This tabouli salad recipe uses bulgur, juicy tomatoes and vibrant herbs to make the perfect light summer salad. Make tabbouleh for dinner tonight!
HISTORY OF TABBOULEH
The name tabbouleh comes from the Arabic word taabil, which means “to season or spice”. Its origin is Lebanese and it’s believed that the dish has been around for over 2,000 years.
Over the years, another spelling of the dish was introduced. As a result, you will often see it as tabouli.
Despite the spelling difference, it’s the same delicious salad either way.
Mediterranean dishes are known for being flavorful, and tabbouleh salad does not disappoint.
Looking for another delicious Mediterranean dinner idea? I think you’ll love Moroccan Roasted Chicken or a Mediterranean Couscous Salad. Skip the bun and serve my Mediterranean Lamb Burgers on top, too!
Tabouli recipe ingredients + substitutions
Not only is this meal delicious, but it’s also quite healthy!
One serving of tabouli will provide your body with fiber, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.
Plus, fresh parsley and tomatoes are both rich in antioxidants, and the lycopene in tomatoes can help to keep your heart healthy.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this delicious tabouli salad recipe:
- Bulgur – This nutty tasting cereal grain is made from several varieties of durum wheat. It’s rich in fiber and absolutely delicious in both hot and cold dishes. If you need a gluten-free substitute, I recommend using brown rice. As a result, it will provide additional fiber. Plus, the taste is heartier than white rice.
- Tomatoes – I like to use plum tomatoes in my tabbouleh. They have fewer seeds and are meatier than larger tomatoes like beefsteak and Big Boy. Plus, they are easier to cut into thin slices.
- Fresh parsley – Stick with Italian flat leaf parsley for this salad. f you absolutely need to use curly parsley, you can. Just know that the flavor isn’t as vibrant, mostly because it’s primarily just for plate garnishing.
- Fresh mint leaves
- Extra virgin olive oil – Using a good quality olive oil makes all the difference in this salad. I recommend buying the best you can afford. A good substitutes is avocado oil.
- Aromatics – Garlic and shallot are both delicious and pair really well with the flavor of the fresh herbs. Lemon juice adds tangy flavor to the salad dressing.
- Spices – No Mediterranean dish is completed without salt, pepper, and a dash of allspice. For an extra bite, swap out the black pepper and use a pinch of red pepper flakes instead.
- Chopping fresh herbs – I highly recommend using a sharp knife to cut the parsley and mint. I find that although using food processor is easier, it makes the herbs too mushy and wet. Especially when making tabouli salad, you will want the herbs as light and fresh as possible.
- Storing leftovers – When you make things like marinated cucumber salad, the longer they sit, the more the flavors develop. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case with most fresh salads. This dish is definitely best eaten the day it is made. This being said, if you store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it will stay tasty for a couple of days.
Watch how to make this below!
Tabouli Salad (Tabbouleh)
- 3.5 oz bulgur wheat
- 1 lb plum tomatoes diced (See Note 1)
- 1 shallot diced
- 3 bunches flat leaf parsley (See Note 2)
- 1 bunch mint
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper (See Note 3)
- 1/2 tsp sumac (optional)
- In a bowl, either soak the bulgar wheat in fresh cold water for 60 minutes OR, pour boiling water over bulgar wheat and allow to soak for 20 minutes. Rinse in a sieve under cold water until water runs clear. Shake off excess water and transfer to a bowl.
- Using a sharp knife, finely dice tomatoes. Add to the bowl along with their juices and toss to coat the bulgar wheat. Finely dice the shallot, add to bowl.
- Grab half a bunch of parsley at a time and chop off half of the stems, discard. Finely CUT the parsley leaves and stems (See Note 4). Go over them once again to get as fine as possible. Add to the bowl and repeat with remaining parsley.
- Separate the mint leaves from the stems and discard stems. Stack the mint leaves several at a time and cut them as finely as the parsley. Add to the bowl and repeat with remaining mint leaves.
- To the bowl add the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, allspice, salt, black pepper and sumac (optional), stirring to combine all. Taste for seasoning and cover and chill 30 minutes.
- Serve traditionally at room temperature or cold if you prefer. Stir before serving with lettuce leaves, vegetables, pita or pita chips.
- Use any tomato if you prefer. I just find the Roma firmer to finely cut. A substitution may also be pomegranate arils.
- Substitute curly parsley if you can't find flat leaf. Just be sure it is a 3 to 1 ratio of parsley to mint.
- I often times substitute red pepper flakes for the black pepper.
- I highly recommend using a sharp knife to cut the parsley and mint. If you use a food processor I've found it gets too mushy and wet, even though it makes it easier. You want the herbs light and flaky.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.