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. Yvette says:

    Fabulous! I come back to this so I probably already commented but I rarely make the same thing on any given day of a year. I have to use quinoa to keep it GF and it works so well. Outsourced some hummus and dolmas to go with that and my homemade chicken tonight. Hubby gets pita bread. Love you❤️






    1. Suzy says:

      Awww! Thank you, Yvette!

  2. Suzy says:

    This was the best recipe for tabouleh ever. I didn’t have bulgar wheat so I substituted quinoa instead. Other than that I made the recipe per Instructions. Definitely will made again 👍🏻






  3. Natala Gaylord says:

    I don't know if I did it wrong or not but I followed the directions and...is the bulgar wheat supposed to be hard? It had the texture of quinoa that hadn't been cooked.






    1. Suzy says:

      Hi, Natala. The bulgur should not be hard. This particular recipe calls for extra fine bulgur... is that what you used? If not, that could be the issue here.

  4. L H says:

    I used curly parsley because I didn’t realize the flat leaf was a better option. You should make it specific in the recipe for people like me who don’t know.

  5. Dixie says:

    Would you toast the bulgar first for a nuttier crunch or would it end up burnt?

    1. Suzy says:

      Hi, Dixie. I have never tried toasting the bulgar for this one, so it's hard for me to advise. If you give it a go, please stop back and let us know your thoughts!

  6. Monica says:

    I follow many recipes from your blog ! Love how authentic the taste is…I even added some black olives to this recipe for extra flavour ! Thank you for all the great tips you add . Mediterranean cuisine is common weekday meal at our house !

    1. Suzy says:

      Wonderful! Thanks, Monica!

  7. Richard says:

    I made this recipe (no cucumbers) this week to serve with falafel. Due to lockdowns, I had to make do with what I had and so substituted the bulgar with lightly Boiled quinoa. It was definitely best the next day after the acids in lemon had "cooked" the parsley a little. Thanks for the recipe. I'll be keeping this one.

  8. Frank says:

    very easy to do and it was very good






  9. Nancy Biggs says:

    Because several in my family are gluten-intolerant, I use cauliflower "rice". I actually prefer it to the traditional bulgur. Otherwise, I pretty much follow the recipe.






  10. Sarah Losota says:

    I have made this twice this week and it’s been sandy both times. I soaked the parsley and mint but again today you get a bite of sand in your mouth. Do you have any ideas what I’m doing wrong , thank you

    1. Suzy says:

      Hi, Sarah. Maybe instead of soaking, run the veggies under a flowing faucet so all of the dirt/grit runs off. Then dry very well.

    2. Cathy says:

      Hello Sarah. I find swirling my parsley in a bowl of water, rinse and repeat, until no grit is found in the bowl works well for extra-gritty herbs.

  11. Dee says:

    I love tabouleh but since I must eat gluten free I make a version with hemp hearts. I know it’s not authentic but the taste is very close to the Lebanese tabouleh I know and love. The hemp hearts are also higher in protein and fiber and lower in carbohydrates so for those who need to eat lower carb, it’s a marvelous substitute.

    Your recipe works well with the hemp.

    1. Suzy says:

      Wow! What a great idea! Thanks for sharing that, Dee!

  12. George says:

    An excellent Tabboule recipe. I enjoyed the addition of cucumber which adds moisture and crunch, also the lime juice is a great idea as it is a little less acid than lemon. Wonderful.

    1. Suzy says:

      So glad you enjoyed it, George!

  13. Allman says:

    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!

    1. Suzy says:

      Sounds delish!

  14. KittenMitts says:

    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!

    1. Suzy says:

      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.

  15. Jeanie says:

    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.

  16. Lisa says:

    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.

    1. Suzy says:

      Thanks for sharing, Lisa!