Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad |

Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad {Eetch or Mock Kheyma}

There is a lot of chaos happening in our world right now. And it’s left me feeling anxious, sad, overwhelmed and at times, small and insignificant.

Like, am I suppose to just sit here and talk cheerfully about a guacamole recipe, all while our elected officials are planning to build a wall at the Mexican border? That doesn’t feel right to me. It seems silly to be excited about food when there is so much hate and fear circulating around us.

But then I remember that sharing food, and the stories behind our food, is a big part of who we are. It defines us on every level: as individuals, as families and as a nation. To share food and food stories is to be human. So no matter what happens over the next few years, I’m going to continue to do that.

We are a nation of immigrants. And today, myself and some other food bloggers are celebrating that fact by sharing our #immigrantfoodstories. I hope you feel inspired and uplifted. And I hope you feel the urge to share your immigrant stories as well (both food and non-food related). Because I don’t think we can afford to be silent any longer.

Armenian Power |

I’m half Armenian. All four of my Great Grandparents on my Mom’s side immigrated from Armenia in the early 1900’s to escape the Armenian Genocide. My family, like so many other Armenian families during those years, found safety and security here in America. In time, they became dedicated community members in their newly found country – raising families, erecting churches and managing small businesses. One of those businesses (now called Donabedian Bros.) is still in operation today, and is owned and run by my Mom and Uncle.

I grew up being mainly influenced by my Armenian side of the family (simply due to the proximity of where we lived). They were a hard working and proud group of people. But never too proud. The Armenian Genocide had inflicted a deep scar that still ached from time to time. A scar that was often kept covered and hidden away from prying eyes.

There was a lingering shame and a general quietness about them.

Except when it came to matters regarding food. Then there was no holding back! As a family of great cooks (and even greater appetites!), meal times and Holidays were always a celebration of our traditional foods. My Great Aunt Margaret proudly made the best toorshi (pickled vegetables). My Great Aunt Dorothy made the best lahmahjoon (flatbread with ground lamb) and roejeeg (grape juice and walnut candy). And my Mom always had the most sought after paklava in town!

Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad |

Today, I’ve recreated my Great Aunt Carrie’s recipe for Eetch (also sometimes called mock kheyma or meatless kheyma). It’s a bulgur based-dish that can be served either as a salad, or spread onto crackers/bread. It has a somewhat similar flavor profile to tabbouleh, so if that’s something you enjoy, then I would encourage you to try Eetch. It’s also a recipe that gets better with age. So it’s a great dish to make for a party or potluck, because you can prepare it up to a day in advance. {Oh and if you’re curious, those little round baked goods in the photos are something called simit, an Armenian bread/biscuit that I’m still trying to get just right.}

Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad |

I want to leave you with a few excerpts from an essay written by my Great Aunt Beatrice that details the experiences of her Mother Agnes (my Great Grandmother) in Armenia during the Genocide. It was a school assignment in which she had to write about someone she admired. It’s pretty powerful.

Be sure to check out the hashtag #immigrantfoodstories to see more inspiring stories and recipes.



Armenian Genocide Letter |

“Sure enough, in the winter of 1915, while Agnes was still an infant, a massacre took place. The women and children of Harpoot fled into the nearby mountains, while the men and older boys tried to fight off the Turks and protect their homes. Mrs. Soorsoorian, carrying Agnes and pulling and coaxing the four other children, was having a difficult time of it. The path up the mountainside was narrow and steep. She was making no progress, as the children stumbled and fell on the rocks. The child in her arms was an extra burden. Despairing and in tears, she dropped little Agnes into a snow bank and helped the other children ascend. I suppose she thought that if one of the children had to die, it would have to be the youngest.”

“Soon the Turks gave the order that all the Armenians who were not fighting where to abandon their homes and leave the country. Agnes, now twenty years old, and her aged parents where among the thousands of unfortunates who were forced to leave their homes. It must have been a sad procession that marched away from it’s native soil. Thousands were massacred, and I don’t know whether my mother’s parents were among these, or whether, exhausted, they fell on the wayside, but I do know that they died during this time. I have never asked my mother about these facts, because I know she refuses to discuss this horrible phase of her life with anyone.”

