Tabouli, tabbouleh, tabboule are all the same words describing the most popular Lebanese parsley salad. This tabouli recipe is made the traditional way with bulgar wheat, Italian parsley, fresh mint, tomatoes, onions, lemons, and lots of olive oil. This quinoa tabbouleh recipe is equally delicious if you are looking for a gluten-free version.
The best tabouli I've ever had has been from my Aunt Sonia and my father. Tabouli salad is an art, and it's very easy to get the ratios off. I hope this recipe post details out all the tips and tricks for the best tabouli recipe.
What I Love About This Recipe
Tabouli is one of my favorites salads to have with kabobs and grill meats, like lamb kabobs, shish tawook, and grilled ribeyes. It's lemony, juicy, and textured. Parsley is an herb packed full of antioxidants and vitamins, so I also appreciate the health benefits of this parsley salad. This might sound odd, but I love that this recipe tastes different in every home I've eaten it. Every family has its own spin on this salad, so without further adieu, here is my family's version.
- Italian parsley: Fresh flat leafed parsley (Italian parsley) is the most critical ingredient in tabouli. Italian parsley looks a lot like cilantro, so be careful when choosing which one to buy at the grocery store. If you can't find Italian parsley, curly leaf parsley will also work in taste, but the texture will be different.
- Green onions: My father prefers to make his tabouli with green onions or white onions.
- Ripe tomatoes: Roma tomatoes or tomatoes on the vine are great to use for tabouli.
- Fine Bulgar Wheat #1: There are different sizes of bulgar wheat. It's important to get the fine bulgar wheat #1 size grain. The fine bulgar wheat softens quickly when you add water to it.
- Fresh mint (optional): Fresh mint is optional but really adds a lot to the salad.
See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for quantities.
How To Make Tabouli Salad
Add the dried fine bulgar wheat to a bowl. Measure out the water onto the bulgar wheat. Mix with your hands and set aside as the bulgar wheat softens.
Hint: Don't wash the Italian parsley until it's chopped.
Cut the bottom portion of the Parsley bunch to remove most of the stems. Finely chop the parsley, almost like shredded a head of cabbage.
Add the chopped parsley to a strainer that fits inside a large bowl. Once the parsley is all chopped, fill the bowl and strainer with water. Drain. Repeat until the water runs clear. Keep the parsley in the strainer until the water has drained completely.
Wash the fresh mint leaves (if using). Remove the leaves from the stem. Finely chop the mint leaves. Add to the chopped parsley leaves.
Wash the green onion prior to chopping. Finely chop the green onions. Add the green onions to the washed and drained parsley.
Finely dice the tomatoes. Cut the tomato in half. Place the flat side down on the cutting board. Moving parallel to the cutting board, slice 2 to 3 layers about ¼" thick. Then, slice the tomato in ¼" strips longways. Finally, rotate the tomato and chop it into ¼" cubes. The tomato should be cut in 3 directions for the smallest diced size. Add the tomatoes to the chopped parsley and chopped green onions.
Add the soaked bulgar wheat to the chopped parsley, chopped green onions, and chopped tomatoes. Squeeze the lemons separating the seeds from the lemon juice.
Hint: Lemons come in different sizes and juiciness. If you want a more accurate measurement, measure the lemon juice prior to adding it to the salad.
Add the lemon juice and olive oil to the tabouli. Mix the tabouli really well.
Tips and Tricks
The biggest tip for making killer tabouli is the ratios, especially the dressing ratio of the lemons, olive oil, and salt. The recipe card at the bottom of the post includes measured quantities to give you a starting point on the ratios.
Important: Throughout the process of adding the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt, continuously taste the salad and adjust.
Variations and Substitutions
- Substitute curly leaf for flat leaf (Italian) parsley.
- Use quinoa in lieu of bulgar wheat - If you are looking for a gluten-free alternative, try this quinoa tabbouleh recipe.
- Use white onions in lieu of green onions.
- Soak the bulgar wheat using the juice of the tomatoes or the lemon juice. Add the freshly chopped tomatoes on top of the dry bulgar wheat instead of adding water. Alternatively, add some of the lemon juice in lieu of the water.
- Sharp chef's knife to finely cut the parsley, onions, and tomatoes.
- Large cutting board
- Fine mesh strainer and large bowl to wash the finely chopped parsley
- Large bowl to serve the tabouli
Store the tabouli in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. The tabouli will change colors and sweat while being stored in the fridge. There will be a lot of juice in the container. This is normal.
Eat tabouli with pita bread, cabbage leaves, or simply eaten as is. Serve with kabobs, grilled meats, or kibbeh.
Nothing! It's just a different English spelling for an Arabic word. Tabouli, or tabbouleh, is a chopped parsley salad with tomatoes, onions, bulgar wheat, lemon juice, and olive oil.
Yes! It's made with all-natural ingredients like fresh parsley, tomatoes, onions, lemons, olive oil, and bulgar wheat. The quantity of olive oil and bulgar wheat can be modified to suit specific dietary needs. Additionally, there are gluten-free options for tabouli by using quinoa in lieu of bulgar wheat.
Authentic Lebanese Recipes
- Fried Kibbeh Balls
- Zaatar Manakeesh Flatbread
- Kibbeh Nayeh Recipe (Lebanese Raw Kibbeh)
- Cilantro Garlic Fried Potatoes (Batata Harra)
- Authentic Lebanese Red Lentil Soup
- Shish Barak Lebanese Dumplings
- Easy Lebanese Fried Falafel
- Eggplant Fatteh
- Stuffed Grape Leaves (Warak Enab)
- Kafta Bil Sanieh - Baked Kafta and Potatoes
- Shish Tawook Lebanese Chicken Kabobs