This is a traditional Lebanese Tabbouleh salad recipe made with fine bulgur, parsley, mint, tomatoes, onions, lemon juice and olive oil dressing. I don't stop there because my favourite version is with pomegranate and feta cheese. When you get a bunch of fresh parsley, then don't let it sit in the fridge! Chop up and make this easy Tabbouleh recipe and enjoy the zing!
Tabbouleh also spelt as tabouli, is a Middle Eastern salad often served as part of a mezze, a selection of appetizers or as a side dish to accompany grilled meat or fish.
Unlike Mutabbal or Baba Ganoush, this Tabouli salad does not require any kind of cooking. An Arab friend mentioned that you are either a fan of Tabbouleh or Fattoush. I disagree because I love both and most of the time you will find Tabbouleh recipes online that have ingredients of Fattoush. But one thing that does not belong to the Lebanese Tabbouleh recipe is fried or toasted pita pieces. 🙂
You cannot make Tabbouleh salad without parsley leaves.
- parsely leaves
- mint leaves
- fine bulgur (mostly tagged as #1)
- olive oil
- lime or lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- pomegrante (optional)
- feta cheese (optional)
See the recipe card for quantities.
How to make it?
Though there isn't cooking involved to make a best tabbouleh recipe, you need to have some fine chopping skills. You may use the chopper if serving immediately. Else, all you need to do is prep the ingredients and mix when ready to serve. But feel free to increase the greens or the grain (bulgur) however you like but traditionally the amount of bulgur is very minimal.
Prepping fine burgul
Fine bulgur wheat does not require cooking or long hours of soaking. Add the fine bulgur to a small bowl and pour double the amount of clean water. Stir and drain excess water immediately. Let it sit on the counter while you prep the fresh herbs and vegetables.
Prepping Parsley leaves
First, I check the bunch for any bad or yellowed leaves and discard them. Then I cut off all the thick stalks and discard them too. Next, I rinse the leaves under running water and then keep them submerged in water for 5 to 8 minutes. This will help any grit or dust to settle down. Now, carefully lift off the leaves from the water and place them in a colander. Use the water in the bowl to water your plants.
Once drained, you can run the parsley leaves in a salad spinner to get rid of excess water. If you don't have one, it is okay. Just let it drain out completely. At this point, you can store the leaves in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.
When ready to make Tabbouleh salad, chop the parsley leaves finely using a sharp knife. You may use a chopper but I feel the texture of salad is best when chopped with a knife.
For tomatoes, I like to scoop out the pulp and eat it or use it for any other recipe. So, just halve the tomato, scoop out the pulp and then slice it lengthwise and then chop them to dice. You will also chop an onion to the same size as tomatoes.
You don't need to whisk or shake a jar to make a salad dressing for Tabbouleh. You can add them one after the other into the large bowl of greens. But I like to mix the lemon or lime juice and extra virgin olive oil with salt and pepper. Keep this ready and stir it into the salad only close to the serving time. You can always taste the salad and add more citrus or olive oil.
- onion: I have used red onion but you can use white or green or yellow.
- fine bulgur: For a gluten-free version, try substituting the fine burghul with Quinoa or cooked lentils. You can even try using fine couscous or even cooked rice. If using larger bulgur, then rinse quickly and soak in boiling water until soft.
- lemon juice: I have used lime juice but in a pinch, you can add the zing via white vinegar or a sprinkle of sumac.
- feta cheese: though not authentic, I love this addition. You can skip it or add some dollops of lebni (labneh)
You will be amazed as there are so many interesting variations to make Tabbouleh salad. Some of the common variations include:
- Persian cucumber
- pitted olives
- cherry tomatoes
- orange (both juice and fruit) etc.
Store any leftover Tabbouleh salad in an airtight container in the fridge for not more than days.
If your bowl of refrigerated Tabbouleh becomes soggy, add more fine burghul to soak up the excess moisture.
Tabbouleh salad is a Middle Eastern salad typically made with finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, mint, onion, and fine bulgur wheat, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Tabbouleh is known for its fresh and bright flavours, as well as its nutritional value. It is a good source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals, and it is often considered a healthy option for people following a vegetarian or vegan diet.
You can use couscous, quinoa, or even rice as a substitute for bulgur in tabbouleh.
To keep tabbouleh from getting soggy, you can try draining the chopped vegetables and fresh herbs before mixing them with the other ingredients. You can also add the salad dressing right before serving to prevent it from sitting in the salad for too long. Additionally, you can refrigerate the tabbouleh and take it out only when you're ready to serve.
- 1 bunch parsley leaves see notes
- 2 sprig fresh mint leaves see notes
- ½ small onion
- 1 to 2 tablespoon fine bulgur
- 1 medium-sized tomato
- 2 tablespoon Pomegranate arils optional
- 2 tablespoon feta cheese optional
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice or lime juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pour ¼ cup water into the bowl of bulgur, stir and drain off the excess water. Keep this aside while you prep the rest of the ingredients.1 to 2 tablespoon fine bulgur
- Chop the parsley, mint leaves and onion finely.1 bunch parsley leaves, 2 sprig fresh mint leaves, ½ small onion
- Halve the tomatoes, remove the pulp and chop them finely.1 medium-sized tomato
- Add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoon lemon juice, Salt and pepper to taste
- Add all the ingredients to a large bowl. Don't mix until ready to serve. Keep refrigerated. Close to serving time, pour the dressing and toss everything together. Stir in the pomegranate seeds and feta cheese if using.2 tablespoon Pomegranate arils, 2 tablespoon feta cheese
- Serve with lettuce leaves or pita along with other appetizers.
If you have time, do read this interesting article on the history of Tabbouleh.