Tabouli salad or Tabbouleh is a simple Mediterranean salad of very finely chopped vegetables, lots of fresh parsley and bulgur wheat, all tossed with lime juice and olive oil. Grab my tips and watch the video for how to make tabouli below.

Tabouli salad

Tabouli is likely the topmost famed Mediterranean/Middle Eastern salad there is. Because it is now sold in most large supermarkets around the world, I feel compelled to dispel one thing: the “star of the show," so to speak, in a tabouli recipe is not the bulgur. The idea is to have a little bulgur with the salad, not a little salad with your bulgur.

What is in Tabouli Salad?

The true star in a tabouli recipe is the very finely chopped parsley--lots of it! Parsley holds well against the citrus in the dressing; that's why tabouli is even better the next day. Some tabouli recipes like this one, call for a few fresh mint leaves and green onions, while others use only parsley and red onions instead. This recipe is closest to the version I grew up with, but feel free to make it your own.

Tomatoes, onion, bulgur, parsley and herbs mixed to make tabouli salad

Important tips for this tabouli salad recipe:

1- In this tabouli recipe, I recommend extra fine bulgur. Extra fine bulgur does not need hot water nor too much time to soak before adding it to the salad. If you end up using coarse or extra coarse bulgur, then hot water is recommended and you will need to soak it for 45 minutes or so.

2- To achieve the right tabouli texture, you will need to chop the vegetables as finely as possible. Can one use a food processor to chop tabouli ingredients? You can use one to chop the parsley, if you like, but I would advice you to chop the tomatoes, green onions etc. using a sharp knife.

3- Be sure to use firm tomatoes. Once chopped, place the tomatoes in a colander to drain excess juice.

Tabouli Salad served on plate

4- Tabouli does not traditionally call for cucumbers. This is my own twist, I like the extra crunch added.  I use  English Cucumbers also known as hothouse cucumbers, they are long, thin skinned, and generally seedless. If you choose to use the more common American cucumbers, be sure to remove the skin; cut the cucumber in halves and remove most of the seeds then proceed to chop.

5- No dressing but a splash of fresh lemon or lime juice and quality extra virgin olive oil like our Early Harvest  olive oil. It's an exquisite Greek extra virgin olive oil from the estate of the Kotsovolas family in Christianoupolis, Greece.  Hand-picked; cold pressed; from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olive oil; and of extremely low acidity (0.35%.) Learn more about our Early Harvest olive oil here.

6-For best results, cover the tabouli and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter. If you like, serve the tabouli with a side of pita and romaine lettuce leaves, which act as wraps or "boats" for the tabouli.

What to serve with Tabouli

Tabouli makes a great and bright addition to the dinner table next to your grilled kabobs or shawarmas, for example. But it can also be included as part of mezze along with other small plates like, Creamy Hummus; Falafel; Turkish fried eggplant; and spicy Middle Eastern Potatoes.

Watch How to Make Tabouli (tabouleh)

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Tabouli Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Authentic Middle Eastern tabouli salad with fresh parsley, mint, bulgur, finely chopped vegetables and a simple citrus dressing. See the step-by-step tutorial at The Mediterranean Dish food blog.

Tabouli Salad Recipe


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Description

Traditional tabouli salad recipe with parsley, mint, bulgur wheat, finely chopped vegetables and a zesty dressing. Recipe with step-by-step photos.


Ingredients

Scale
  • ½ cup fine bulgur wheat
  • 4 firm Roma tomatoes, very finely chopped
  • 1 English cucumber (hothouse cucumber), very finely chopped
  • 2 bunches parsley, part of the stems removed, washed and well-dried, very finely chopped
  • 12-15 fresh mint leaves, stems removed, washed, well-dried, very finely chopped
  • 4 green onions, white and green parts, very finely chopped
  • Salt
  • 3-4 tablespoon lime juice (lemon juice, if you prefer)
  • 3-4 tablespoon Early Harvest extra virgin olive oil
  • Romaine lettuce leaves to serve, optional