“In two years she had money enough to purchase a steamship ticket, which she did without wasting anytime. A few weeks later, her boat docked at New York Harbor. Agnes’ brothers were there to greet her. In one way, it was a happy reunion, but on the other hand, it was pitiful to think that these three were the only living members left of their family. Agnes lived with her brothers for two years, after which she met my father George Kerkorian, whom she married. They came to Newburyport to live, and here their two daughters, my sister Louise and I, were born.”

Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad {Eetch or Mock Kheyma}

Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad {Eetch or Mock Kheyma}

At a Glance:
Yield: 4-8 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 1 cup bulgur (also called dried cracked wheat)
  • 3 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored and chopped
  • 6 scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper


  1. Add the bulgur and tomato sauce to a large bowl and stir to combine. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if desired.
  3. Refrigerate until well chilled. You can serve this as a salad, or as a topping for bread and crackers.
  4. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 2-3 days.

44 comments on “Armenian Bulgur, Parsley and Tomato Salad {Eetch or Mock Kheyma}”

  1. I loved reading a little more about your family Liz! It makes me realize that I don’t know nearly enough about my own heritage (Swedish? Who knows!) and I need to dig into it a bit deeper. I’ve had a similar salad to this at my husband’s Iranian family celebration, but now I’m excited to try your version. Thanks for standing up and speaking out dear friend. xo

  2. Thanks for sharing your story, Liz. We ARE a nation of immigrants, and I’m so proud that this country has been a refuge for so many fleeing horrors in their native countries. (On a lighter note – I’ve been looking for a wintery bulgar recipe and your looks perfect.)

    • Thank you so much. I’m so proud to be able to share my families story today, and to be part of such a lovely blogging community. XOXO.

  3. Amazing, Liz! What an incredible story. Thanks for sharing this special recipe with us. It’s so interesting to hear about everyone’s backgrounds like this. xoxo

  4. This is so very powerful, Liz. I’ve loved reading the bits and pieces you’ve been sharing on facebook and am so happy to see it brought to life here in such a loving, important way. I’ve never heard of this dish but it sounds amazing. (I’m also salivating just over the sound of lahmahjoon…can that be next?) Here’s to the diverse group of immigrants that make up this country and to continuing the important conversations both in and outside of the food world. <3 you, my friend.

    • Thanks, for the kind words today (and always). I’m so happy to be able to share my families story. And it’s inspiring to read so many others. Hugs to you. And yes, lahmahjoon should totally be next. It’s one of my favorite Armenian dishes!

  5. Thank you for sharing your story, Liz! The excerpt of the essay is so chilling, and I’m so sorry that your family had to go through that horror. America has such a rich history of people leaving their native lands in search of a more hopeful future. Thank for reminding us about these immigrant stories and how it weaves into the fabric of our nation. I hope we all don’t lose sight of that now.

  6. Thank you for sharing your family’s story…the pain & suffering they endured during that horrible time in history is unimagineable – we have much in common as my hubby’s Greek family had to flee Turkey for the same reasons as yours.

    • Thank you for sharing, Bella. Seems like many people have similar stories. I hope it unites us and not divides us.

  7. My heart aches reading about your great-grandmother and her family, Liz. We share that same sad family history. Honestly, between the two of us recently discovering we share an Armenian heritage and choosing to share the same recipe today, I’m thinking we may be truly related.

    Can’t wait to try your version of this salad…it sounds amazing!

  8. I can’t imagine the anguish, terror and heartache your family has endured. Thank you for sharing with us Liz… your heart, your family, your courage… your story. Despite the rhetoric, we’re being told form the head of US government, stories such as yours are bringing awareness and light to the misguided actions being taken by the new administration. Keep sharing, so matter what the forum. Truth will prevail. This salad looks fabulous… simple yet rich in flavor and history. I love a good, hearty grain salad. I’m looking forward to your post on simit! xo <3

    • Thanks for the kind words, Traci. They mean so much. I was certainly nervous to share this today. But I think it’s important. And I’m also very proud of my family and my heritage. XOXO!

  9. Well, I LOVE tabouleh so will definitely save your recipe for Eetch to try. And thank you for sharing your heritage and your family’s story – I can’t begin to imagine what they went through. x

    • I think you’ll really love Eetch, since the flavors are so similar. Basically the same ingredients, just different proportions and the use of tomato sauce instead of actual tomatoes! Thanks for your kind words. Peace and love.

