prepare and cook the artichokes as described above.
  2. Smash the garlic to a paste then simply whisk in the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust if necessary then pour the sauce into two small bowls.
  3. Place the artichokes on individual serving plates along with the sauce bowls and serve.
  4. Take one leaf, dip it into the sauce and eat the tip of it then discard. When you reach the hairy choke that covers the heart or fond, simply remove it with a spoon and discard, then dip the whole heart into the remainder of the sauce and enjoy: it is delicious!
The Globe Artichoke cooked and ready to serve.

The Globe Artichoke cooked and ready to serve.

Dip the Artichoke leaf in the sauce then eat the tender part, discarding the tough outer part.

Dip the Artichoke leaf in the sauce then eat the tender part, discarding the tough outer part.

The Hairy Choke still covering the Heart

The Hairy Choke still covering the Heart

The Globe Artichoke heart after removing the Hairy Choke

The Globe Artichoke heart after removing the Hairy Choke

Globe Artichoke & Mushroom Salad/ Salatit Ardi Chawki maa al Fitr

For this recipe, you need artichoke hearts which you can buy tinned, or prepare yourself, nevertheless, you can never beat the flavour of freshly prepared artichoke hearts.

I am not intending to explain how to prepare these artichoke hearts from scratch because there are good video clip demonstrations on the internet like on the following ones:


As for the mushrooms, I usually go for the chestnut ones because I like their nutty flavour.

Serves 4


4 artichoke hearts

120 g/ 4½ oz chestnut mushrooms, cleaned

1 small onion preferably red

3 tbsp of fresh chopped parsley

As a garnish base: A handful of mixed baby salad leaves such as spinach, beetroot leaves… washed and dried

25g pine nuts toasted (optional)


2 fat cloves of garlic peeled

4 tbsp lemon juice

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp sumac (optional)

Salt to taste & freshly milled black pepper


  1. First cook the mushrooms. Drop the prepared mushrooms into a small pan of simmering water, add a pinch of salt and simmer for 5 minutes. Next, drain the mushrooms and leave in the colander until they are easy to handle then quarter each one and transfer into the salad bowl.
  2. To cook the raw artichoke hearts. Drop the prepared artichoke hearts into a pan of simmering water to which you add salt and 1 tbsp lemon juice, making sure that they are well submerged, top up with more boiling water if necessary. Simmer the for about seven minutes by which time the artichoke hearts should be tender, then tip into a colander to drain. Slice them into chunks then add to the mushrooms
  3. If using tinned artichoke hearts, simply drain them from the brine, cut into chunks and proceed as above.
  4. Thinly slice the onion then tip into the salad bowl along with the chopped parsley.
  5. Whisk all the dressing ingredients, season to taste then tip it over the salad and mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust if needed.
  6. Divide the baby leaves salad between the individual salad plates, top with the dressed salad and scatter the toasted pine nuts over (if you choose to do so). Serve at once.
  7. Toasting pine nuts: wipe a small frying pan with a little oil or butter, tip in the pine nuts and put on a low heat and let the nuts toast keeping a close eye and shaking the pan from time to time until they turn golden. Remove from the heat, transfer onto a small plate, they are ready for use.
Artichoke and Mushtoom Salad

Artichoke and Mushtoom Salad



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The squid is cooked in its ink together with bay leaves, orange peel, lemon and lime which gives it a subtle flavour of the sea. It is then served in its inky juice mixture as a cold salad, garnished with parsley, suitable for a spring evening with a glass of chilled arak or white wine. You need a big squid about 550g / 1¼ lb or over, when you buy it, ask the fishmonger to reserve the sac of ink. You can also buy the ink separately in sachets, some fishmongers stock it.


Loligo vulgaris is the most commonly known edible squid, it is native to the Mediterranean and the Eastern Atlantic including the British Isles. However, I noticed that some squids have less ink than others. Therefore, if you want the deep black colour, make sure you have extra ink.


If you want to know more about squids, here are two suggested websites:


Serves 4




·         1 kg / 2¼ lb squid cleaned keeping the sac of ink intact.

