Classic Tabbouleh Salad

Tabbouleh Salad Recipe

 The Spruce

Ratings (46)
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
185 Calories
10g Fat
23g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 185
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 12%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 304mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 9%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Protein 4g
Calcium 55mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Classic Tabbouleh Salad—a.k.a. tabouli—is made with cracked wheat bulgur, parsley, tomatoes, and a bright garlic mint dressing. Feel free to play around with the proportions, especially the various vegetables. Example: you can make this with no tomatoes when fresh, ripe ones were not to be had, or throw in much more parsley (we're talking three big bunches) for a greener salad. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cracked wheat bulgur
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (divided)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 4 tomatoes
  • English or hothouse cucumber

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Tabbouleh Salad Recipe ingredients
     The Spruce
  2. Put the bulgur in a medium bowl and sprinkle it with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 1 1/2 cups boiling water, cover, and let sit 20 minutes.

    Tabbouleh Salad Recipe
     The Spruce
  3. While the bulgar sits, whirl the olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic in a blender (or, pulse the garlic in a food processor until minced, then add the olive oil and lemon juice and whirl into a dressing-like consistency).

    Tabbouleh Salad Recipe
     The Spruce
  4. Add the mint leaves, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the pepper. Whirl until the mint leaves are well worked into the dressing and the dressing is more or less smooth. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

    Tabbouleh Salad Recipe
     The Spruce
  5. Pick the parsley leaves from the stems; discard the stems or save them for another use. Roughly chop the leaves. Core, seed, and chop the tomatoes. Peel, seed, and chop the cucumber (removing the seeds from the cucumber will keep the final salad from becoming too watery and also mitigates any bitterness than cucumber seeds can have). Place in a large bowl.

    Tabbouleh Salad Recipe
     The Spruce
  6. Check the bulgur. After 20 minutes it should have absorbed all of the water, but there may be a bit in the bottom of the bowl. Taste the bulgur, it should be tender to the bite. If it's not, stir, cover, and let sit 10 more minutes. If it is tender and there's water in the bowl, either drain the bulgur in a fine-mesh sieve or lift it out with a slotted spoon and into a separate bowl.

    Tabbouleh Salad Recipe
     The Spruce
  7. Pour the dressing over the bulgur and toss to combine well. Add the parsley and toss to combine well. Add the tomatoes and cucumber and stir to combine.

    Tabbouleh Salad Recipe
     The Spruce
  8. Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve, up to overnight.

    Tabbouleh Salad Recipe
     The Spruce

Tips

  • If you do chill the salad, know that it will taste a bit better and brighter if you let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving to take off some of the chill it will carry from its time in the fridge.
  • An extra tip: if you want to make this salad ahead of time, you can also wait and chop and add the tomatoes at the last minute—time in the fridge is never their friend!

Recipe Variations

  • Use quinoa instead of bulgur—it's on-trend, packed with protein, and gluten-free.
  • Use couscous instead of bulgur for a lighter texture in the salad.
  • Top with 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese for a creamy yet salty hit.
  • Stir in a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas.
  • Add 1/3 cup chopped pitted black olives for a deeper flavor.