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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4.9 from 88 reviews

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. Joanne says:

    This recipe is delicious and was a huge hit at a Xmas Eve get together! The colors made it festive and a Lebanese friend couldn't believe I'd made it.
    That said, I'd say the 20 prep time may be for more experienced choppers. It took me much longer to chop everything. It helped to have watched the You Tube first so I had a better idea of just how fine everything needed to be and it really did turn out very well!
    Happy holidays!






  2. Malcolm Armstrong says:

    This is SO good! I made it for the wife and now she wants this every week as a salad. Thanks for sharing this great recipe, Suzy!

    1. Devin Fuller says:

      Hi Malcolm, Devin here from the Mediterranean Dish team. Thank you for your comment - I'm so happy to hear you loved this recipe!

  3. Debbie says:

    Just starting my adventure on the Mediterranean food. Does bulgar have to bee cooked first like rice.

    1. Devin Fuller says:

      Hi Debbie, Devin here from The Mediterranean Dish team. Excited to hear you're starting to dive into Mediterranean food! If you're using fine bulgar, you can just soak it until it's tender but still has a nice bite to it, about 5-7 minutes. Let us know how it goes! And check out our collection of this year's Best Mediterranean Recipes to find more favorites.

  4. Gwen Key says:

    I make this every Christmas. I soak the Taboli mix(local grocery or Walmart has the mix) overnight in chicken broth. Next day I add chopped tomatoes and green onions
    Mix up oil and lemon juice 1/2 cup oil, 1/4 lemon juice.Add to Taboli mix. Cover and refrigerate until time to serve. Everyone who eats it, loves it. Has become a favorite for the Holidays. Enjoy!!!

  5. Bert says:

    Great recipe! I added some pine nuts for a little crunch and nutty flavor. Love your ideas!

    BertFromEarth

    1. TMD Team says:

      Thanks so much, Bert!

  6. James W says:

    Excellent--as are all your recipes.






    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, James! Thanks for taking the time to let us know you are enjoying the food! We appreciate the feedback!

  7. Michelle A says:

    Three of us are celiac/gluten free, so I did the recipe with buckwheat groats (which are not actually a wheat and naturally gluten-free). It was so delicious! All gone the first day, and I made a lot! We added a little feta to ours, because, why wouldn't you? I have also made this with quinoa and it was delicious also.






  8. Susan says:

    Does it matter what type of parsley you use? Curley or Flat Leaf

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Susan! Suzy always recommends flat leaf because it has a bit more flavor, but if you're in a pinch, curly is fine, as well.

  9. Matt says:

    Could not agree more with less (and fine) bulgur! I used to work at a Lebanese restaurant that used very little and I much prefer it to the heavy bulgur use you often see sold in stores. Cheers and thank you for a great recipe!

    1. TMD Team says:

      Thanks, Matt!

  10. Jerry R. House says:

    A restaurant in Oklahoma (Oklahoma?!!!), Yes. Oklahoma,
    Makes a wonderfully tabouli that's very close to this. The exceptions are, slightly less mint and 1/8 to 1/4 cooked and finely chopped garbanzo.
    A different texture and subtle flavor difference.
    I love both, your version and theirs.

  11. Rejina says:

    So light and refreshing! A perfect meal for summer.
    I couldn’t find fine bulgur so I used Bob’s Red Mill and cooked half a cup according to the package instructions. I still think it turned out great! I might add a little more lime juice next time because I really like the bright citrus flavor paired with the mint.






    1. TMD Team says:

      Thanks, Rejina! Glad you enjoyed it!

  12. Steve says:

    I hope this is not heresy, but just today I heard a suggestion that a tabouleh recipe like this can be made Keto-diet friendly by replacing the bulgur with chopped pecans. Sounds good to me! I like all the suggestions in this recipe. Will try it soon!






    1. Jerry R. House says:

      Wow, now that's a great idea. I love the above recipie and also adding 1/8 to 1/4 cooked and finely chopped garbanzo, with a little less mint. Next batch I make will have to add the pecans!

      1. May Posse says:

        When you say 1/8 to a quarter I presume you mean a cup?

  13. Margaret says:

    I am excited to try this. I have Arrowhead Mills Organic Bulgur Wheat. It doesn't say fine, but it looks fine. Any idea whether it is fine or not? Thank you!

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Margaret. Unfortunately, I don't know. I'm not familiar with that brand.

  14. Ted says:

    I'm currently making your Tabouli recipe for the first time at the request of my roommate. We've been transitioning our diet to a more Mediterranean diet since both of us like the flavors and the use of more fresh ingredients. My question is about the Bulgar wheat. I've seen some other recipes that have said you can use Quinoa instead of the Bulgar wheat, I have everything already prepped and ready to mix, however I don't have any of the Bulgar wheat. What does that do to the salad mix? I don't recall seeing it in my Tabouli salad from the Mediterranean restaurant the other night, or is this something that you wouldn't particularly notice? Does it just add texture or does it also add a distinctive flavor? I don't know if I should run to the store to get some or mix up everything without it or if I should add the Quinoa to replace it this time and get some for later. I want your recipe to taste as original as possible and having never used Bulgar wheat before I'm at a loss!

    1. Olga says:

      I’ve made this with quinoa and it was delicious. Perfect proportion of ingredients!

  15. Dawn says:

    Would it hurt to add lime or lemon juice to the water to soak the bulgur?

    1. TMD Team says:

      I think that would be fine, Dawn. Enjoy!

  16. ET says:

    Coming from a Middle Eastern household and having visited a couple of Middle Eastern countries, this is the first time I’ve seen cucumber and lime in tabbouleh!

    1. ~Chrissie O. says:

      Yes, I'm not familiar with cucumber in tabbouleh... I'm fine leaving it out because, actually, I am not a fan of cucumber unless finely-shredded in tzatziki... lol ~Chrissie