This tabbouleh recipe is a bulgur wheat salad made with fresh herbs, tomatoes and cucumber, all tossed together in a simple lemon dressing. A delicious and healthy side dish that pairs perfectly with a variety of Mediterranean dishes.
My local Mediterranean restaurant makes the most delicious platter with hummus, tabbouleh, baba ghanoush, dolmas, olives and many other delicious specialties. I love the taste of the fresh and light tabbouleh, and decided it was time to learn to prepare it at home. The end result is a refreshing and versatile side dish that’s easy to make and full of flavor.
What is tabbouleh?
Tabbouleh is a bulgur wheat based salad that’s flavored with parsley, tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, lemon and olive oil. There are different variations of this dish throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East regions, but they all typically contain a generous amount of herbs as well as the bulgur wheat.
How do you make tabbouleh?
This recipe starts with bulgur wheat, which soaks in hot water until it’s soft and tender. The bulgur is combined with finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, green onions, cucumber and mint. A simple mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper serves as the dressing for this dish. Chill the salad until you’re ready to serve it, then enjoy.
Tips for the perfect salad
- Bulgur wheat is available in most grocery stores. I typically buy mine in the bulk bins.
- This recipe requires quite a bit of chopping to get the fine texture that’s so traditional with this salad. To save a little time, you can use the food processor to chop the parsley.
- I like to use English cucumbers in this dish, but small Persian cucumbers are also a great choice.
- This salad tastes best when it has some time to sit so that the bulgur can absorb the dressing. I recommend making it at least one hour before you plan to serve it.
- The mint in this salad is an optional addition. I like the fresh taste it provides, but it can sometimes be a little strong for some people.
This is the traditional way to serve tabbouleh, but I sometimes add other ingredients to my salad to turn it into more of a main course offering.
- Protein: Try adding chopped cooked chicken or shrimp to your salad.
- Cheese: I like to add 1/2 cup finely crumbled feta cheese to the mix.
- Beans: This salad is great with the addition of 1 cup of canned chickpeas.
- Vegetables: You can add other finely chopped veggies such as bell peppers, red onion, or try using cherry tomatoes instead of diced tomatoes.
- Grains: If you can’t find bulgur, you can substitute couscous or quinoa for a somewhat similar effect.
Tabbouleh salad is a unique and unexpected offering for parties, potlucks or any other event where you need a lighter salad to accompany the meal.
More salad recipes you’ll enjoy
Tabbouleh Salad Video
- 3/4 cup bulgur wheat
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup English cucumber finely diced
- 1 1/4 cups Roma tomatoes seeded and finely diced
- 1/2 cup green onions thinly sliced
- 1 cup curly parsley finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh mint finely chopped (optional)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Place the bulgur wheat and boiling water in a large bowl. Cover and let it sit for 45 minutes or until the wheat has softened. Drain off any excess liquid
- Add the cucumber, tomatoes, green onions, parsley and mint to the bowl with the bulgur wheat.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.
- Cover the salad and chill for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days. Serve.