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 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.
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.
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 Salad Recipe
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 6-8 1x
Traditional tabouli salad recipe with parsley, mint, bulgur wheat, finely chopped vegetables and a zesty dressing. Recipe with step-by-step photos.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Place the chopped vegetables, herbs and green onions in a mixing bowl or dish. Add the bulgur and season with salt. Mix gently.
- Now add the the lime juice and olive oil and mix again.
- 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.
- Other appetizers to serve next to tabouli salad:Hummus; Baba Ganoush; or Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
- 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
Keywords: tabouli salad, tabouli, tabbouleh, tabouli recipe, tabouli salad recipe, tabbouleh salad, tabbouleh salad recipe, middle eastern salad, how to make tabouli
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What can I sub for parsley? Too bad but in my area, parsley isn’t available easily. Maybe I can use coriander leaves? Please let me know!
Sure, Abbie. If you use coriander leaves, the flavor profile will obviously be a bit different, but I think that would work in a pinch.
I've made this recipe twice. It is yummy but definitely not a 20 minute prep time. It took me 30-35 minutes to chop the vegetables and since I didn't have fine bulgur I had to soak the Bob's Red Mill for an hour before mixing. I'd say 30 to 45 minute prep time is more accurate not including the soak time for the bulgur. Still worth it and I will make it again but adjust my expectations for how long to allow for prep. Actually, I'll probably choose to make it the day before I serve it.
Thanks for the feedback, Jan! Much appreciated!
EXCELLENT!!! In every way..........THANK YOU!!
Could you please add measurements for the parsley, onions, and mint? Bunches of parsley vary in size, and the video only uses one, so it is confusing. Also mint leaf size varies, as does green onion. If you could add how many cups (or appropriate measure) that would be helpful. Thanks!
I don't care for salad when it's cold outside. Do you have any warm salad recipes?
I hear ya! Have you tried our Roasted Cauliflower Salad yet? I think that would fit the bill!
Came out perfect! I didn't have green onion so I used minced sweet onion. It's so much better than store bought. Well worth the effort to make fresh.
Yum! Thanks for sharing, Mike!
I finally made this today. It is so delicious. My knife skills aren’t as good as yours so the ingredients are not as finely chopped as I had hoped, lol. I halved the recipe because it is just me and it still made enough to last me several days. Thanks Suzy for sharing all your delicious recipes.
Hello! I soaked the Bulger wheat as directed but it was really hard when ready to eat. Perhaps it should have been cooked first? Any info would be appreciated.
Hi, Laura. Did you use extra fine bulgur as recommended?
I found using boiling water and letting the bulgar soak at least 30 minutes or longer (while prepping the other ingredients) really helps to soften it more. It’s supposed to have a little bite to it anyway. Hope this helps you.
I SOAK BULGAR UP TO 1 HOUR, JUST RIGHT! NOT REAL CHEWY, NOT REAL SOFT
I love the old recipe. Could you please send it. It was the one back in the 70-80’s. Thank you
As a child I always loved my grandmother's tabouli. Fortunately my mother continued making the recipe. I never wrote it down but just made a few tweaks to it to make it my own and make it a number of times each year. My recipe and this one are virtually identical. I will quote my brother who I shared the last batch with. It was fabulous.
Aww! So glad to hear this, John! Thank you!