Easy Tabbouleh

Fresh and easy to prepare, tabbouleh is a traditional Middle Eastern grain salad made with bulgur wheat, fresh herbs, tomatoes, lemon juice, and olive oil. Leftovers make a great lunch!

Tan bowl with tabbouleh and a spoon.
Lori Rice

A few months ago I wrote a piece about parsley and what an important herb it is for brightening the flavor of foods. Several of you suggested that your favorite thing to make with parsley is tabbouleh, a Middle Eastern salad made with bulgur wheat and lots of chopped fresh parsley.

Here's our version. It's a cinch to make!

How to Make the Best Tabbouleh

The thing that requires the most work actually is just the chopping up of the parsley. Don't skimp on the olive oil. The salad needs it or it will be dry.

Feel free to add some chopped cucumber, or even chile for a little heat.

A good winter-time substitute for the fresh tomatoes is some canned roasted red peppers, or sun-dried tomatoes. Serve with hummus and some pita bread.

Side view of a tabbouleh salad in a tan bowl.
Lori Rice

Traditional Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh is a traditional Lebanese salad, and the traditional version does looks different from ours. In Lebanese and other Middle Eastern cuisines, herbs take center stage in the salad and the dish ends up predominantly a lovely, deep green hue. This recipe is Americanized and more grain-centered than a traditional tabbouleh (or tabouli, as it's also called). Up the amount of fresh herbs if you'd like, or make it as written.

For a more traditional Lebanese version, check out this recipe for Tabouli.

What is Bulgar Wheat?

Bulgur wheat is a grain that's easy to prepare because it comes parboiled. It's a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, it's packed with protein, fiber, and B vitamins. There are four types of bulgur: fine, medium coarse, coarse, and extra coarse. You can use any type for this recipe, but check the packaging for soaking times.

Swaps and Substitutions

  • Add extra parsley and mint.
  • Add chopped fresh dill.
  • Make it gluten-free, swapping out the bulgur for cooked quinoa, brown rice, or wild rice.
  • Add sliced almonds for some crunch.
  • For a sharper onion bite, use diced red onion instead of scallions.
  • Add diced cucumbers.
  • Add a pinch of cinnamon.
  • Top with feta cheese.

How to Serve and Store

Tabbouleh is fantastic served with hummus and/or pita, but there's no wrong way to serve it. It can be a main dish or a side dish.

Refrigerated in a tightly covered container, tabbouleh lasts for 3 to 5 days. It will get watery after a day or two as the salt draws moisture out of the vegetables. For the best flavor, allow it to come to room temperature before eating.

More Fresh and Easy Grain Salads to Try!

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Easy Tabbouleh

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Sitting and Marinating 60 mins
Total Time 90 mins
Servings 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups bulgur wheat
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice and finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 5-6 Roma or plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped, including the greens
  • 2 to 3 cups parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

Method

  1. Cook the bulgur:

    Place the bulgur in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring the stock or water and the teaspoon of salt to a boil, and then pour it over the bulgur. Let sit for 30 minutes to an hour, until it has absorbed all the liquid.

    A glass bowl with bulgur to make a tabbouleh recipe.
    Lori Rice
  2. Combine the bulgur with oil, lemon juice, zest, and bulgar:

    In a large bowl, add the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and bulgur. Mix well.

  3. Add the tomatoes, scallions, and herbs:

    Add the tomatoes, scallions, and herbs to the bulgar mixture. Stir till well combined.

    Mixing ingredients together for a tabbouleh recipe.
    Lori Rice
  4. Let the dish sit:

    Taste the tabbouleh, and add more salt, olive oil, or more lemon juice to taste. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Will keep chilled for several days.