  10. Oh Liz, thank you for sharing your family’s story. So sad and moving, I’m sorry to hear what they went through. Thanks for sharing this beautiful dish?

  11. This is such a lovely tribute to your family’s story and I’m so glad to be able to read it. You’re fighting the good fight. 🙂 (And also- this looks SO DELICIOUS- I love bulgar but I never cook with it! Total miss, I have to try this.)

    • Thanks, Carla. It’s been so interesting to read everyone’s stories. All so different, but also all so similar. I hope you try the salad. I know you’ll love it!

  12. Liz, thank you for sharing your story. I started reading #immigrantfoodstories from one blogger to the next one. Each story is uplifting and full of grace.

    • Thank you for the wonderful compliment, Carlos! I’ve been loving reading everyone’s experiences. I think it’s so important we share our stories AND our food! Thanks for visiting.

  13. I am so glad you shared this story, Liz. I’ve also been really struggling with how to handle my blog during a time like this because it feels weird to talk about cakes and sprinkles when so many awful things are happening. But like you said, sharing stories is important and reminds us why we do what we do. And when it comes to food, it can remind us of where we came from. 🙂 I will definitely be checking out the hashtag and other immigrant stories. Thank you for sharing this!

    • So glad you found some inspiration, Beth. Yes, I’m struggling too. But silence kills. Literally. So I figured it was time to touch of some important topics. Hugs to you. Thanks for reading and sharing.

  14. Thank you for sharing your powerful story, Liz.

  15. Thank you for sharing this…I am also 50% Armenian and just reading your post felt like home, even if home is a little sad sometimes… I planned on making Eetch tonight and stumbled across your blog. (What size bulgur do you use? I know it varies with preference.) Also, where did you get that shirt??

    • Glad you found me, Mallory! I usually buy the medium sized bulgur. But honestly, I tend to grab whatever they have in the store, which can vary. I don’t have a good middle eastern grocery store near me, so I take what I can get. The shirt was my Mom’s from the 1970s!

  16. Thanks for the recipe liz! i am half armenian as well and i feel that i have way more connection with my armenian half than my lebanese half. LOL. i also immigrated here and miss my grandmother’s Armenian food a lot. She has gotten old and doesn’t remember the recipes much so thanks for the EETCH recipe! Will be following you.

    • So glad you found me, Stephanie. Let me know if you try the Etch. I hope it’s close to your Grandmother’s version!

  17. Hi! I am so excited to try your eetch recipe. My family and I spent time in Armenia (I am 100% Armenian) this past summer and enjoyed the Tufenkian Hotel’s version immensely. I’m guessing yours will be even better. Silly
    question, the bulghur that I am adding to the tomato sauce is uncooked, correct? Thank you for sharing.

  18. Loved your story and recently tried a store made Eetch!  OMG….I am crazy for this dish and could eat it everyday.  Can you kindly be more specific about what “tomato sauce” you use and what number bulgar?  I want to try making this dish because the store I bought it from is quite a distance from where I live.    Thank you so much for sharing your story and your family recipe!

    • Hi Barbara! Glad you’re a fan of Eetch! I buy the small sized bulgur (usually labeled “fine”) if I can find it. Or the medium size/medium grind as a second option. I don’t have a lot of choices in the grocery stores here, so I take what I can get. Regarding the tomato sauce, I just use those cans labeled “tomato sauce” you can find in the pasta/sauce aisle. Whatever brand you like (Hunts, etc.).

  19. Hi Liz, I’m new to your blog. Love everything about it- stories, recipes and the positive vibes. I absolutely love Eech and was looking for an authentic recipe. Thank you for this. Is it ok to first cook the tomato sauce from scratch and then add burgul and when cooled, the rest of the ingredients?

    • Thanks, Priya! I haven’t made Eetch that way before. We have alway used the canned tomato sauce. But I can’t see why homemade tomato sauce wouldn’t work. Let me know!

  20. I am 68 years old and I had no idea about the history of the genocide of the Armenians by the Turks. I came for the recipe ad left with a beginning of education about the subject. Thank you for sharing this painful story.

  21. Sounds like my family too.
    Many from Kalashian side ended up in Newberry Port.

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