Tabbouleh Salad

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This tabbouleh is salad made with bulgur wheat, parsley, mint, fresh veggies and a light lemon dressing. It’s easy to whip up, absolutely delicious and makes for a great side dish!

Given my love for tabbouleh salad (I already have a cauliflower tabbouleh, quinoa tabbouleh and even a hemp tabbouleh recipe on the blog) I figured it was time to share a more traditional version with bulgur wheat.

It’s light, flavorful, packed with fresh veggies and tossed in a lemon dressing – perfect for serving during the spring and summer months.

A serving platter with tabbouleh salad topped with fresh mint and lemon slices. A spoon rests on the platter.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s light, flavorful and jam-packed with tons of fresh herbs!
  • Quick and easy to whip up – you only need eight ingredients (plus spices) and one bowl! 
  • It’s a healthy and delicious salad that’s perfect for potlucks or summer BBQ’s.
A serving platter containing tabbouleh salad. There is a spoon resting on the platter with lemon slices.

What is Tabbouleh Salad?

Tabbouleh, also known as tabouli, is a popular Middle Eastern salad that is traditionally made with a ton of fresh parsley, bulgur wheat, and tomatoes all tossed with lemon juice and olive oil.

That being said, there are many different variations of tabbouleh salad out there. I added green onions, chopped cucumber and fresh mint to this recipe, but feel free to make it your own.

What is Bulgur Wheat

Bulgur is a cereal grain made from dried, cracked wheat and is quite similar to couscous or quinoa once cooked. It has a mild flavor, which is why it is suitable for so many dishes. Plus, it’s parboiled, or partially cooked so it’s very easy to prepare.

Bulgur wheat has many nutritional benefits. A 1-cup serving contains 6 grams of protein and about 30% of the recommended daily fiber needed. It’s also a good source of manganese, magnesium and iron (source).

Ingredients measured out to make a tabbouleh salad: parsley, bulgur wheat, cherry tomatoes, lemon juice, allspice, cucumber, mint, salt, pepper, olive oil, green onions.

Ingredients Needed

  • bulgur wheat – soaked in hot water until tender. Traditional tabbouleh salad is made with fine bulgur wheat, but any type of bulgur wheat will work. I used Bob’s Red Mill whole grain red bulgur, which was easier to find in my local grocery store. It’s coarse bulgur wheat, which means it just needs to soak longer than fine bulgur wheat. Whatever bulgur you use just follow the instructions on the package for how to soak it.
  • parsley – the star of the show! Flat-leaf parsley and curly parsley both work well in this recipe. Make sure your bunch of parsley is washed and dried well before chopping it!
  • fresh mint leaves – I love adding additional fresh herbs for more flavor.
  • fresh vegetables – cherry or grape tomatoes, cucumber, green onions.
  • dressing – fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and allspice.
Collage of four photos showing the steps to make tabbouleh salad: adding water to the bulgur, adding veggies and herbs, tossing the salad.

How to Make Tabbouleh Salad

This tabbouleh salad is super easy to whip up. To start, soak the bulgur wheat according to the package directions until it has softened. Drain out any excess water, if needed.

In a large bowl, combine soaked bulgur, parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, pepper and allspice, if using. Taste and add more salt or pepper if necessary.

pro tip!
Make sure to chop all the vegetables and herbs as finely as possible to achieve the traditional tabouli salad texture. 
A serving platter with tabbouleh salad topped with fresh mint and lemon slices. A spoon rests on the platter.

Notes and Substitutions

  • Mix-ins – Feel free to switch up your mix-ins for this tabbouleh… I often do! Sometimes I change up the veggies based on what I have on hand and add extra herbs like fresh dill (so good). Feel free to get creative and make this your own!
  • Feta – Adding feta cheese to this tabbouleh salad would be a great addition if you don’t need it to be dairy free. You could also do vegan feta!
  • Avocado – Want to add a little creaminess and healthy fats to your tabbouleh salad? Add in some chopped avocado!
  • Gluten-free – bulgur wheat is not gluten-free, but if you’re looking for a gluten-free option make my cauliflower tabbouleh or quinoa tabbouleh instead!

Tips for Success

  • Chop the vegetables and herbs as finely as you can to achieve a traditional tabbouleh texture.
  • Make sure you’re using firm tomatoes, so they don’t release too much liquid.
  • Make sure your parsley has been dried well so it doesn’t add too much moisture to the salad.
  • For the best results, make this salad at least 30 minutes to one day before you want to serve it. The longer it sits the longer the parsley and bulgur have time to soak up the dressing.
A serving platter with tabbouleh salad topped with fresh mint and lemon slices.

How to Serve Tabbouleh Salad

Tabbouleh salad is so versatile! You can serve it as an appetizer with hummus, romaine lettuce leaves, pita bread and falafel or as a side dish for cookouts.

It’s also delicious served with some protein for a light lunch or dinner. Chickpeas, black beans or my apple cider vinegar chicken would all be tasty additions. That said, you can’t go wrong however you serve it!

Prepping and Storing

The great thing about this salad is that it gets better with time, making it a great recipe to prep in advance. The longer it sits the longer the flavors all have time to meld together.

This salad will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

I would not freeze this dish as it’s all fresh ingredients and the consistency will change when you freeze and thaw.

More Middle Eastern-Inspired Recipes

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Tabbouleh Salad (Tabouli)

5 from 3 votes
Traditional tabbouleh salad made with bulgur wheat, fresh herbs and a light lemon dressing. It's easy to whip up makes for a great side dish!
A serving platter with tabbouleh salad topped with fresh mint and lemon slices. A spoon rests on the platter.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Soak Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked bulgur wheat, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped (about 1 ½ – 2 cups)
  • ½ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
  • ½ cup cucumber, finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • juice from 1 lemon, about ¼ cup
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
  • teaspoon allspice, optional

Instructions
 

  • Soak the bulgur wheat according to the package directions, until it has softened. Drain out any excess water, if needed.
    Adding boiling water into a bowl containing bulgur wheat.
  • While bulgur wheat is soaking, finely chop veggies and herbs.
    A mixing bowl containing bulgur wheat with parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, pepper and allspice added.
  • In a large bowl, combine soaked bulgur, parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, pepper and allspice, if using.
    Ingredients for tabouli salad mixed together.
  • Taste and add more salt or pepper if necessary.
  • Serve chilled or at room temperature. Store covered in the fridge for up to one week.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 recipe Calories: 180kcal Carbohydrates: 21g Protein: 4g Fat: 10g Saturated Fat: 1g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 7g Sodium: 214mg Potassium: 71mg Fiber: 7g Sugar: 2g
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: tabbouleh salad

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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Recipe Rating




    2 comments
    1. Annalisha Vandeventer
      June 5, 2022 AT 8:35 am

      Hi! I want to make this recipe with quinoa. Do i have to cook the quinoa or can I soak it just like the bulgur? I love the chewy texture it can have but I didnt know if its too hard to digest if its only been soaked.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        June 5, 2022 AT 9:00 pm

        Hi Annalisha! With quinoa I definitely recommend cooking it as just soaking it will not result in a chewy texture and it will likely be hard to digest as well. You could look into soaking it and sprouting it as that might work! That said, I have a recipe for quinoa tabbouleh that you might enjoy!

Parchment paper lined with protein balls.

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