Tart Cherry Tabbouleh

This creative tabbouleh recipe uses dried tart cherries in place of tomatoes! They add a sweet/tart pop of flavor that's delicious with herbs & lemon.

Tart Cherry Tabbouleh

If you’re the salad-bringer in your family or circle of friends – this one’s for you. It’s super easy and also really bright & flavorful. It goes great with whatever you’re grilling and packs up well for picnics. You can make it in advance which, in my opinion, is a key element to summer salad-ing.

Tart Cherry Tabbouleh Recipe ingredients

My Tabbouleh Recipe Twist

This is not a traditional tabbouleh recipe because, as you see, I’m using dried tart cherries (which are also sometimes called sour cherries) in lieu of tomatoes. I just love the pop of sweet bright flavor they bring here – it contrasts so nicely with the earthy flavors of the herbs, and it balances so well with the tang of the lemon juice.

For this post, we’re working with the Cherry Marketing Institute. If you haven’t heard, I’m pretty obsessed with Montmorency tart cherries (see all previous recipes here). As their name suggests, they bring a pop of tart flavor to so many dishes, and I love the challenge of creatively working them into various types of recipes. They also have some great health benefits – they’re known to help with muscle soreness after a workout and studies have shown that they can help with sleep since they’re a natural source of melatonin. Give these superfruits a try if you haven’t already! I find mine in the bulk bins at Whole Foods, some of you have also mentioned that they can be found at Costco.

Tart Cherry Tabbouleh Recipe ingredients

Tabbouleh is traditionally made with bulgur, but I used millet here because it’s gluten-free and the texture is pretty similar. I’ve included cooking methods for both in the notes of the recipe.

Tart Cherry Tabbouleh recipe components in a bowl

Traditional Tabbouleh Recipe Ingredients

I mix the unconventional millet and cherries with classic tabbouleh components: tons of herbs, diced cucumber, red onion, and scallions. I season it simply with lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, and a touch of white wine vinegar – toss it all in one bowl and serve!

As I type this, I’m trying to hold myself back from finishing the leftovers in the fridge – this salad is especially good on the 2nd day when the flavors have had the chance to mesh together.

Tart Cherry Tabbouleh with fresh herbs

If you love this tabbouleh recipe…

Try another of my favorite picnic salads like this watermelon salad, this couscous salad, this orzo salad, or this broccoli salad!

5.0 from 3 reviews

Tart Cherry Tabbouleh

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This unconventional tabbouleh recipe uses millet instead of bulgur and tart cherries in place of tomato. They add a wonderful sweet/tart pop of flavor to this delicious make-ahead friendly picnic salad.
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 6 as a side
for the millet:
  • 1 cup uncooked millet (or bulgur*), rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
for the salad:
  • ½ cup Montmorency dried tart cherries
  • ⅓ cup chopped scallions or red onion (or a combo)
  • 1 English cucumber, chopped into ¼ inch pieces
  • 2 cups chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Add the rinsed millet to a dry pot. Over medium heat, toast for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir, add water, olive oil and salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 10 more minutes. Stir in the garlic, fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cooked millet with the cherries, scallions, cucumber, parsley, and mint and toss.
  3. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the white wine vinegar, salt and pepper and stir again. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding additional vinegar for more pop, or more salt and pepper if desired.
  4. Serve or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
*Note: If using bulgur: Bring 1¼ cups water to a boil, add the bulger, turn off the heat, cover and set aside for 25 to 30 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the garlic, fluff with a fork, and set aside to cool.



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Laurie klett

    I used farro and felt it still lacked flavor so threw in some toasted pecans Added the crunch i flavor pop I was looking fot

  2. Jenn

    Made this this evening for my boyfriend and I, we couldn’y find millet but we found bulgar easily enough. Made a minor adjustment and diced up chicken to put in it as this was a main meal for us.
    Was amazing, would definitely make it again!

  3. So yummy! I made this with bulgur and craisins (what I had on hand). Also cut the oil by 1/3 and put the raw garlic in with the dressing. The last part was an accident but this was super yummy!!! Thanks for the great idea. 💗 sweet and savory together.

  4. Phyllis

    Since fresh cherries are in season now, I will make this wonderful recipe with them…thank you

  5. Rhonda

    Love this salad – one of my go-to’s now.

  6. nathalie

    Hi …
    do you think i could use dried cranberry instead of cherries ?
    love your fabulous recipes,

  7. I love this! I’ve been making cherry dishes all summer but I like that the idea of utilizing dried cherries!

  8. sarah

    i do not have any millet, was wondering if couscous would be an okay substitution..?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Sarah – yep, you could use couscous (just be sure to cook it differently than the instructions I’ve listed).

  9. As usual, I love everything about this salad Jeanine. I’m about to head home after a long US visit so I’ll be making this soon. Love that you used millet instead and of course the dried cherries! Bought your book while I was here too. Can’t wait to dig into it. 🙂

    • This is such a delicious salad and I’m happy I have leftovers. It’s just what I needed after a long trip home and a long time away from home. I used fresh cherries instead of dried though because they looked so good at the farmer’s market this morning. And aside from the pre-rinse, what’s your trick to keeping the grains of millet separate and preventing them from clumping and getting sticky.

      • Jeanine Donofrio

        Hi Katie – I’m so glad you liked it! When I’m done cooking my millet, I spread it out on a large plate instead of letting it sit in the pot, and then I sort of break any clumps up with my hands. Thanks for pointing this out – I’ll include that tip in the recipe!

  10. Love the colours and the images. It makes it look so delicious:-)
    I will try it next week when I have my family over. They will love it!
    Thanks for sharing

  11. Amy from parsleyinmyteeth.com

    Such a great idea – can’t wait to try it!

  12. Madeline from madelinemarieblog.com

    Love the addition of tart cherries to this tabbouleh! Sounds like the perfect picnic lunch.

  13. I’d be tempted to use fresh cherries, since they’re in season.
    Another plus for this salad: you don’t have to worry about it turning bad if not kept cold enough, like salads with mayo.

  14. What a beautiful, simple meal. Those dried tart cherries sound absolutely divine and perfect for this dish. I haven’t cooked with millet in awhile, but I’ve enjoyed it in the past – I will need to try this soon!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
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.