Taste of the Middle East: Falafel and Tabouli Salad

I’m trying something new cooking wise. While I may not be in a position to constantly galavant around the globe (full-time job and all that!) I thought it would be fun to tantalize my tastebuds with some delicious recipes from around the world instead. And the first meal I decided to ‘cook-up’ for the ‘Taste of” challenge was Middle Eastern-inspired falafel and tabouli salad.

Cooking and I have never really seen eye to eye and, besides making the odd mediocre moussaka over the years, the extent of my culinary patience rarely extends further than throwing together a quick curry or stir fry. Well, here’s where things are going to change! In a few weeks time, I’m moving into a new flat in Liverpool with my boyfriend and I want us to cook healthy, delicious meals as oppose to hitting the local takeaways.

So, I looked up the recipes for falafel and tabouli salad online, purchased the ingredients and made a massive mess in the kitchen! But the end result wasn’t too shabby. Okay, I could have mashed the chickpeas a wee bit more and I may have gone slightly overboard on the flat leaf parsley. But, whatever, it tasted FIT! It only takes about half-an-hour to make as well – including 10 minutes preparation time. Don’t worry, that’s not according to Jamie Oliver!

Ingredients of cooking middle eastern food

Falafel recipe and cooking instructions

Ingredients: 1 small onion, 1 garlic glove, can of chickpeas, 1 tbsp of cumin, 1 tbsp of coriander, a handful of  flat leaf parsley and 1 egg, salt and pepper.

  1. Heat some olive oil in a pan and fry the onions and garlic
  2. Tip into bowl with chickpeas and spices and mash together
  3. Stir in parsley and an egg
  4. Mould into flat balls and place on an oven tray (you should get around 4 out of this mixture)
  5. preheat the oven to gas mark 6 and bake for 12-15 minutes

cooking middle eastern food

How to make tabouli salad

I’d never even heard of tabouli salad until my sister recently introduced me to an incredible Syrian restaurant in Withington, Manchester called Aladdin. It’s unbelievably fresh and delicious – the perfect accompaniment for the falafel!

Ingredients: 1 cup of bulgar wheat, 1/3 cup of olive oil, 1 clove of garlic, 1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves, bunch of flat leaf parsley, 4 tomatoes and 1 cucumber, 1 lemon, salt and pepper.

  1. Boil some water in a pan and place the bulgar wheat in to simmer for 20 minutes
  2. Blend the olive oil, lemon juice and garlic
  3. Add mint leaves, salt and pepper to mixture and blend
  4. Chop parsley, cucumber and tomatoes (peel and de-seed the cucumber)
  5. Drain bulgar wheat and add on the dressing
  6. Add the parsley, tomatoes and cucumber
  7. Leave to cool down and place in the fridge for an hour or so before serving

cooking middle eastern food

I added a dollop of hummus on the side and served with mint tea to stick with the Middle East theme. 

falafel and tabouli salad


I’ve got no idea what to make next for my Taste of? Do you have any suggestions? 


    • May 8, 2013 / 19:10

      Ha ha, cheers Fernando! I’m glad the food looks appetising.

  1. May 6, 2013 / 06:33

    Looks fabulous!! Good for you to try different food. I love middle eastern fcuisine.

    • May 8, 2013 / 19:09

      Thanks Darlene, I was surprised it turned out okay and the falafel didn’t crumble everywhere ha ha. It was unbelievably tasty!

  2. May 6, 2013 / 12:51

    This looks so delicious! I love falafel. I haven’t been anywhere in the Middle East but look forward to sampling all the food when I do. Great idea bringing food from around the world to your kitchen when you’re at home – then you can say you’ve made all these kinds of food when you visit these places and perfect your recipes!
    Emma @ GottaKeepMovin recently posted..How Volunteering Around the Globe has Changed My Style of Travel, and My LifeMy Profile

    • May 8, 2013 / 19:07

      Thanks Emma, it’s like hitting two birds with one stone. Keeping a travel interest going and hopefully learning to be a better cook in the process! Can’t wait to visit all of the places where the food’s from! My next recipe is from another place I’ve never been – Malaysia.

  3. May 6, 2013 / 15:51

    Great idea. I’m guilty of getting in a bit of a cooking rut and have been trying to make a new recipe from one of my many recipe books at least once a week. The Rick Stein Far Eastern Odyssey book is great for Asian food and the Jamie Does.. one for Moroccan, Greek, Spanish etc. Tagines are always a good one to cook of you want to try Moroccan?
    Lucy Dodsworth recently posted..Las Vegas does the worldMy Profile

    • May 8, 2013 / 19:04

      Thanks for the Moroccan suggestion, Lucy. I’ve heard tagines are gorgeous but never tried myself (I know, shocking!). It’s so easy to get into cooking rut, usually when I get home from work the last thing I want to do is spend an hour cooking food. Too tired and lazy. I like to cook at the weekend.

  4. May 6, 2013 / 20:40

    I took a private middle eastern cooking class with some friends and I can say it’s hard work with a lot of prep. But it sure taste good. I’m going to attempt to try your recipe.
    Sherry recently posted..Whitewater Rafting on the Wenantchee RiverMy Profile

    • May 8, 2013 / 19:00

      Wow bet that cooking class was interesting! I love all of the spices they use and fresh ingredients. Good luck with the recipes just don’t do what I did and use basil instead of mint. Oooops prob shouldn’t have revealed that. I’m a good cook… honestly ;-)

  5. May 6, 2013 / 23:11

    We do our share of Mexican food at home in Germany. As the restaurants of it are so far pretty awful. We make Fajitas and Ali has a Salsa recipe that she is refining. We were in Turkey last year and thought about getting a book of food, but in a reverse of Mexican food there are plenty of decent Turkish places in Germany.
    Andrew recently posted..Beyond Vacation Summer ItineraryMy Profile

    • May 8, 2013 / 18:53

      Yum, love Mexican food and fajitas are always fun to make! That’s funny the Mexican restaurants in Germany are so bad. I remember in Canada, I felt the same about the Indian restaurants! I couldn’t wait to get a decent curry when I got back to England!

    • May 8, 2013 / 18:50

      Ha ha, I’m happy the food looks good enough to make you hungry!

    • May 8, 2013 / 18:48

      Falafel’s delicious and a great example of how tasty veggie food can be. Not that I’m a veggie, but I do love veggie food! Will have to look up more chickpeas recipes, don’t think I’ve cooked much else using them.

    • May 11, 2013 / 23:57

      Cool, thanks Ellen! Enjoy :-)

    • May 28, 2013 / 19:00

      Cool, hope you do it’s delish!