Tabouli Salad is a light and refreshing grain salad that works beautifully next to all kinds of meats or Mediterranean dishes. Made with bulgur wheat, tomatoes, English cucumbers, parsley and mint. This side dish is very easy to make and is delicious during the hottest months of the year.
Serve this Tabouli Salad Recipe along side Greek Marinated Chicken, Lemon Dill Hummus and Homemade Naan Bread for a healthy Mediterranean feast. If looking for a wholesome comfort meal, serve with the Best Rib Eye Steaks and Sourdough Garlic Bread.
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Tabouli Salad (aka Tabbouleh)
Tabouli Salad is a middle eastern grain salad that has gained popularity here in the states because it so easy to make and very tasty. Made from bulgur wheat, cracked whole-grain kernels of wheat that are partially cooked and then dried. As a result, cooking this grain is very simple.
The hardest part of making this side dish is finely chopping the parsley, mint and green onions. Because of this, I highly recommend having a good quality and comfortable chefs knife.
Note: My set of Chicago Cutlery Knifes has been in my kitchen since the 1990’s and I absolutely still adore these knifes. Additionally, they are very comfortable to use.
- Bulgur Wheat- This is the brand I used and it was extremely easy to prepare.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil- A good quality olive oil will have an expiration date.
- Lemon Juice and Zest- Adding the zest gives the salad an extra layer of brightness.
- Salt (not pictured)- My favorite all time salt.
- Nutmeg (not pictured)- Adds a sweet and aromatic depth.
- Chili Powder (not pictured)- Using Real Chili Powder adds a robust undertone.
- Green Onions
- Flat Leaf Parsley (aka Italian Parsley)- This is the type of parsley I prefer. (See section just below.)
- Fresh Mint- Gives the salad a bright freshness.
- Roma Tomatoes- Use ripe but firm tomatoes. Firm tomatoes helps to prevent the salad from becoming too watery.
- English Cucumbers- These are less watery than traditional cucumbers. If using traditional cucumbers peel and deseed before finely chopping.
Italian Parsley (Flat Leaf Parsley) vs Curly Leaf Parsley
To begin with, either type of parsley can be used with success. However, many people do tend to enjoy the taste and texture of Italian parsley over its curly counterpart. Therefore I do recommend sticking with Italian Parsley for this recipe.
When looking for Italian parsley at the grocery store it will often be located next to the fresh bunches of cilantro. For many, the two look identical. The main way to know the difference it that Italian parsley will have flat pointy leaves. Cilantro, on the other hand will have more rounded leaves.
As mentioned above, bulgur wheat is cracked whole-grain kernels of wheat that are partially cooked and then dried. Because of this it is a very fast grain to cook. However, looking at all the different recipes on the internet on how to cook bulgar wheat and it starts to feel like a daunting task.
A helpful rule of thumb is if buying prepackage bulgar, follow the instructions on the package.
If buying bulgur in bulk, add the 1/2 cup bulgar with 1 cup of water (1:2 ratio) and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook on low heat for approximately 12 minutes or until bulgar is tender. Drain of excess water.
For this recipe I used the Food to Live brand of bulgar. Their instructions called for bringing water to boil in a tea kettle and then pouring the boiling water over the bulgar and letting it sit for 7 minutes.
Step By Step Instructions
- Whisk lemon juice into olive oil.
- Add salt, nutmeg, chili powder, lemon zest and garlic to vinaigrette and whisk.
- Cook bulgur wheat following instructions on the package.
- Once cooked and strained of excess water, add vinaigrette to bulgur.
- Finely mince herbs and finely chop veggies.
- Add herbs and veggies to bulgur mixture and stir well.
- Let sit in the refrigerator covered for 30 minutes and enjoy.
This salad already has a few fun variations off of authentic Tabouli. However, you may find that a few small adaptations makes this salad even more enjoyable. Here are a few ideas that may work well.
- Add a 1/2 cup of crumbled or cubed feta for a bit of a zippy flavor.
- Cayenne pepper can replace chili powder for a bit more heat.
- Canned chickpeas is a satisfying addition.
- Olives adds a wonderful salty flavor.
- Bulgur wheat can be replaced with quinoa for gluten-free needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Tabouli be frozen?
No, I highly recommend not freezing it. This salad is meant to be eaten fresh and freezing would dramatically change the texture. In other words, the veggies would be soggy.
Can Tabouli be made ahead of time?
Yes. Making this a few hours ahead of time is absolutely fine. It does taste best when eaten the day it is made, so if cooking for company make and serve the same day.
How long will this salad keep in the refrigerator?
This grain salad will keep fresh for about 2 days. Any more than that and the veggies will loose too much water.
More Delicious Grain Recipes
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon Juice *about 1 lemon
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic *crushed or minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 cup bulgur wheat
- 2 bunches Italian parsley (aka flat leaf parsley) *thick stems cut off and finely minced, about 2 cups
- 1/2 cup green onions *finely chopped, about 4 green onions
- 15 mint leaves *finely chopped
- 4 Roma tomatoes *finely chopped (See Note #1 below)
- 1 cup English cucumber *finely chopped, about 1/2 of large cucumber
- Rinse bulgur wheat and cook following directions on the package. Once cooked remove any excess water. (See Note #2 below)
- Meanwhile, whisk the lemon juice into the olive oil. Add the remaining vinaigrette ingredients and whisk well. Add vinaigrette to cooked and strained bulgur. Stir well.
- Wash and prepare remaining ingredients for salad and add to bulgur mixture. Stir well.
- Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes if time allows. (See Note #3 below)