Winter Tabbouleh or Qawarma Tabbouleh

Qawarma tabbouleh served with boiled cabbage leaves
Qawarma tabbouleh served with boiled cabbage leaves

Qawarma tabbouleh is prepared in the Lebanese mountains during winter when summer vegetables (tomato, parsley and green onions) are out of season. It is cooked in the West Bekaa and Shouf villages with “Qawarma” or lamb meat preserved in fat and served with boiled cabbage leaves.

Total Servings: 4


1 cup of coarse bulgur

1 cup of chickpeas, pealed and boiled (save the water when you drain)

2 medium onions, finely chopped

1 cup of Qawarma

Salt and pepper to taste

1 small cabbage

1 Tbsp. of dry mint

 Preparation Steps:

  1. Wash the cabbage leaves and cook them in the chickpea water
  2. In a pot, melt the qawarma and stir in the onions, chickpeas, and bulgur
  3. Season with salt, pepper and dry mint
  4. Serve the tabbouleh hot with the cooked cabbage leaves





Grilled potato kebbeh stuffed with goat labneh

Kebbet batata

Potato kebbeh or kebbit batata is typical of the West Bekaa villages. It can be consumed fried or grilled for a healthier option. It is usually stuffed with goat labneh with or without kawarma.

Total servings: 12 pieces



1 kg of boiled and peeled potato

5 kg of fine red bulgur

½ cup of white flour (sometimes substituted with leftover bread crumbs)


100 g of goat labneh

2 tbsp of kawarm (optional)

1 grated onion

1 tsp dried mint

Salt and white pepper to taste

Preparation steps:

  1. Smash the potato then combine with bulgur and flour
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the labneh with kawarma, onion, dried mint and spices
  3. Form kebbeh balls, the size of a gold ball
  4. Hold the kebbeh in one hand and with the index of the other hand, make a whole in it while turning the kebbeh and pressing it against the palm of your hand to widen it
  5. With a spoon, stuff the kebbeh with the labneh mixture
  6. Close the kebbeh and press it to obtain a flattened kebbeh
  7. Grill the kebbeh on charcoal on both sides



Bulgur and tomatoes

bulgur aa banadoura

Bulgur and tomatoes or “borghoul aa banadoura” is a simple, yet nutritious traditional Lebanese recipe. While enjoying this rustic dish, one can munch on vegetable pickles, green pepper, radishes, green onions or any kind of fresh greens. According to personal preferences, one can also add a pinch of cumin, hot chili pepper powder or red pepper paste (sweet or hot). Some people prefer to enjoy it with a cup of yogurt.

Total Servings: 4

Preparation time: 1 hour


½ kg of tomatoes, diced

250 gr of coarse bulgur wheat (preferably whole)

1 small onion, finely chopped

½ liter of chicken broth

2 tbsp of Extra Virgin olive oil

1 tbsp of tomato paste (optional)

Salt and black pepper to taste

Preparation Steps:

  1. Fry onion in olive oil until it turns golden, over medium to high heat
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for 2-3 minutes
  3. Add chicken broth and cook until it boils (you can dissolve at this stage the 1 tbsp of tomato paste)
  4. Once boiling, lower the heat and add the bulgur wheat
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  6. Cook until the water dries
  7. Serve warm or cold

Moujaddara hamra – Bean moujaddara


Bean moujaddara or “mjaddarit fassolia” is a traditional recipe of the Shouf region and South of Lebanon, prepared with red beans instead of lentils. It is also known as red moujaddara or “Moujaddara hamra“.

Total Servings: 4

Preparation time: 2 hours


1 cup beans soaked overnight

¾ cup bulgur

2.5 L water

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 onion, finely chopped

5 Tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation Steps:

  1. Add the beans to 1 L of water and bring to boil.
  2. While boiling, add 500 mL of water and cover. Stir occasionally.
  3. After 1 hour, add another 500 mL of water.
  4. Sauté the chopped onions in the olive oil with salt until lightly brown.
  5. Add one more half liter of water to the beans.
  6. Add the tomato paste and the bulgur to the fried onions; mix well and add the mixture to the boiling beans.
  7. Simmer for 30 more minutes, then add 500 mL of water and some pepper. Stir occasionally until the beans are well cooked and you get the consistency of moujaddara.
  8. Serve hot.

Lemon Zenkoul

Zenkoul_“Zenkoul” is a traditional Lebanese recipe mainly known in West Bekaa, prepared during Lent and on Good Friday. The method of preparation varies from one village to another: some add sumac instead of pomegranate molasses, others use vinegar instead of lemon juice; dried mint is sometimes sprinkled at the end.