Instructions

  1. Wash the bulgur wheat and soak it in water for 5-7 minute. Drain very well (squeeze the bulgur wheat by hand to get rid of any excess water). Set aside.
  2. Very finely chop the vegetables, herbs and green onions as indicated above. Be sure to place the tomatoes in a colander to drain excess juice.
  3. Place the chopped vegetables, herbs and green onions in a mixing bowl or dish. Add the bulgur and season with salt. Mix gently.
  4. Now add the the lime juice and olive oil and mix again.
  5. For best results, cover the tabouli and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter. If you like, serve the tabouli with a side of pita and romaine lettuce leaves, which act as wraps or "boats" for the tabouli.
  6. Other appetizers to serve next to tabouli salad:Hummus; Baba Ganoush; or Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Notes

  • The finer you chop the vegetables, the better. See additional tips above.
  • To serve a smaller crowd, simply cut the recipe in half.
  • You can keep tabouli refrigerated in a tight-lid container for 2 days or so. It’s important to try and drain some of the juice out before refrigerating leftover tabouli.
  • Recommended for this Recipe: Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil (from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives)
  • SAVE! Try our Greek Olive Oil Bundle!
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern

 

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Tabouli Recipe (Tabbouleh) | The Mediterranean Dish. Authentic Middle Eastern tabouli salad with fresh parsley, mint, bulgur, finely chopped vegetables and a simple citrus dressing. See the step-by-step tutorial at The Mediterranean Dish food blog.

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. Joel says:

    Are you supposed pour boiling water over the bulgar and let it soak?

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Joel. Extra fine bulgur does not need boiling water for soaking before adding it to the salad. If you end up using coarse or extra coarse bulgur, then hot water is recommended and you will need to soak it for 45 minutes or so.

  2. Ayesha says:

    Delicious salad Next time will add less salt






  3. Blair says:

    Suzy, this is very, very good. The tip about "a little bulgar wheat with your herbs and veggies..." was really helpful. I'm newly diagnosed diabetic and substituted quinoa for the bulgar wheat to lower the carbs. This is filling, tasty and definitely something I'll keep a supply of in my fridge!






  4. Jill says:

    This was great. I love tabouli and have never made it myself-was surprised how simple it is to prepare. I pulsed the tomatoes, cucumber, and parsley individually in food processor instead of chopping. Drained the tomatoes cuz that produced a lot of juice - which I used to make more of that tomato vinaigrette (from your Nicoise Salad with Tuna) to have on hand. Looking forward to making again very soon - great hot summer food!






  5. Lily says:

    Amazing recipe!!! Reminds me of my mom's homemade Tabbouleh.

    1. TMD Team says:

      Yesss! We love to hear that, Lily!

  6. Patricia says:

    This was amazing, my mother used to make this for me without the cucumber. I followed your recipe 😁 it was great. I just ate the leftovers.






  7. Laura says:

    I made this with one exception I used the olive oil I already had on hand. It was delicious!

  8. Shannon D says:

    Bright, fresh and delicious! As a Celiac, I made it with quinoa instead of bulger, which has a similar mouth feel. Thanks for another great recipe!






  9. Greg says:

    I repeated the recipe as you posted, and it was absolutely delicious. I even had plenty to share with the neighbors. The following day I added light red kidney beans after rinsing off and they paired very well with the salad.

    1. TMD Team says:

      So glad you loved it, Greg!

  10. Laura Segeo says:

    Excellent recipe! I didn't have bulgur wheat on hand, so I substituted quinoa in the same proportion and it turned out great. I used lemon instead of lime. Served it with warm pita and your chicken shawarma recipe, which was also excellent! This morning I packed the leftover tabouli for lunch and added canned garbanzos, diced avocado, feta crumbles and an extra squeeze of lemon! Delish! Also, thank you for the tip of straining the diced tomatoes and to make sure that the herbs are dried well. Very helpful! I will definitely be trying other recipes from your site!

  11. Melanie says:

    Im headed to the store to get it bow. I hope I can find fine bulgur. Thank you

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Melanie. If you aren't able to find it at your local market, we sell it in out online shop! Be sure to check it out!

  12. Mary says:

    Just started watching your videos. Love the recipes!






    1. TMD Team says:

      Thanks so much, Mary!

  13. Staci says:

    Can you make this with Quinoa to make it gluten free?

    1. Devin Fuller says:

      Hi Staci, Devin here from the Mediterranean Dish team. Cooked quinoa would work well here! I think it would be delicious. You could also try Suzy's gluten-free cauliflower tabouli as another option. Happy cooking!