·         Enough water to cover the squid

·         3 bay leaves

·         1 orange peel, 1 large lemon quartered, 1 whole lime quartered

·         Salt and freshly milled black pepper

·         Extra virgin olive oil

·         3 cloves of garlic peeled (optional)

·         2 tbsps lemon juice or to taste

·         A generous handful of fresh parsley chopped       




1.      Start cleaning the squid if it hasn’t been done already. Put the squid on a solid area like large cutting board. While holding the body firmly with one hand, carefully remove the head (you will see the eyes) and tentacles with the other hand pulling along with it the guts containing the mucus. The ink sac is attached to the guts. It is very small and you will see the dark ink through the whitish membrane. It is very fragile, cut it off very carefully, but make sure there is something like a saucer underneath (to the catch the juice in case it breaks).  Next, cut off the tentacles from the head, just below the eyes. Throw away the head and other innards. There is inside the ring of tentacles what looks like a hard cartilage umbilicus, if you squeeze the tentacles, this umbilicus-like ring will pop out, pull it off and discard. Now, back to the main body, pull out what feels like a plastic quill in the inside, discard. Next, tear off the fins from both sides of the body and the outer brownish skin should all peel off, discard. Clean and wash the body and tentacles thoroughly with water, to remove any other membrane or guts, and to get rid of any sand or grit.   

2.      Transfer the cleaned squid and tentacles to the pan, pour enough tap water to cover. Prick the ink bag over the pan and stir in 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Give it a good stir, then throw in the bay leaves, orange peel, lemon and lime slices.

3.      Using a high to medium setting, bring the mixture to the boil. Season then cover and let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes, until just tender. Overcooking makes them chewy.

4.      Meanwhile prepare the dressing. Crush (if using) the garlic to a paste, transfer to a deep serving salad bowl and whisk in lemon juice. Remove the squid and tentacles from the inky juice and cut into thick slices, toss into the dressing.

5.      Discard the orange peel, bay leaves, lemon and lime slices. Strain the remaining juice and add it to the squid mixture. Taste, and if necessary, top up with more lemon juice. If you are not eating immediately, cover and keep it in the fridge.

6.      Just before serving, drizzle about 1 tbsp of extra virgin oil and add in the parsley. Serve with Lebanese bread on the side. Crusty bread also goes well.

This is a simple salad that works well as a side dish or as a starter, the beetroot itself, especially when it is freshly boiled, has a full sweetish flavour that is fulfilling, with no fat content. It has many other benefits, for example, it is a rich source of fibres and carbohydrates. In fact the pigment that gives the beetroot its red colour, possesses antioxidant properties which can help to fight some diseases. If you can, try to buy small bunches that have small tender leaves, because the leaves are also edible, in addition, they provide iron, foliate and beta-carotene.

At home, we used to combine vinegar with olive oil to make the dressing. In this recipe, I substituted the vinegar with the balsamic one and added a ½ tsp of sugar.  

If you like to know more about beetroot, here are two useful websites:


Serves 4


  • 2 small bunches of beetroot with leaves
  • A pinch of salt

For the dressing

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp sugar (optional)


Cut off the beetroot leaves, discarding any that are discoloured or tough, then wash thoroughly, drain excess water and dry.

Wash beetroots then transfer to a pan, wide enough to fit them, cover with plenty of water, add a pinch of salt and boil for about 30 minutes or until tender.

Once cooked, peel off the skin in a bowl of cool water, placing them as you finish on the cutting board. Slice the way you like, I normally quarter them, tip in a large salad bowl, then thinly shred the leaves. Add to the beetroot. 

Whisk thoroughly all the dressing ingredients and mix well with the beetroot mixture. Serve at once.


NB. If you think that the leaves are not as tender as you would like them to be, and you still want to add them to the beetroot, this is my suggestion: heat up about 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan, add the leaves as whole tossing frequently until they have just wilted. Divide between four serving plates and top with the dressed beetroot.

When it comes to aubergines or eggplants, Lebanese cuisine does not restrict itself to the famous Baba Ghannouge or Moutabbal, we do several dishes ranging from salads to main courses, with or without meat. This one is a healthy salad starter for the summer. The addition of fresh tomatoes, spring onions and fresh mint to the grilled aubergines, makes this dish colourful and tasty. You can prepare the aubergines ahead of time and keep in the fridge until you are ready to eat.

