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.

When I’m looking for a fresh and light salad that won’t weigh me down, I make Israeli salad, quinoa salad and this classic tabbouleh (also known as tabouli!).

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A bowl of tabbouleh with a serving spoon in it.

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.

Bulgur wheat in a bowl.

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.

A bowl of bulgur topped with herbs, tomatoes and cucumber.

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.

Dressing being poured into a bowl of bulgur wheat salad.

Salad Variations

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.

A serving bowl filled with tabbouleh salad.

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

5 from 18 votes

Tabbouleh Recipe

AuthorSara Welch
A bowl of tabbouleh with a serving spoon in it.
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.
Time
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean
Serves 6

Ingredients 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 399mg | Potassium: 225mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1131IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

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Comments

  1. I love tabbouleh and have been searching for a good recipe and I came upon your website. Will be making this soon. Your site is now my go-to place when I need recipes.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this Tabbouleh for my husband as his favorite restaurant that serves this has closed. He really loved it and said it was even better than the restaurant version! Thanks for the recipe

  3. 5 stars
    So light and refreshing!!
    Served it today as part of my Eid menu; it was 35c today so was perfect to eat in the heat.
    Simple and tasty!!

  4. 5 stars
    So I had this on the last day of my trip to Morocco just before the lockdown and I soooo needed to find the recipe (WITH cucumbers!) and now I’ve found it !!!! So I made it and wow, it took me back to a completely different time. A time that I misss soooo much.

    From a very lonely person made a little bit happier with a lovely memory of Morocco!! X

  5. I’m lebanese n tabouleh is one of our countless special dishes n this salad (tabouleh receipe) made here is more like our 2nd special salad named (fattouche) back in the time poor people in lebanon ate meat only sunday so in weekdays they ate vegetables only n this is how they invented tabouleh it’s made with burgul (only sprinkle of burgul)
    tomato parsley mint onion n olive oil lemon juice sumak salt .
    Fattouche made with the same ingredients as tabbouleh ( but without burgul) we add cucumber + lettuce+ fresh thym + baqila (it’s a kind of plant that grows here in lebanon around plants n homes) a lot of sumak + lemon + olive oil

    1. I made this today and we used it on top of our regular salad. No additional dressing needed. I love Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine and lucky that my kids aren’t picky eaters. Thank you so much for posting this recipe. Oh and there were no leftovers!

  6. 5 stars
    Love the fresh flavors and herbs that are combined into this salad. I can’t wait to make it and enjoy it for lunch next week.