This tabbouleh recipe brings a delightfully crisp and succulent vegan salad to your table within just 10 minutes of tossing. It’s refreshingly robust and earthy with a simple combination of bulgur, mixed veggies, and a bright lemon-olive oil dressing.
What Is Tabbouleh?
Tabbouleh (or tabouli) is a Lebanese salad made of fresh parsley, bulgur wheat, and diced vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions. Everything is dressed with lemon juice and olive oil before serving.
The authentic recipe is mainly dotted with parsley with just a little bulgur. But the more popular variant of this dish (which also is today’s recipe) is usually made the other way round — with heaps of bulgur and less parsley involved.
Is Tabbouleh Healthy?
Yes, it is.
This tabbouleh is packed with fresh and wholesome ingredients: bulgur, parsley, tomatoes, onions, and lemon juice. It’s also low in calories — only 179 calories, 1 gram of saturated fat, and zero cholesterol per one serving.
Bulgur is a whole grain that’s rich in fiber and has potential health benefits. Parsley is a flowering plant that’s known for its great nutritional value and anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce the risk of cancer and improve the immune system.
Tomatoes, onions, and lemon juice also provide great sources of vitamins and minerals.
Bulgur is a cereal food made from parboiled cracked wheat. Bulgur becomes tender and fluffy when cooked, and is a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine.
The authentic tabbouleh is made of fine bulgur (often marked #1 on the package) so it doesn’t require cooking. Fine bulgur only takes a quick soaking in liquid to be ready to use in salads.
Although there are different varieties of bulgur on the market (there are four levels of grind sizes), fine bulgur is pretty hard to find on the market, at least in the US. But don’t worry, you can still make tabbouleh with medium-grain bulgur (or medium-coarse bulgur), a more readily available type at grocery stores, just like we did in this recipe.
For medium-grain bulgur, we steamed it for about 5 minutes in boiling water (covered with a lid) before adding it to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients. Remember that you’ll only need it to be soft but not fully cooked so it absorbs the lemon juice better when you toss the salad.
Authentic tabbouleh recipe calls for a generous amount of parsley, but we decided to make the plump bulgur the star of this salad, so one ounce of parsley is all we added.
Parsley is an easy-going item as it takes little effort to prepare and holds very well against the lemon juice. Although both flat-leaf and curly parsley work well in a tabbouleh recipe, curly parsley is our preferred choice simply because it offers extra volume for the salad.
There’s only one thing to keep in mind: Don’t wash your parsley until you’re ready to combine the salad. After rinsing, make sure that it’s completely dry before going into the mixing bowl as any excess moisture will make it slimy when being tossed.
3. Tomatoes and Onions
Fresh tomatoes and yellow onions add texture and color, as well as freshness and a delicious tang to our tabbouleh.
Always choose ripe and firm tomatoes so they don’t release too much juice. After dicing the tomatoes finely, you can also use a mesh filter or a colander to drain the excess juice if necessary.
Some great alternatives to fresh tomatoes are red bell peppers or sun-dried tomatoes. Just like parsley, no matter the options, please make sure that the tomatoes, onions, and any additional veggies of your choice are drained or rinsed well and patted dry before combining.
Last but not least, it’s important to chop the vegetables as finely as possible to achieve the appetizing texture of tabbouleh. You can use a food processor to chop the parsley, and a sharp knife to chop other veggies such as tomatoes and onions.
How to Make Tabbouleh
This tabbouleh recipe brings a delightful combination of bulgur, mixed veggies, and a lemony dressing to your table within just 10 minutes and 5 steps of making:
In the “Meat/Stew” mode, add water and bulgur and cook for 5 minutes.
Use a fine-mesh sieve to strain the bulgur from water.
Transfer the cooked bulgur to a mixing bowl.
Mix the bulgur with the remaining ingredients until well combined.
Portion out tabbouleh onto serving bowls and enjoy.
How Long Does Tabbouleh Last?
Tabbouleh is a quick and easy salad for make-ahead meal plans. It can be made in advance and stored in airtight containers in the fridge, ready to serve for the next 3-4 days.
Tabbouleh doesn’t freeze well, so it’s best not to make more than you will need at the time.
What to Eat With Tabbouleh
Tabbouleh is a popular side dish on Mediterranean menus. At home, it will go well with your grilled dishes or any protein-rich mains.
You can enjoy tabbouleh on its own or make it a tasty appetizer. Sometimes it can also make a great pairing with dips and spreads such as hummus and tzatziki, or warm pita bread to create fulfilling vegan wraps.
Similarly Tasty Salad
We have worked with salad a lot in our kitchen, and this one is just one of the many tasty ideas. Try these easy recipes to include more salad in your diet:
- Chickpea Salad Recipe
- Corn Salad Recipe
- Pea Salad Recipe
- Loaded Potato Salad Recipe
- Cauliflower Risotto Recipe
- 4.2 oz bulgur equals 120 grams
- 4 cups water
- 1 oz parsley chopped
- 0.25 oz mint chopped
- 4 oz tomatoes finely diced
- 2 oz onion finely diced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 0.5 oz coriander chopped
- Turn on the “Meat/Stew” setting in the Instant Pot, add 4.2 oz bulgur and 4 cups water. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Use a fine-mesh sieve to strain the bulgur from water, shake the sieve gently to remove as much water as possible.
- Transfer the cooked bulgur to a mixing bowl.
- Mix the bulgur with 1 oz chopped parsley, 0.25 oz chopped mint, 4 oz finely diced tomatoes, 2 oz finely diced onion, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, and 0.5 oz coriander until well combined.
- Portion out tabbouleh onto serving bowls and enjoy.