There are different varieties of aubergines that come in different sizes, shapes and colours like purple (most commonly available in the Western supermarkets), green, or white, there are even orange varieties. You can read more on the subject and look at photos of the different varieties by visiting:


For this salad, you need large plump aubergines (purple) because they are meatier and grill better. As for the herbs, go for fresh ones if you can, they give a better taste and you can vary: fresh parsley or basil for example make a good alternative to the mint I use for this recipe.


Serves 3-4




  • 2 large aubergines or eggplants  about 1½ kg / 3¼ lb
  • 300 g / 11 oz tomatoes washed
  • 3 spring onions trimmed and washed, alternatively use one medium red onion
  • Leaves of 3 sprigs of fresh mint, rinsed and patted dry on kitchen paper
  • The seeds of half of a sour pomegranate or 1 tsp paprika.  




  • 2 or 3 fat cloves of garlic peeled.
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & freshly milled black pepper


You also need a large shallow baking tray, lined with aluminium foil to catch the juices later, and prevent them from sticking directly onto the baking tray.




  1. Pre-heat the grill to a medium to high setting.
  2. Wash the aubergines as they are (you do not need to remove the stems) and pat dry the skin with kitchen paper. Laying the aubergines on the baking tray, make four evenly spaced longitudinal cuts to stop them from bursting during cooking.
  3. Grill the aubergines for 40 minutes turning them every 10 minutes to cook all sides thoroughly. You should end up with a black charred skin with soft inside and some of their juices coming out. Let it cool down slightly so it is easy to handle.
  4. Split each aubergine in half lengthways, remove the soft flesh and lay it in the salad dish. If you have too much excess juice, use a kitchen paper to absorb it because it can affect the taste. You can stop at this stage, if you are not eating immediately, cover the salad dish with cling film and pop it in the fridge.
  5. When you are ready to serve, smash the garlic until smooth, then mix in all the dressing ingredients, season and adjust taste.
  6. Chop finely tomatoes and spring onions, roughly shred the mint leaves, then scatter the whole lot over the prepared aubergines. Do likewise with the pomegranate seeds  
  7. Drizzle the dressing all over the aubergine mixture and serve at once with warmed Lebanese bread.

I prefer to use fresh Lebanese green thyme, it has long leaves, bigger than the lemon thyme that is commonly known in England. However, Lebanese thyme is only found in Lebanese stores during spring and summer. This is why I tried it with lemon thyme and it worked. Thyme salad makes an ideal appetiser, regardless of your eating habits, and guess what! It is very easy to make.


Serves 4




  • 1 bunch weighing 25 g / 1oz of lemon thyme, leaves picked washed and dried on a kitchen paper
  • 1 or 2 spring onions finely chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Seasoning: salt to taste
  • ½ tsp sumac (optional)




1        Put thyme leaves and the chopped onions in a small salad bowl. Whisk lemon juice and olive oil, then toss into the thyme mixture. Season, taste and adjust if necessary.

2        Serve with Arabic bread or if you want to add a twist, thinly slice some Ciabatta bread, smear each piece with 1 generous tsp of the salad and enjoy with a well chilled drink.  

Suitable for vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters, tabbouleh works well as a starter, a healthy snack and as an accompaniment to barbecued chicken.  


Lebanese tabbouleh is mainly made with parsley and tomatoes. Another authentic ingredient is the fine bulgar wheat or burghul and not couscous as it is generally sold in supermarkets. The amount of burghul can vary according to taste and in the past, as far as I remember, the less you put of it for the guests, the more appropriate it was considered. Another important thing is, do please avoid using a food processor because the real taste lies in the way you treat and chop the ingredients.


One more tip, tabbouleh is best served fresh. If you do have to prepare in advance, I suggest chopping the ingredients and piling them on top of each other then stop at stage 5. Mix the remaining ingredients just before serving. Please, do not leave the prepared dish in the fridge for hours because it will go mushy and the freshly mixed taste that is unique to it will be lost.


