Tabbouleh is a light and fresh Mediterranean salad made with fresh parsley, bulgur wheat, green onions, mint, and tomatoes tossed in a lemon dressing.
Tabbouleh (pronounced tuh-boo-lee), also know as tabouli salad, is a parsley heavy salad commonly found in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries. While I have seen many Americanized versions where they include way more bulgur wheat so it is more grain-focused, I love it when the star of the show is the parsley just as it was in Israel! It’s a healthy and herbaceous side dish for any meal!
Having tabbouleh in Israel at Magdala’s changed my life. The freshness of the dish was one of the moments that I just sat back and felt the reality of where I was, the simplicity of food and life ya know. I’ll never forget it!
What is Bulgur Wheat?
Bulgur wheat is an edible cereal grain made from parboiled cracked wheat that is dried before packaging. It has a nutty or earth taste and has a texture similar to couscous or quinoa. It is quick and easy to cook and versatile in how it can be used.
What is in Tabbouleh?
For the Dressing
- Olive Oil: the base of the dressing
- Lemon Zest and Juice: adds acidity and bright flavor to the dressing
- Garlic: adds flavor
- Salt and Pepper: adds flavor
For the Tabbouleh
- Fine Bulgur: You’ll find it on the same row as the grains or the pasta at the grocery store. If you have a hard time finding it, you should be able to find it at any health food store.
- Flat Leaf and Curly Leaf Parsley: I love the combination of the two for this salad. I use the Italian (flat leaf) parsley which has more flavor but that smooth look and texture mellows it out. While the curly is more mild but I love the texture it adds.
- Green Onions: The green onions add flavor, you can also use chives
- Mint Leaves: You will definitely want fresh mint for this recipe!
- Grape Tomatoes: I like to half or quarter them so they are easier (and less messy) to eat.
The measurements for each ingredient can be found in the recipe at the end of the post.
Substitutions and Additions in Tabbouleh
Tabbouleh in it’s authentic form is just parsley, green onions, mint, tomatoes and bulgur with olive oil and lemon juice. You can see that we have taken a few liberties with our version here. It’s really a versatile salad, so feel free to add or omit items as desired. Here are some ideas:
- Bulgur Wheat – couscous or quinoa
- Chop everything small. It is meant to all blend together. You can do it by hand with a knife or use a food processor or small blender. Just be sure to not blend it too much so that is becomes a paste.
- Let it sit for a little while so the bulgur can soak in the flavors of the dressing and herbs.
- Use fresh ingredients. It really makes a huge difference for flavor.
- Salt the tomatoes and let them sit for a while to draw out the water. You don’t want too much moisture in the tomatoes or it makes the salad watery. You could also slice them open and scoop out the seeds if you have the time.
What to Serve with It
This is a great side salad for just about any main dish. Any sort of smoked or grilled protein would be a great option. If you want to stick with the Mediterranean cuisine, try our stuffed Mediterranean chicken, our Greek chicken pasta skillet, or our chicken gyros!
Why You’ll Love This Salad
Fresh: Uses all fresh ingredients!
Easy: It’s really just a matter of chopping ingredients and whisking together the dressing.
Healthy: Tabbouleh is low in fat and cholesterol, high in fiber, and loaded with nutrients.
Versatile: This can be a side dish or a main dish and ingredients can be added or omitted as desired.
Flavor: The combination of fresh parsley and mint with the bright lemon dressing and earthy bulgur wheat is spectacular.
How to Store Tabbouleh
This tabbouleh salad is best eaten fresh and doesn’t store super well. If you have some leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will be best eaten with a day or two max. The herbs will get more wilted over time.
Basically, this tabbouleh salad is going to be the star of dinner tonight! So, those fresh herbs and citrusy lemon dressing will be the best thing you’ve eaten in a while!
More Salads You’ll Love:
For the Dressing
Whisk the dressing together and stir in the bulgur. Let the bulgur grains soak up the dressing until they are plump and most of the moisture is gone, about 20 to 30 minutes.
1/3 Cup Olive Oil, 1 Lemon, 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice, 1 Cloves Garlic, 1/2 teaspoon Salt, 1/4 teaspoon Pepper, 1/3 Cup Fine Bulgur
For the Tabbouleh
Sprinkle a little salt over chopped tomatoes set on a napkin on a plate.
1 Cup Grape Tomatoes
Cut off the thick stems of the parsley and mint. Finely chop the parsley and 1/3 of the remaining stems. I have been using a food processor or small blender which is faster and easier, just be sure to not over pulse. It is best to only process 1 bunch at a time.
1/2 Bunch Flat Leaf Parsley, 1 1/2 – 2 Bunches Curly Leaf Parsley, 1/4 Cup Mint Leaves
Transfer the chopped parsley and mint to a large serving bowl.
Add the tomatoes, without any juices accumulated, green onions, bulgur, and dressing. Toss well to coat.
2 Green Onions