- Food: Super FreshTabbouleh
- Writer: Lizzie Green
- Content-Type: Food Blog
Finally! I’ve discovered the secret to making the tastiest tabbouleh. It’s on par with, if not better than, the food at my favorite local Middle Eastern restaurant. I believe you will agree if you give it a try.
Tabbouleh (sometimes called tabouli) is a salad made with fresh herbs and bulgur, with parsley as the main ingredient.
It’s prepared simply with olive oil and lemon juice and dotted with sliced cucumber and tomato. It’s light, refreshing, and full of healthful nutrients.
Tabbouleh is frequently served as a side dish on Mediterranean menus. It pairs well with hummus, baba ganoush, falafel, feta, and olives, all of which are among my favorite foods.
Over the years, I’ve experimented with tabbouleh at home, and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned with you today. Are you ready to prepare some delicious tabbouleh?
Ingredients in Tabbouleh
Bulgur is a whole grain made from parboiled cracked wheat. It’s soft and fluffy after cooking. Bulgur is frequently confused with couscous, but the two are not interchangeable (couscous is actually tiny pasta).
I haven’t been able to get authentic tabbouleh in conventional grocery stores because it’s made with ultra-fine grain bulgur that’s soaked rather than cooked.
Bulgur comes in a variety of flavors, but you’ll most likely just find one at the shop. So, follow the package guidelines for cooking (or soaking).
A lot of parsley is used in authentic tabbouleh. That’s why this salad is so vibrantly colored! I tried both flat-leaf and curly, and curly won out this time. Curly parsley, even when cut very finely, adds more volume to our tabbouleh, making it so enjoyable to eat.
Fresh Mint and Green Onion Mint
They are common, and they give even more freshness to the dish. However, if you don’t cultivate it at home, it can be costly, so you can avoid it if you choose.
Green onion is my go-to mild onion. Tabbouleh is a great way to use it.
Tomato with Cucumber
Fresh cucumber and tomato provide texture and color to the dish, as well as increase the refreshing aspect. Have I emphasized enough how refreshing it is?
Cucumber is unique in tabbouleh, according to Lebanese readers, which I didn’t know! You can skip it if you want, but it’s a lovely addition.
Garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice
Tabbouleh is prepared with a simple olive oil and lemon juice dressing. Garlic isn’t in every tabbouleh dish, but I think one clove adds a lot of flavor to this one.
How to Make the Fresh Tabbouleh?
Season your tomato and cucumber with salt and squeeze out any extra liquid.
This, fortunately, does not require any further time. When tomatoes and cucumbers are exposed to salt, they release a lot of moisture, which will make your tabbouleh overly watery if you don’t drain it.
Simply put the tomato and cucumber in a bowl with some salt and set aside while you chop the parsley (recipe follows). Before tossing the salad together, drain off any excess juice. Easy!
Use a lot of parsley and finely cut it.
Three bunches of parsley are required for this dish, and the easiest method to chop that much parsley is in a food processor.
It is possible to accomplish it by hand, but it will take some time. Don’t be concerned about removing the thin parsley stems; they have a lot of taste.
Season with lemon juice and salt to taste.
Tabbouleh should be zingy and flavorful, and to achieve that, you’ll need a lot of lemon and salt.
Serving Ideas for Tabbouleh
Tabbouleh is usually served at room temperature or chilled. It goes well with Mediterranean/Middle Eastern dishes as a side dish or salad. Here are a couple of ideas:
- Creamy Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Tzatziki, and Tahini Sauce are some of the dips and spreads available.
- Fattoush Salad with Mint Dressing
- Crispy Baked Falafel
- Mujaddara Mujaddara Mujaddara Muja (Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions)
- Bread with olive oil with dukkah
|Time to Prepare: 20 minutes
15 minutes to cook
35-minute total time
Serving: 6 servings
Learn how to create delicious, authentic tabbouleh in your own kitchen! This tabbouleh (also known as tabouli) is even better than the tabbouleh served at your favorite Lebanese restaurant.
This recipe serves 6 people (a little over 1 cup each).
- ½ cup bulgur
- 1 cup diced cucumber (1 small-to-medium)
- 3 medium bunches of curly parsley
- 1 cup diced tomato* (1 large)
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
- ⅓ cup (⅔ ounce) chopped fresh mint (optional but recommended—you can chop it in the food processor with the parsley)
- ⅓ cup thinly sliced green onion
- 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium clove of garlic, pressed or minced
- Cook or soak the bulgur until it is soft, as directed on the package. Drain the excess water and set the pan aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, in a medium mixing dish, combine the chopped cucumber and tomato with 12 tsp salt. Stir in the dressing and set aside for at least 10 minutes, or until you’re ready to put the salad together.
- Remove the thick stalks from the parsley before preparing it. Then finely chop the parsley and remaining stems—this can be done by hand, but a food processor with the regular “S” blade makes it much easier. Process 1 bunch at a time (approximately 1 cup chopped), then transfer the chopped parsley to a large serving basin before moving on to the next.
- To the parsley dish, add the cooled bulgur, chopped fresh mint (if using), and green onion. Remove and discard the cucumber and tomato juice from the bottom of the bowl (this will keep your tabbouleh from becoming overly watery). In a mixing dish, combine the squeezed cucumber and tomato.
- Whisk together the olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, garlic, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small measuring cup or basin. Pour it into the salad and toss it around to mix everything. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, such as adding another tablespoon of lemon juice for zing or salt for more flavor overall.
- Allow the salad to sit for 15 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld. Otherwise, you can serve it right away or keep it refrigerated for later. Tabbouleh can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days if covered.
- MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Bulgur (cracked wheat) is not gluten-free. Quinoa can be used in place of rice as a gluten-free alternative. You’ll need the same amount of uncooked quinoa (1/2 cup) or cooked leftover quinoa (1 1/2 cup). This is how you prepare quinoa.
- NOTE ON TOMATOES: Use the ripest, reddest tomatoes you can find! If tomatoes aren’t in season when you’re making this salad, cherry tomatoes might be your best bet.