Zenkoul is a similar recipe to Kebbit el Rahib (Monk’s Kebbeh) and Mansoufeh all prepared with the simple basic ingredients bulgur and flour but vary with their sauce.

All in all, Zenkoul is a nutritious and delicious dish.

Total Servings: 5

Preparation Time: 1 hour


For the dough

1 cup of bulgur (fine)

½ cup of flour

1 teaspoon of pepper

1 teaspoon of salt

¾ cup of water

For the sauce

½ cup of chickpea, soaked overnight

2 medium onions, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups of water

Juice of 2 lemons

1 pinch of rice

Olive oil

1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses

The small dough balls that are called “zenkoul”

Preparation Steps:


  1. Mix flour, burgul, pepper, salt and water and knead to form dough
  2. Take small pieces of dough and make balls or zenkoul with the palm of your hands, leave aside
The sauce is simple and delicious
  1. In a large pot, put the chickpea with 2 cups of water and leave to boil
  2. In a pan, fry the onion until soft, add the minced garlic
  3. When the water of the chickpea starts boiling, add the 2 remaining cups of water, the fried onion and garlic and the zenkoul
  4. Add the rice and cook for 20 minutes until the “zenkoul” is done and the sauce is thick
  5. Add the lemon juice and the pomegranate molasses
  6. Serve hot 
Zenkoul sprinkled with dry mint

Vegetarian Stuffed Vine Leaves

Stuffed vine leaves or “waraa enab” in Arabic is a popular dish around the Mediterranean. In this version of the recipe, bulgur has been used instead of rice as it is very rich in fiber and is produced locally in the Bekaa valley of Lebanon.

Total Servings: 18

Preparation time: 1 hour

One serving: 12 pieces


650 g vine leaves, washed

4 tsp salt

For the stuffing:

1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped

4 small tomatoes, washed and finely chopped

3 ½ cups (140g) parsley, washed and trimmed

15 g fresh mint, washed and finely chopped

3 ½ cups bulgur

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

¼ cup olive oil

Juice of 2 medium lemons

Preparation Steps:


  1. Wash the bulgur and leave it aside to dry.
  2. In a large bowl, mix well all the ingredients of the stuffing with olive oil and lemon juice.

Grape Leaves:

  1. Clean and cut stems off the vine leaves. Place the fresh leaves in boiling water for 3 minutes until softened.
  2. Spread each vine leave and fill it with 1 Tbsp of the stuffing. Then roll it in a finger-like shape.
  3. In a large saucepan, arrange the stuffed vine leaves in layers, then cover them with water and add salt.
  4. Cook for one hour or until done.
Hosts and local guides

The Gorayeb family, Saghbine

Fadi Sharara

At the Ghorayeb family business, one can experience the entire process of dairy production and bulgur. With more than 40 years of experience in dairy production, the mother – Amale Ghorayeb – decided to open her own business of goat milk dairy products. Tante Amale takes milk from shepherds in her village and other surrounding villages, a true ode to local production and Km Zero.

With time, and assisted with her daughter Grace, she extended her business to include cow milk processing and to develop her line of mouneh.

Following her footsteps, her son Fadi, opened a wheat mill and a bakery for mana’ish; he processes wheat to make different grades of bulgur while his wife manages the bakery which makes all sorts of mana’ish and pastries.

Amale and her daughter Grace always smiling to their visitors
Amale and her daughter Grace always smiling to their visitors. Picture ©Barbara Massaad
Food Tourism Activities

Bulgur making

Spreading the boiled wheat on the roof to dry under the hot Bekaa sun

Making wheat into bulgur is an ancient process that originated in the Mediterranean region and has been an integral part of Middle Eastern cuisine for thousands of years. It may, in fact, be man’s first “processed food.”

Harvested wheat being boiled

The ancient preparation process is still used in small villages in the eastern Mediterranean: boiling the wheat in huge pots (sometimes for days) until thoroughly cooked, spreading out on flat rooftops to dry in the sun, then cracking the hardened kernels into coarse pieces and sieving them into different sizes for various uses. Bulgur remained exclusively a traditional food of the Mediterranean region for many years.

Fady checking if the wheat is well cooked

Modern nutritionists discovered what the ancients already knew: the value of bulgur as a “perfect food” in terms of palatability and keeping quality.

To learn more on bulgur processing, Darb el karam offers a visit to the Ghorayeb family mill in Saghbine, West Bekaa, where visitors can witness the whole process from arrival of harvested wheat to the mill until cracking it into bulgur ready to be used in the kitchen!

bulgur 1
Bulgur spread on the roof