Tabboulet Shitta – Winter Tabbouli with Orange & Fennel

By Mieke

It feels weird to share a recipe while people are starving. Particularly when that recipe comes from a cookbook from an author that comes from the culture that is actively being starved. That said I really loved reading Reem Assil‘s Arabiyya: Recipes from the Life of an Arab in Diaspora last year and I really wanted to share something from it, because it’s the best cookbook I read last year and it deserves all its honors. And maybe now is a better time than ever, so here is the recipe for winter tabbouli with orange and fennel from this brilliant book.

Arabiyya by Reem Assil

Arabiyya: Recipes from the Life of an Arab in Diaspora

Because it’s hard to find the words and words feel rather frivolous to begin with, I’ll just repeat here what I posted about Arabiyya late last year.

I have no words for what is being done to Palestinians right now. I have been following Reem Assil for a while and finally got round to reading her beautiful book Arabiyya: Recipes from the Life of An Arab in Diaspora in September, right before all hell broke loose to a new extreme. Arabiyya is such a wonderful book. It is filled with amazing recipes, as well as Reem’s personal history both as a Palestinian, a community organizer and finally a baker. It feels wrong right now to say “Oh I can’t wait to cook from this” though of course I do. But what I really want is for people to read this book and learn about what it means to be Palestinian, and what you can do to organize resistance to what is happening in Palestine as well as to what is happening all over the world.

Winter tabbouli

As Reem writes, tabbouli is a main-stay of Arab (American) plates both at home and in eateries, and all tabbouli’s are not created equal. I had my first tabbouli years ago, when I was still living in London. A friend, whose father I always thought of as Lebanese until she shared her distress in the fall of last year because his family only fled to Lebanon during the Nakba and he is actually Palestinian, took me to a Lebanese restaurant in London. I don’t remember anything else we had but that tabouli, it was so good and so ridiculously herby. I never found another tabbouli like it.

So when I saw there was a recipe for winter tabbouli with orange and fennel (my all time favorite vegetable) in Reem’s Arabiyya, I knew I had to make it. It’s absolutely delicious, and it really challenges you to get your own seasoning down. So season with a light hand from step 8 onwards and then taste and add and taste and add some more (or not).

Resources to learn more about or support Palestinians

I wanted to add some resources to this to help you learn more about the situation in Palestine or to offer your support.

Tabboulet shitta- Winter tabbouli with orange and fennel

Dorothy Porker
Delicious herby and sweet winter tabbouli from Reem Assil's beautiful cookbook Arabiyya.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Course Salad, Side dish
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 4


  • Small bowl
  • Zester I like a fine microplane
  • cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Large bowl
  • Fine mesh strainer or a clean cloth


  • 1/3 C fine bulgur
  • 2 medium oranges
  • 1 small fennel bulb cut into small dices, reserve the fronds for garnish
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 C parsley about 1 1/2 bunches, finely chopped (see instructions)
  • 1 C mint about 1 bunch, finely chopped (see instructions)
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil the best you can afford
  • 1 T pomegranate molasses
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced (not pressed)
  • 1 t sumac plus a pinch for garnish
  • 1 t salt more to taste
  • 1/2 t black pepper freshly ground, more to taste
  • 4 heads little gem lettuce or 1 head romaine


  • In a small bowl, cover 1/3 C of bulgur with hot water and set aside for 15 minutes until doubled in size.
  • In the meantime, zest 2 oranges and set aside the zest for garnish.
  • Peel the oranges, using a sharp knife to cut away the peels. I like to top and tail the oranges so you can see where the pith runs and peel straight to the flesh.
  • Cut out the segments of orange with your knife, cut into bite-sized pieces and place into a large bowl.
  • To finely cut 1 1/2 bunches of parsley and 1 bunch of mint, Reem advises you to thoroughly dry the herbs after washing, discarding all the stems and using ONLY the leaves.
    I like to bunch the leaves as tight as I can under my fingers and get to chopping. First a once over to break the leaves up and then just rocking the knife back and forth across the leaves to get them as fine as possible.
    I tried using a small food processor but I found this makes the leaves too mushy.
  • Add the herbs to the bowl of bite-sized pieces of orange with the finely chopped 1/2 red onion.
  • Using a fine mesh strainer (or a clean cloth), drain any excess water from th bulgur before adding it to the bowl with the other ingredients.
  • Add the juice of 2 lemons, my lemons were super juicy so I felt 1 1/2 lemons was enough, so you know, adjust to taste.
  • Add 1/4 C of olive oil, 1 T of pomegranate molasses, 2 finely minced cloves of garlic, 1 t of sumac, 1 t of salt and 1/2 t of freshly ground black pepper. Mix thoroughly and add seasons as you see fit. I found I like a little more molasses and a lot more black pepper, but you do you.
  • Serve in the large bowl or individually with individual lettuce leaves filled with the tabbouli. Garnish with the orange zest, fennel fronds and more sumac.


  • Obviously great with flat bread and/ or grilled meats

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