Tabbouleh

This version of tabbouleh - the Middle Eastern herb and bulgur salad - is zingy, fragrant, and SO refreshing. Perfect for a mezze platter or picnic!

Tabbouleh

Herbs are arguably my favorite fresh ingredients, so it should come as no surprise that I love tabbouleh. Alternatively spelled tabouli or tabouleh, this Middle Eastern salad consists of finely chopped parsley, mint, tomatoes, and bulgur wheat.

Don’t let the bulgur’s presence fool you – traditional Lebanese tabbouleh isn’t so much a grain salad as it is an herb salad with grains. The parsley and mint are the real star ingredients, making the salad pungent, fragrant, and intensely refreshing.

You’ll find my go-to tabbouleh recipe below. If you love bright, herbaceous flavors, it’s one you have to try. Pack it up for a picnic, serve it as a side dish, or add it to your next mezze platter. No matter how you serve it, I think it’ll be a hit.

Tabouli recipe ingredients

Tabbouleh Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this tabbouleh recipe:

  • Parsley, of course! I typically use Italian flat-leaf parsley in my cooking, but tabbouleh is an exception. I like curly parsley’s lighter texture, tamer flavor, and brighter color here.
  • Mint – It adds delicious cooling notes to the salad.
  • Bulgur wheat – If you’re not familiar with it, bulgur is simply cracked wheat that’s been partially cooked and then dried. Traditional tabbouleh would be made with fine bulgur, but because I have trouble finding it in grocery stores where I live, I typically prepare the salad with coarse bulgur. Use whichever you can find – either works well.
  • Cucumber – For crunch! I like English and Persian cucumbers best here. If you’re using a regular cucumber, I recommend peeling and seeding it.
  • Tomatoes – They add juicy texture to the salad.
  • Scallions and garlic – They give the salad an oniony bite.
  • Coriander and cinnamon – For earthy depth of flavor.
  • Fresh lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil – They create a bright, zesty dressing for the salad.
  • And sea salt – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Finely chopped parsley, mint, cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions, and bulgur in glass mixing bowl

To make this tabbouleh recipe, you’ll start by chopping the herbs.

Yes, I know. There are a LOT of herbs in this recipe.

However, I still recommend that you use a sharp knife to chop them by hand instead of reaching for a food processor. The food processor can bruise them, giving them a soggy texture instead of a light one.

Tabouli recipe ingredients in glass mixing bowl

Once you prep the salad’s ingredients, place them in a large bowl and toss to combine. Season to taste and serve right away, or cover the salad and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. It only gets better as the flavors mix and mingle.

Tabbouleh salad in speckled bowl with serving spoon

Tabbouleh Serving Suggestions

I’m happy eating this tabbouleh salad as a side dish with almost anything – say, a veggie burger at a cookout or a Caprese sandwich on a picnic. But it especially shines alongside Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. Try pairing it with a falafel wrap, or add it to a mezze platter with components such as these:

  • Dips and spreads. Hummus, baba ganoush, muhammara, and tzatziki are all fantastic with tabbouleh.
  • Pita bread. We love to make our own! (Though in a pinch, store-bought is totally fine too.)
  • Cheeses. Set out cubes of feta, or make homemade labneh or this whipped feta dip.
  • Fresh veggies. Sliced cucumbers, radishes, peppers, and cherry tomatoes are all excellent.
  • Olives or toasted nuts. I love to include a few flavorful finger foods such as these.

How do you like to serve tabbouleh? Let me know in the comments!

Tabbouleh recipe

More Favorite Herb-y Salads

If you love this tabbouleh recipe, try one of these fresh salads next:

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Tabbouleh

rate this recipe:
5 from 23 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves 6
Tabbouleh (also spelled tabouli or tabouleh) is a Middle Eastern salad made from fresh herbs and bulgur wheat. We love this version for picnics and mezze platters. Make it up to 3 days in advance, and serve it chilled or at room temperature.

