This refreshing and light Tabbouleh Salad is made with bulgar wheat, diced veggies, and loads of fresh herbs! It’s the best healthy and fresh side for a summertime meal!
What is Tabbouleh (Tabouli) Salad?
So you’ve had pasta salad before, right? And, maybe even orzo salad? But, tabbouleh salad? What on earth is that?!?
Well, it’s like, the best of both worlds. Tabbouleh, which you may have seen spelled tabouli, is a super fresh Middle Eastern herb and bulgur wheat salad.
Never heard of bulgur wheat? You’ve got me squealing! I love to introduce you all to new things! Bulgur is a whole grain, parboiled, cracked wheat. Bulgur has a rich, nutty flavor that I just LOVE.
But, in this recipe, the fresh herbs really steal the show. The parsley and mint pack this salad with fresh herb power!
Is Tabbouleh Salad Healthy?
Yes! Tabbouleh is most definitely healthy. It’s packed full of vitamins and minerals (thanks to the herbs, cukes, and tomatoes) and fiber (from the bulgur). And, it’s low in calories! Plus, it’s vegan!
I realize not everyone keeps bulgur wheat in their pantry, but it’s pretty easy to find and you’re going to want to use it all the time! Once you get that, your ingredients are all super easy, fresh, kitchen staples.
Here’s what you need:
- bulgur wheat
- English cucumbers
- salt and fresh ground black pepper
- curly parsley
- fresh mint
- green onions
- extra virgin olive oil
- lemon juice
How to Make Tabbouleh Salad
- Prepare bulgur: Cook the bulgur according to the directions on the package. Drain it and set aside to cool.
- Chop: In the meantime, chop up the tomatoes and cucumbers.
- Season: Transfer the tomatoes and cucumbers to a large mesh sieve or colander; sprinkle them with ½ teaspoon salt and set aside to strain.
- Herbs: Finely chop the parsley and place in a large salad bowl.
Add chopped mint to the parsley. You can also chop the parsley and the mint in a food processor.
- Combine: Add the prepared bulgur to the parsley mixture and the prepared onions. Set aside.
- Add: Add the strained cucumbers and tomatoes to the bulgur mixture.
- Dressing: In a small bowl combine the rest of the salt, minced garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice and whisk to combine.
- Coat: Pour the dressing over the salad. Add some fresh ground black pepper and toss gently to combine.
- Serve: Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly.
- Let stand 15 minutes before serving. If time permits, cover and chill for 30 minutes before serving.
Tips for the Best Tabbouleh
I’m partial to this tabbouleh recipe, obvi, so I recommend following these simple steps to make sure it turns out just perfect!
- Salt your cukes and tomatoes and drain off that liquid. This will keep your salad light and fluffy instead of it getting over absorbed and heavy.
- You can use a food processor to chop your herbs and this will get them really fine. You don’t want your herbs in large chunks, you want them spread out evenly throughout the salad.
- 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.
- Remember, the star of the show in this recipe is the fresh herbs, not the bulgar – so make sure you get the proportions right. The goal is to have a little bulgur with your herbs, not the other way around.
What to Serve with Tabbouleh Salad
You want to serve this tabbouleh salad chilled or at room temperature. I like to serve it along with any Middle Eastern or Mediterranean meals. For me, if you serve grilled chicken with it, tabbouleh will go perfectly.
Some of my favorite ways serve tabbouleh salad are:
- With chicken, steak, or lamb shanks or kabobs.
- Scoop a big helping of Tabbouleh on top of a bed of lettuce.
- The flavors in this salad pair nicely with roasted or baked eggplant recipes.
How to Store Leftovers
- Tabbouleh can sit in the fridge, covered, for 3 to 4 days. I really like how the flavors intensify the longer they sit together. I prefer my tabbouleh salad served chilled, right out of the fridge.
- As it sits, the bulgur will continue to absorb some of the liquid, so you may want to splash on and toss the salad with a bit more dressing before serving your leftovers.
More Summer Salad Recipes
Tools Used in this Recipe
- 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 of garlic, finely minced
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1 large lemon
- fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Cook bulgur according to the directions on the package; drain and set aside to cool.
- In the meantime, chop up the tomatoes and cucumbers.
- Finely chop the parsley and place in a large salad bowl.
- Add chopped mint to the parsley. You can also chop the parsley and the mint in a food processor.
- Add the prepared bulgur to the parsley mixture and the prepared onions.
- Add the strained cucumbers and tomatoes to the bulgur mixture. Discard the 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.
- If time permits, cover and chill for 30 minutes before serving.
- Tabbouleh can sit in the fridge, covered, for 3 to 4 days.