Tabbouleh Salad

5 from 11 votes
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This refreshing and delicious Tabbouleh Salad is a classic Mediterranean salad that combines chopped vegetables with plenty of fresh parsley and bulgur wheat, all tossed with lemon juice and olive oil.

Tabbouleh Salad in a glass bowl prepared with bulgur wheat, cucumbers, tomatoes, and parsley.


 

What is Tabouli?

So, you made my macaroni salad, right? Maybe you’ve even tried my rendition of Jen Aniston’s bulgur salad? But have you ever encountered tabbouleh salad? Oh me, oh my, I love this salad! You might be wondering what it is. Tabbouleh also spelled tabouleh or tabouli, is a vibrant Middle Eastern salad brimming with lots of parsley, tomatoes, cucumbers, and even bulgur.

If you’re new to bulgur wheat, let me explain: bulgur is a whole grain made from parboiled, cracked wheat, and its tasty, nutty flavor keeps you coming back for just one more bite. In this recipe, though, the fresh parsley and a sprinkle of tasty mint are meant to shine. Traditional Lebanese tabbouleh focuses more on the herbs, using just a touch of bulgur rather than letting the grain take center stage. It should be called parsley salad with grains.

Ingredients You’ll Need

I realize not everyone keeps bulgur in their pantry, but it’s pretty easy to find. Once you get that, the rest of the ingredients for this traditional tabbouleh are fresh kitchen staples.

  1. Bulgur Wheat – You can use medium bulgur or extra fine bulgur. Quinoa or couscous will also work.
  2. Fresh Tomatoes – The diced tomatoes add juiciness to the salad. Cherry tomatoes can be used for a sweeter flavor.
  3. English Cucumbers – Regular cucumbers or Persian cucumbers are a good alternative.
  4. Curly Parsley – The main ingredient offering a bright, fresh flavor and vibrant color.
  5. Finely Chopped Fresh Mint Leaves – Adds a cool, refreshing note to the salad.
  6. Green Onions or Spring Onions – Chives or a small amount of red onion are a good substitute.
  7. Garlic – Garlic powder can be used, but it’s milder than fresh garlic.
  8. Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Its richness and moisture help to carry the flavors throughout the salad.
  9. Lemon Juice – Fresh lemon juice adds brightness and acidity to balance the richness of the olive oil. Lime juice works great, too.
  10. Salt & Black Pepper – Enhances the overall flavors of the ingredients.

How to Make Tabbouleh

Creating the perfect tabouli starts with selecting ripe tomatoes and other fresh ingredients. This traditional Lebanese salad is renowned for its vibrant flavors and simple assembly. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you master this traditional dish.

  1. Prepare: Cook the bulgur according to the directions on the package. Drain it and set it aside to cool.
  2. Chop the Veggies: In the meantime, chop the tomatoes and cucumbers with a sharp knife. Transfer them to a large mesh sieve or colander, sprinkle them with ½ teaspoon salt, and set aside to strain. 
  3. Chop the Herbs: Finely chop the parsley and place in a large bowl. Add the chopped mint to the parsley. You can also chop the parsley and the mint in a food processor.
  4. Combine: Add the prepared bulgur to the parsley mixture and the onions. Add the strained cucumbers and tomatoes to the bulgur mixture.
  5. Dressing: In a small mixing bowl, combine the rest of the salt, minced garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice and whisk to combine. Pour the dressing over the salad. Add some fresh ground black pepper and toss gently to combine.
  6. Serve: Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly. Cover the tabouleh salad and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.
Tabouli Salad in a glass salad bowl with parsley, lemons, and tomatoes on the side.

Recipe Tips

  • Salt it. Salt your cucumbers and tomatoes, and drain off excess water. This will keep your salad light and fluffy instead of it getting watery and heavy.
  • Use a food processor or chopper. For that perfect tabouli texture, you’ll need to chop the veggies and the herbs nice and small, by hand. You can use a food processor to chop the herbs.
  • Simple Salad dressing. Since the herbs add so much flavor, don’t go overboard with any other seasoning. For the dressing you really just need the EVOO, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and garlic.
  • Parsley. Remember, the star of the show in this recipe is the fresh parsley and mint, not the bulgar. The goal is to have a little grains with your herbs, not the other way around.
  • Let it rest. To achieve optimal flavor, refrigerate the tabbouleh for 30 minutes before serving. This will give the flavors enough time to meld together.

Serving Suggestions

This tabbouleh salad is best served chilled or at room temperature. It pairs beautifully with Middle Eastern or Mediterranean dishes. Tabouli brings a vibrant touch to the dinner table, making it a perfect complement to lamb or grilled kebapi. Additionally, it can be featured as part of a mezze platter alongside pita bread like lavash or naan, and other small plates such as hummus, falafel, and grilled eggplant.

tabbouleh salad topped with sliced cucumbers and lemons and a wooden spoon on the side.

How to Store Leftovers

Tabbouleh can be kept in the fridge covered in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days. It’s even better the next day! I really like how the flavors intensify the longer they sit together.

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5 from 11 votes

Tabbouleh Salad

This light and refreshing Tabbouleh Salad features bulgur wheat, crisp diced tomatoes and cucumbers, and an abundance of fresh parsley, all nicely tossed with zesty lemon juice and olive oil.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • ½ cup bulgur wheat
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced English cucumber
  • 1 teaspoon salt,, divided
  • 2 bunches curly parsley,, stems removed and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • 2 green onions,, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 large clove garlic,, finely minced
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large lemon,, juiced
  • freshly ground black pepper,, to taste
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Instructions 

  • Cook the bulgur wheat according to the directions on the package; drain and set it aside to cool.
  • In the meantime, chop the tomatoes and cucumbers, then transfer them to a large mesh sieve or colander; sprinkle them with ½ teaspoon salt and set aside to strain.
  • Finely chop the parsley and place it in a large bowl. Add the chopped mint to the parsley. Add the cooled bulgur to the parsley mixture and the green onions.
  • Add the strained cucumbers and tomatoes to the bulgur mixture. Discard the strained juices.
  • In a small bowl, combine the rest of the salt, minced garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice; whisk to combine. Pour the dressing over the salad; add some fresh ground black pepper and toss gently to combine. Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly.
  • Let stand 15 minutes before serving, but if time permits, cover it and chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 141kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 404mg | Potassium: 297mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1943IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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17 Comments

  1. Toni says:

    Such a perfectly refreshing salad! I love it!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank you, Toni! 🙂

    2. Jim says:

      Made it with Quinoa. Delish.

  2. Jacque Hastert says:

    This salad is perfect for summer! It’s light, refreshing, and full of flavor. This salad is going down this weekend.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I hope you enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  3. Kimberly says:

    Such a delicious classic, I love how refreshing this salad is!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank you, Kimberly! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

  4. Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert says:

    This Tabbouleh Salad is couldn’t look any more perfect!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank you, Erin! 🙂

  5. Amanda says:

    This looks interesting and very tasty!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! 🙂 I hope you enjoy it!

  6. stephanie says:

    I’ve never tried Tabbouleh Salad this will be my first time, it looks really yummy packed with tons of flavor…can’t wait to try it.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I hope you enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  7. Julie Blanner says:

    Yum! This will be an amazing summer salad. I’d never had bulgur wheat, and I can’t wait to try it!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I hope you enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  8. Stephanie says:

    I just love how healthy this recipe is! Can’t wait to try it.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! 🙂 I hope you enjoy it!