Ingredients

  • cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • 3 cups finely chopped curly parsley, about 2 bunches
  • 1 cup diced English cucumber
  • 1 cup cored and diced tomato
  • cup cooked bulgur wheat*
  • cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • 2 scallions, chopped

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, coriander, and cinnamon. Add the parsley, cucumber, tomato, bulgur, mint, and scallions and toss to combine.
  • Season to taste and chill until ready to serve.

Notes

* To cook coarse bulgur, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Stir in 1 cup dry coarse bulgur, cover, and remove from the heat. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the bulgur is tender. Drain any excess water, then fluff with a fork. Measure 2/3 cup cooked bulgur for the salad, and save the rest for another use. Allow the bulgur to cool to room temperature before adding to the salad.
To prepare fine bulgur, place it in a bowl and cover with 1/2 inch of water. Soak for 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain.

 

15 comments

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  1. Zukiswa Ngemntu
    02.02.2024

    5 stars
    I love your recipes they are fresh,I will try it sometime and I will buy the book if I have colected enough money thank you so much

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      02.02.2024

      Hi, so glad you love the recipes!

  2. kris
    09.15.2023

    can this be made hours ahead…in the morning and serve for dinner?

  3. Ed M
    08.20.2023

    5 stars
    Tried it for company and they loved it. Added toasted pine nuts. Had lemon garlic humus on the side. 🤓

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.22.2023

      I’m so glad it was a hit!

  4. Hanin Osman
    06.10.2023

    I’m pretty sure this recipe is delicious, but I just wanted to say that in Lebanon, tabouli is traditionally made with mostly parsley and tomatoes, some mint and scallions or onions, brown fine bulgur, salt, plenty of lemon juice, and olive oil. Some people add finely chopped romaine lettuce to it. Syrians make it with cucumbers and white bulgur. We usually eat it with fresh green cabbage, romaine lettuce, or grape leaves.

  5. AZ1971
    04.15.2023

    5 stars
    Excellent! I was looking for a “healthier” option for breakfasts than traditional Western fare and decided to go for something with more greens in it—herbs work fine for fulfilling that. So good! For those who may want to know proportions, the 1/3 c. chopped mint leaves is about 3-4 sprigs from a store-bought bunch that’s 10 inches long; the 3 c. chopped curly parsley is approximately one full bunch from the store. 1 c. diced English cucumber is ~1/4 to 1/3 of an English cucumber (can remove the jelly part) depending on overall size—some I saw yesterday at the store were more than 14 inches long! 1 c. diced tomato is ~1 large Roma tomato that’s been seeded and diced. I mixed the bulgur in with the dressing to begin with before adding and of the other ingredients so as to distribute throughout better and it worked awesomely! I will be making this again and again!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      04.20.2023

      I’m so glad you loved the tabbouleh!

  6. Carli
    02.19.2023

    5 stars
    So tasty. Made as part of your mezze platter, simple to make ..now on rotation for work lunches!

  7. Mrs King
    02.05.2023

    5 stars
    This is my first time making this salad. I will not need to purchase it from the store again. The recipe is very flavorful, and it is a refreshing dish. Since I love lemon, I used 1/2 c with 1/2 c olive oil. I omitted the cinnamon, but it was great without it.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.05.2023

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  8. Dana
    01.23.2023

    5 stars
    Made this last night – so absolutely delicious. We found the bulgar wheat at Whole Foods, and my daughter asked me to double it the next time we make it. I also added lemon zest in addition to the lemon juice and some grated parmessan at the end.

    Excellent recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      01.26.2023

      Hi Dana, I’m so glad the recipe was a hit!

  9. Chris David
    08.16.2022

    5 stars
    I loved this recipe so much . It’s really awesome

  10. Shu-Chun
    08.15.2022

    5 stars
    This is my favorite salad…
    I like to use quinoa instead of bulgur.
    Thanks for your recipe, it reminds me I have to make some today…:)

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.