Tabbouleh is not only one of my favorite foods in the whole world, but it is also delicious, fresh, easy to make, and so healthy. I grew up eating this regularly and request it from my mom whenever I visit home! Here’s my take on a classic, traditional Middle Eastern salad staple.
Inspiration and recipe thoughts
Tabbouleh time! Tabbouleh is one of my favorite foods in the entire world. Even though my mom makes it the best, this recipe is definitely delicious and my take on this fabulous Middle Eastern staple.
This recipe was inspired by my wonderful mother again! She made this for us growing up all of the time and still does. My mom absolutely loves parsley and basically puts it in everything, and now she’s passed that on to me. This dish is a perfect example, with parsley being the star of the show with three big bunches in this tabbouleh recipe.
I always request tabbouleh when I visit home and definitely on special occasions. It is not just delicious and fresh but so healthy for you too, being packed with veggies and and only has a light olive oil lemon dressing with salt and pepper. The main key to tabbouleh is to get fresh ingredients and to chop them very small, as small as possible.
The other star of the tabbouleh show is the cracked wheat, called bulgur. Tabbouleh requires the fine #1 bulgur, which you can find at most grocery stores and definitely at ethnic markets and online retailers. Bulgur is one of my favorite grains and it has the perfect texture for tabbouleh, and also many other recipes. Check out one of my other delicious bulgur recipes on the blog if you love bulgur too or just want to give them a try, like my Bulgur Veggie Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing, or my Pickled Bulgur Veggie Crunch Salad. Bulgur is the best because it’s so versatile and you can eat it cooked or uncooked and it is equally delicious.
How it’s made
Tabouleh is super simple to make, it just takes a bit of time of chop all of the ingredients. Start out with soaking the bulgur in water then chop all of the veggies. Squeeze out the excess water from the bulgur, mix in the veggies, and add your salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon. That’s it!
Here is the general how-to for preparing bulgur. Also check out my notes below the recipe. Soak the bulgur in water for a minimum of 10 minutes. The water should be completely or almost completely soaked up by that time. The bulgur will be soft and chewy and that is when you want to get rid of excess water. With clean hands, take one handful of bulgur at a time and squeeze out the excess water. The bulgur will still be soft and delicious, but removing the excess water will avoid having soupy salads. You will be adding oil and a lot of lemon, so having the excess water will make the salad too liquidy.
If you find that this happens to yours, no worries! You can either drain out the excess liquid at the end (and drink it! it is delicious, or use it as a salad dressing), or you can add more bulgur or veggies to soak up the liquid. Either way, if you find yourself with a bit of liquid at the bottom after mixing the tabbouleh it is ok. It will still taste delicious.
The dressing is so simple for this recipe: just olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. Make sure to adjust these to taste, as the Persian cucumbers, lemons, tomatoes, and green onions you get might be bigger or smaller than the ones I get. Our family adjusts to taste by using my little sister, Kelly (and of course I am always tasting everything!). But Kelly is our family’s official tabbouleh taste tester and she loves this job.
Tabbouleh is best eaten immediately and on the day it is made, but I have been known to eat leftovers for days…! If you do, the liquid may settle to the bottom in the fridge, so make sure to mix well before enjoying.
I hope you enjoy this tabbouleh as much as I do!
- 1 1/3 cup #1 fine bulgur (cracked wheat) see notes
- 2 cups room temperature water to soak the bulgur in; see notes
- 5 roma tomatoes finely chopped
- 5 Persian cucumbers finely chopped
- 3 bunches Italian parsley washed, stems removed, and chopped very finely; see notes!
- 4 green onions finely chopped; if they are small, use 5
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil adjust to taste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt adjust to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper adjust to taste
- juice of 1-2 lemons adjust to taste
- Put the bulgur in a medium sized bowl and pour the water over it. Let soak for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes most or all of the water should be soaked up by the bulgur. With clean hands, take one handful of bulgur at a time, squeeze out the water into the sink or another bowl, then add the squeezed bulgur to a large bowl. Set aside.
- Chop all of the veggies and tomatoes as finely as possible: green onions, mint, tomatoes, cucumbers, and parsley. For the parsley, make sure to chop it very fine, just the leaves and no stems.
- Pour all of the veggies over the bulgur in the large bowl and mix together. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and mix to combine. Enjoy!
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