Serves 4




  • 1 bunch of preferably flat leaf parsley weighing about 150grms / 5oz
  • Few sprigs of mint enough to make 1tbsp about 20 grams / ¾ oz
  • 3 spring onions or 1 small onion, preferably red.
  • 2-3 tbsp fine grain bulgar wheat or burghul preferably brown 
  • 350grms / 12 oz vine-ripened  tomatoes or any tasty tomatoes.
  • 4 tbsps lemon juice or to taste
  • 3-4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • To serve: Crisp lettuce or white cabbage washed and chilled (optional)




  1. Remove and discard the thick parsley stalks, keeping the fine ones that have the leaves attached and wash thoroughly with cold water in a colander until you get rid of the grit. Drain the excess water then dry thoroughly on a clean tea towel. Once dried, chop finely (relatively fine not extremely fine) and put in a large mixing bowl. 
  2. Repeat the same process with the mint leaves (using only the leaves), then add them to the parsley.
  3. Finely chop the onion and add it to the parsley-mint mixture.
  4. Rinse the bulgar wheat in a sieve under cold water, drain then squeeze the bulgar wheat with your hands to get rid of the excess water and add it to the mixture, season with salt and freshly milled black pepper.
  5. Finely chop the tomatoes and add on top of the bulgar wheat, the idea is that the juices from the tomatoes will moisten and flavour the bulgar wheat. If you are not ready to serve, cover the mixture and leave it in the fridge, ideally not for too long.
  6. Using 2 large spoons mix everything while adding at the same time the lemon juice. Taste to check seasoning, adjust if necessary, then finally add the olive oil.
  7. Serve at once with the lettuce or cabbage on the side. In Lebanon, During the Summer people serve young vine leaves as their lemony taste nicely complements tabbouleh.  


Drink. Arak, the Lebanese national drink goes nicely with tabbouleh so does chilled Lebanese beer or medium sweet white wine.

Fattoush can be served on its own as a light starter or as an accompaniment to a Lebanese roasted or barbecued chicken or kebabs.

You can use whatever salad ingredients you like. The main ones are bread, tomatoes and sumac (see Glossary), ingredients which give authenticity to the dish. In Lebanon, we use ba’li (purslane), it is a herb sold usually in bunches and you often see it in Lebanese, Greek and Turkish grocers during spring and summer. We use the leaves which are dark green and tender, that is why we don’t chop them. If you can’t get purslane, you could replace it with fresh broad flat leaf watercress, though peppery, it works well.



Fattoush tastes better if mixed and served straight away. You can prepare the dressing ahead of time and leave it aside. Likewise, you can chop the vegetables including herbs and keep in the fridge but leave out the toasted bread and add it last before pouring the dressing into the mixture. This is my version:

Serves: 2-3 people



  • Half an Arabic bread or pitta bread toasted and broken into small pieces
  • 3 – 4 leaves of romano lettuce shredded or any kind of crisp lettuce
  • 1small onion finely sliced or the equivalent of spring onions finely chopped
  • 1 small cucumber or ¼ of an English cucumber coarsely chopped into cubes
  • 2 red radishes thinly sliced in circles. Alternatively ½ small red pepper thinly sliced
  • 50gr / 2 oz purslane. Strip the leaves off the stalks, wash leaves in a colander, drain excess water then dry on kitchen paper. Alternatively, use the same amount of fresh broad flat leaf watercress.
  • Few sprigs of mint or 1 full tsp dried mint.
  • 25g/1 oz parsley rough stalks discarded keeping the fine ones that have the leaves attached washed and dried then coarsely chopped.
  • 275g/ 10 oz vine-ripened tomatoes chopped


  • 1fat clove of garlic peeled and crushed to a paste
  • 2tbsp lemon juice
  • 1tsp sumac
  • 4tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Seasoning: Salt and freshly milled black pepper


  • Mix the chopped vegetables and herbs, season, then add the bread last.
  • Mix the dressing ingredients and tip them into the salad mixture, toss them together, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • Serve at once, for the bread has to be moist but most importantly crunchy. Like most salads, consume the same day.