Tabouli, also known as tabbouleh, is a delicious salad that's very simple to make and is ready in 20 minutes. This healthy and refreshing salad is bursting with amazing flavors thanks to the simple lemon and olive oil dressing.
If you're all about fresh and easy salads, then this tabouli recipe is for you! What I love about Mediterranean cuisine is that fresh ingredients are used on a daily basis and food is always simple yet delicious. A cool, crisp salad such as fattoush, Turkish tomato salad or tabouli takes any regular meal to a whole new level.
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About This Recipe
Tabbouleh or tabouli - either spelling is acceptable - is a refreshing salad originated in Lebanon and Syria. Its main ingredients are parsley, tomatoes and bulgur. It's a light salad that makes a great side to most dishes. It's very common in the Middle East and you can find it in almost any Mediterranean or Middle Eastern restaurant.
Since it's made with bulgur, which is rich in fiber, vitamin B, and protein, tabouli is very good for you. The dressing is made with olive oil which is a healthy fat. This salad is a good option as a side dish or a light lunch. It's naturally dairy free and vegan.
- Bulgur: You need fine bulgur to make tabbouleh, which doesn't need to be cooked in boiling water. Fine bulgur is available at many supermarkets or online.
- Tomatoes: Firm tomatoes such as roma tomatoes work perfectly for this recipe. I usually take out the middle part to keep the salad from having extra liquid.
- Herbs: Parsley and mint are the main ingredients used in this recipe. Be generous with the parsley and make sure the herbs are well washed and dried.
- Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds a lot of flavor to the salad.
- Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil gives depth and body to this simple and refreshing salad.
- Salt and pepper: Simple seasoning is all you need here.
Depending on the region and preferences of individual families, other ingredients such as cucumbers, bell pepper, red onion or green onion are used as well.
How To Make Tabouli
- Soak the fine bulgur in some hot water and set it aside for 10 minutes.
- Fluff the bulgur and mix it with the chopped parsley, mint and tomatoes.
- Pour the olive oil and lemon juice over the salad and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge for 30 minutes and then serve.
Alternatively, you can soak the bulgur in the olive oil and lemon juice combination and skip making the dressing. Make sure to season the salad with salt and pepper after you add the bulgur to the chopped vegetables.
Tips To Make The Best Tabbouleh
- Refrigerate the salad for 30 minutes before serving for the best taste.
- Make sure to chop all the vegetables and herbs very finely. A sharp knife would work best here.
- Make sure you're using fine or extra fine bulgur. Coarse bulgur isn't suitable for this recipe.
Tabouli is always served cold. It's best to prepare it about an hour before serving so it's cold when it comes to the table.
Place the leftovers in an airtight, preferably glass container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Give the salad a good stir and add a splash of olive oil before serving.
Can tabouli be frozen? Tabouli contains fresh herbs and tomatoes, I don't recommend freezing it since it would alter the flavor and texture of the vegetables.
Frequently asked questions
Since bulgur is a form of wheat, tabouli made with bulgur is not gluten-free or grain free. You can use quinoa instead of bulgur if you need it to be gluten-free. Some cooks might use riced cauliflower instead of bulgur or quinoa and while it's not authentic, many seem to enjoy it.
Yes, you can make this salad a day in advance and refrigerate in an airtight container. Leaving tabouli in the fridge will allow the flavors to combine which makes this salad even more delicious.
Tabbouleh is made with fine bulgur that's soaked in some liquid such as warm water. Coarse bulgur is large and needs to be cooked separately, it won't work for this salad.
You can use other ingredients such as quinoa, couscous or even cauliflower rice to make tabouli, but keep in mind that it won't be the classic version. Moreover, the flavor and texture will be different.
More Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Salads
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Tabbouleh Salad Recipe
- ¼ cup fine bulgur
- 2 cups parsley finely chopped
- 2 Roma tomatoes diced
- ½ cup fresh mint chopped
- ⅓ cup olive oil extra virgin
- 1 lemon juice of
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Soak the bulgur in ½ cup hot water and let it sit for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let it cool completely.
- In a large bowl mix the parsley with mint, tomatoes and bulgur.
- Add in the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Mix well to combine.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
- Alternatively, you can soak the bulgur in the olive oil and lemon juice then add it to the chopped vegetables. You won't need a dressing in this case. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- It's best to refrigerate this salad for 30 minutes before serving.
- I don't recommend freezing tabbouleh salad as it contains tomatoes, cucumbers and parsley. These vegetables don't freeze well and become mushy and grainy, ruining the flavor and texture of the salad.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To serve, give it a good stir and add a splash of olive oil.
- Make sure to use extra firm tomatoes to make this salad. Softer tomatoes might release their juice which will change the texture of the salad.