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)
NEVER MISS A RECIPE! JOIN MY FREE E-MAIL LIST HERE TO RECEIVE NEW RECIPES, WEEKLY MEDITERRANEAN DINNER PLANS, AND MY FREE E-COOKBOOK WITH 15 HEALTHY RECIPES TO TRY!
SHOP OUR ONLINE STORE FOR QUALITY OLIVE OILS, ALL-NATURAL SPICES AND MORE.Print
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
SHOP The Mediterranean Dish
More Recipes to Try
Egyptian Vegan Stew with Peas and Carrots
Your recipe is almost exactly like the one I prefer. The only difference is that I use extra firm cucumbers (with seeds), chopped finely. I usually pile my plate high with the tabouli and a bunch of stuffed grape leaves. YUM!
I tried this recipe this weekend but something turned out wrong! I de-seeded and seived my tomatoes but liquid still pooled at the bottom. Perhaps my parsley was too wet?....how do you suggest drying it after rinsing? As well, my salad had a very pungent sharp scent that I attribute to the parsley...it was very dark green and slightly coarse. Although I discarded a good deal of the stems the texture seemed rough, not fluffy like your pics. Any ideas on what I could change? Thanks!
Hello! I usually dry parsley by blotting with a kitchen towel. Not sure what my have contributed to the sharp sent. Might have well been the parsley.
The best ever recipe!! Add feta for a twist but not until one is ready to serve! Leftovers should be drained if too much juice from Roma tomato’s.
Instead of using water to make the bulgur, I mix it with un-strained tomatoes and let it sit with some garlic and salt until the bulgur is softened. The tomato water adds so much flavor it’s a shame to waste it.
Thanks for sharing, Lisa!
Love this recipe, added just a touch of apple cider vinegar as I like that tart taste and quinoa instead of bulgur. Thank you for a great recipe!
I didn't have bulgur and found cous cous to work wonderfully. I added more mint because my parsley bunches were so large. I also added fresh garlic per my taste. Thank you so much for this recipe, I 💯 love it
Thanks for sharing your adaptation, Christina! So glad you enjoyed the tabouli!
I also use these ingredients for tabouli- Fine wheat is #1 bulgar - I use #2 -I cover it with water and put it in the microwve for 2 minutes - rinse it with cold water and it's perfect. I agree with cucumber -it's a good balance for the lemon and the parsley-- i also put the parsley and the mint in the food processor but cut the rest by hand
Thanks so much for sharing, Debbie!
Yum and oops! I couldn't find extra-fine bulgur wheat and followed the direction using regular-sized bulgur wheat. it was very crunchy. I'm hoping it will soften as it chills in the refrigerator.
I didn't realize how much the recipe made until I had this big bowl of tabouli salad. I guess I'll be eating it for lunch and dinner for the next four days. But, it's so good and along with your hummus recipe and some whole wheat pita, it's a delicious treat that my body just loves.
Thanks for sharing, Sylvia!
should the parsley be curly or flat-leaf? does it matter?
I prefer flat leaf, but curly will work in a pinch.
For many months I’ve been making this recipe. I have digestive issues and tabouli helps tremendously. I’ve learned that I prefer red onions over green. And I use red wine vinegar when I’m out of limes or lemons. I learned the hard way that cous cous instead of bulgur makes a mushy inedible mess. Haven’t tried quinoa yet, though. A keeper for sure!!!
Thanks for sharing, Cathie!!
I have just made my own version of tabouli, using Farro grain instead of bulgur wheat. I also added some Feta cheese and a dash of honey for an interesting twist. Pretty yummy!
Thanks for sharing your adaptations, Gail!
My go to recipe for tabouleh. I have made it multiple times. Highly recommended.
Awesome! Thanks, Brett!
So glad you enjoyed it!
all I can find is Bulgar wheat, no indication of its fineness. Would this work if I cooked it? I've no idea what extra fine bulgar looks like, so I can't tell.
Sure, Bonita! If you end up using a courser bulgur, hot water is recommended and you will need to soak it for 45 minutes or so.
Can you use cilantro in place of parsley?
Sure! It would change the flavor profile a bit, but you can certainly give it a try!
I love this recipe. I used quinoa instead of bulgur wheat, and added red bell pepper, Kalamata olives, and feta (all finely chopped as well) to all of the other ingredients you listed. I may have added a bit more lime juice too. It was SO GOOD! Thanks for posting this!
So glad you enjoyed it, Christina!
You don't cook the bulgur? Just soak it?
Hi Meenna! Yes, this recipe uses extra fine uncooked bulgur that’s been soaked (be sure you are using extra fine bulgur though).
I have made this recipe multiple times and it is always a hit!
Awesome! Thanks, Carol!
I made the tabouli and hummus. Both were outstanding. We loved it so much, I m making again this weekend. I made homemade pita too. ??
Yay! So glad you enjoyed both recipes!
I've made this twice now and I'm getting better 🙂 To get the parsley finely chopped I did put it in a food processor the second go around and I didn't have green onions so I substituted red onions. Delish!
Awesome, Lindsay! Thanks for sharing.
I just made this and think it is good. I did not put everything in that it called for..not so much mint or tomato and cucumber into some and not into the other half. I salted the tomatoes lightly after I chopped them, I added the chopped mint and parsley to the bulgar as soon as they were chopped so I could see if I wanted more greens. I chopped the onion and did the same, lightly salting and stirring in again. I chopped tomatoes and drained and added those. I did not use all 4 but sizes of things make a difference and 3 chopped looked fine with what I had in the mixing bowl. I loved making this. What a big happy mess. I zested 2 limes which gave the salad all its oomph the juiced and added the lime juice to the olive oil with a little salt and pepper and stirred all in. I added cucumber to some of it and not to the other part. I will absolutely use this as my recipe. Thanks so much. I have a friend who was a soux chef and I have learned from her to have fun and use my own judgement
Thanks for sharing, Paula!
I haven't made your recipe according to your directions but I do make this a lot. My family is from Nazareth and it's a huge staple in our home. I generally leave the cucumbers and tomatoes on the side so if there are left overs they don't get "old" and soft. Dried mint can also be used when fresh isn't available (I prefer dried actually). I also have only made this with lemon juice. I prefer mine on the lemony side so I make sure there's enough ☺
Thank you for sharing your ideas, Joanna! love them.