Tabouli (or Tabbouleh) is a refreshing classic Lebanese salad recipe. This dish is made with fresh parsley, tomatoes, scallions, and bulgur wheat. The entire salad is flavored with a simple olive oil lemon dressing, making a combination you'll crave.
What Is Tabouli?
Tabouli is a Middle-Eastern vegetarian salad that is made up mostly of fresh-chopped parsley and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.
Other versions may have different herbs or other things added. However, this particular recipe is one we grew up eating in our Jewish-Lebanese household in Barcelona. This authentic tabouli recipe is still what we make and enjoy to this day!
This dish also has several spellings. You may see it referred to as tabbouleh, tabouli, or even tabouleh. However you spell it, it's delicious!
Video: How to make classic Lebanese Tabbouleh (Tabouli) Salad
So you can see how easy this dish is to put together, we made a video that shows you how to make this classic Lebanese salad. Certainly, this is a very simple salad that is incredibly fresh and tangy.
Is Tabbouleh Salad Healthy?
Yes, tabouli is a healthy dish! It's made with fresh, healthy plant-based ingredients that are high in fiber, flavor, nutrients, and healthy fats to keep you satiated.
It is worth mentioning that a lot of the flavor from this salad comes from the dressing. It's a simple blend of extra virgin olive oil (use the best quality you can afford), freshly squeezed lemon, and salt. Don't be tempted to cut back on the dressing—I promise it's the perfect amount!
Ingredients in Tabouli
These are the main ingredients in Tabbouleh:
- Bulgur wheat - Bulgur is whole grain cracked wheat. It's not the same as couscous, which is a tiny pasta made out of semolina flour. In tabbouleh salad, bulgur wheat is soaked in hot water, until tender. There are different varieties of bulgur wheat, that range from very fine (#1) to coarse. Traditionally, tabbouleh is made with Fine bulgur wheat that is available online or in Middle Eastern markets. If you can't find fine bulgur, you can use coarse (such as Bob's Red Mill Bulgur Wheat), which can be found in regular supermarkets.
- Tomatoes - fresh summer tomatoes are the best for tabbouleh. During the winter months, you can still enjoy this Lebanese salad by using red, yellow, and orange grape tomatoes.
- Parsley - a lot of fresh Italian parsley is chopped for this salad. Don't skimp here! The parsley is the star of the show—its peppery, earthy flavor is the cornerstone of the dish. The parsley can be chopped by hand, but we prefer to use the food processor for ease and to get those fine pieces.
- Scallions - fresh scallions are sliced for this salad. If you don't have fresh scallions, you can use finely chopped onions.
- Mint - mint is optional, but it gives tabouli a very nice flavor! I highly recommend you add it.
Can You Make Tabouli With Quinoa Instead Of Bulgur?
Traditionally, Tabouli is made with bulgur wheat - but you can certainly replace it with quinoa. This is a great option for those who are sensitive to gluten and wheat.
In fact, quinoa is high in protein and makes this a complete meal in one dish. This quinoa tabbouleh recipe is one of my favorites.
Tabouli Salad Tips
- Make sure the first thing you do is soak the bulgur wheat in hot water, so it's tender when you're ready to assemble the tabbouleh. Make sure you squeeze any additional water that may be left on the bulgur after soaking it.
- Then, use the freshest and most flavorful tomatoes you can find.
- Use freshly squeezed lemon juice, don't use the bottled stuff!
- Likewise, use a flavorful extra virgin olive oil.
- Make sure you dry the parsley really well before chopping it. You can do this by placing it between two clean kitchen towels or by using a salad spinner. You can even wash the parsley a day ahead of time, then set it in a salad spinner to drain overnight.
- Plus, make sure to mix this dish well! The goal is to have as many of the ingredients as possible in one single bite. This means you need to chop the vegetables finely and mix together thoroughly.
- Make this dish 2-3 hours ahead of time if you are able! Tabouli tastes best when it has had time to sit and allow the parsley and bulgar to absorb the dressing.
- Are you gluten-free, but you still want to enjoy Tabbouleh? Replace the bulgur wheat with cooked quinoa. Use this recipe for Quinoa Tabouleh
Tabbouleh salad is a great make-ahead meal that can be made 1-2 days ahead. However, for the best flavor possible, we recommend you add the tomatoes just before serving.
Once the dish is made, tabbouleh will last in the fridge for 2-3 days. Keep it fresh by using an airtight container.
Can You Freeze Tabouli?
No, tabouli can not be frozen. Just like any other salad, it's best enjoyed fresh or stored in the fridge.
What Do You Serve Tabouli With?
This Lebanese dish is truly versatile and can be served in many ways. Traditionally, it's served with fresh pita bread and hummus. However, this salad also works fantastic when served alongside some fresh falafel or a sandwich. We suggest this za'atar grilled cheese pita sandwich or this yummy falafel veggie burger with avocado tahini cream.
Other Middle Eastern Food Recipes
- Fattoush Salad
- Watermelon Feta salad
- Deconstructed Hummus
- Cheese Sambusek
- Falafel with Tahini Sauce
- Semolina borekas
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Tabbouleh (or Tabouli )is a refreshing classic Lebanese salad recipe. It's made with fresh parsley, tomatoes, scallions and bulgur wheat with a simple olive oil lemon dressing.
- 1½ cup bulgur wheat
- 1 cup of boiling water
- 4 medium tomatoes, diced - See Note
- 4 scallions, sliced
- 3 big bunches of parsley, finely chopped (we recommend using a food processor)- (SEE NOTE 1)
- ¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ½ tsp salt or to taste
- A bunch of fresh mint, chopped (optional)
- Rinse the bulgur wheat, using a fine mesh strainer
- In a medium bowl, combine the bulgur and 1 cup of boiling water. Cover it with a plate or plastic wrap and let it soak for at least 15 minutes until it has absorbed all or most of the water. If you are using coarser bulgur wheat let it soak for at least 30 minutes. Taste it and make sure is tender, but with a bite. If it's not add a little more boiling water.
- When ready, squeeze any excess water, if there is any left
- In a large bowl, combine the soaked bulgur wheat, tomatoes, scallions and parsley and toss well. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and salt and toss again
- Make sure to dry the parsley well before chopping. It will help the tabbouleh keep longer in the fridge
- Tabbouleh can be made 1-2 days ahead, but we recommend you add the tomatoes just before serving
- In the winter when tomatoes are not flavorful, it's better to use grape tomatoes.
- Tabbouleh will last in the fridge for 2-3 days
- Even though this salad is traditionally made with bulgur wheat, it can be made with couscous or quinoa.
- Category: Salad
- Method: Raw
- Cuisine: Lebanese
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 190
- Sugar: 2
- Sodium: 165
- Fat: 10
- Saturated Fat: 1.4
- Unsaturated Fat: 8
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 24
- Fiber: 5
- Protein: 4.3
- Cholesterol: 0
Keywords: tabbouleh, tabouli, tabouleh, bulgur, vegan, salad, Lebanese, healthy, vegetarian, mediterranean,
This post was originally posted on May 19th, 2012 and has been updated and republished with new information, pictures and tips.