What’s Cookin’ – Gram’s Armenian Tabouleh Salad

This is my third in a series of Armenian recipes that I have been making lately as I revisit the time that I lived in an Armenian community in Boston in the early 1980s.

I talked about Gram (here) in an earlier post.  She was the Armenian woman who introduced me to many of the foods from her homeland.  She made homemade yogurt (madzoon), which I loved, so I started making it, too.  She had a garden with fresh parsley and mint – my first experience with freshly grown herbs.  I thought the only way to use a spice was to buy the dried stuff from the grocery store.  My mouth came alive with the tastes of freshly grown herbs, freshly pickled vegetables, freshly made pastries, and freshly made vegetables.  I ate stuffed grape leaves and eggplant and Armenian bread.  I ate a raw meat dish called Keyma.  And it was all good.

I grew up as the world’s pickiest eater, but my taste buds and palate came alive with the many ethnic foods available in Boston including the Middle Eastern “delicacies” from Gram’s kitchen.

One of these dishes was a bulghur wheat salad called Tabouleh.  There are many variations of spellings for this Middle Eastern dish – tabouluy, tabbouleh, tabouli, tabbouli, taboule – which is common in Greece, Lebanon, and throughout the region.

The following recipe is Gram’s actual recipe which I have adapted to include more exact measurements (rather than a little of this and a little of that).  This dish can be served as either an appetizer with pieces of Pita bread or as a side dish.  Using freshly grown tomatoes and freshly squeezed lemon juice will result in a dish that I like to describe as “tasting like Summer.”  Try it.  I think you’ll agree.

Gram’s Tabouleh Salad ingredients.

First of all, pour one cup of boiling water over ¾ cup of fine bulghur wheat.  Place the bowl into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, the wheat will have soaked up all of the water, and it will look like this.  While the wheat is soaking, you can cut up the parsley, scallions, and tomatoes.  Squeeze the lemon juice and mix with the olive oil.

Place the wheat into a large bowl and add your finely minced parsley, finely minced scallions, diced tomatoes, and finely minced mint.  Stir to combine well.  Add your olive oil and lemon juice mixture and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well to combine and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to meld.

Gram’s Tabouleh Salad – ready to eat with some Pita bread or serve as a side dish.  Truly like a taste of Summer in your mouth.


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8 Responses to What’s Cookin’ – Gram’s Armenian Tabouleh Salad

  1. Alicia says:

    Have fun and be safe on your trip. I will miss visiting you daily (I will still check, “just in case” 🙂 you still post). Enjoy the time with your sister/s and her kids and be sure to take lots of pictures as we will be excited to hear about your travels.

    • Mama says:

      Thanks, but I still plan on posting frequently if not daily. I just don’t know what time each day as it will be dependent on Internet access since we will be driving through some rather remote areas. I love driving across our great country – it is so beautiful!


  2. Donna says:

    Just what I was Looking for. I have been craving some good armenian food, and this is perfect. Also going for some beef kebabs, with tzatziki.. perfect summer fare. Thanks for posting, reminds me of my armenian grandmother.

    • Mama says:

      Oh, yes, I made chicken kebobs and tzatziki and Greek potatoes and green beans with the Tabouleh Salad a few weeks ago. Yummy! Hope you enjoy this one and the others that I have been posting. I have a Souboereg recipe that will be going up soon, too.


  3. Paul says:

    Dear Mama
    I am new to your page and found that delicious recipe for tabbouleh and started reading your story as well as Gram and found it riveting. God bless you and your family!

    • Mama says:

      Thank you for visiting and commenting. I think most of our food memories include stories like these, and I love to share them.


  4. George Margosian says:

    My father made an Armenian dish with bulghur wheat and chopped beef ( hamburger meat). We called it kufta. He took a rectangular pan ,spread Crisco ,not the oil, on the pan …He put in one layer of bulghur in first…..Next a layer of chopped meat on top of that. After that another layer of bulghur on top of that. Cooked in the oven. He cut the bulghur into diamond shape. Now, for the life of me I can’t recall the correct name of recipe which is what this email is about. Do you know what it was called. Thank you, George Margosian. If you have your recipe and care to share that would be good too.

    • Mama says:


      Thank you for visiting! I don’t have a recipe for Kufta, but there are 5 in my 1974 edition of the church cookbook I have from Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church of Greater Boston. Two are meatless Lenten versions and the others call for lamb or lamb / beef mixtures. They are titled California Sini Kufta, Sini Kufta, and Izmir Kufta. I would be happy to scan these recipes and send them to you if you email me at mama@mamasemptynest.com. I can’t recall ever having this dish, but looking at the recipes I am going to try it!


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