Tabouli, or tabbouleh, is a Lebanese superfood parsley salad. Tabouli and labneh were basically what I grew up on. After decades of my family making this salad, it's perfect. We always had our Lebanese tabouli salad the traditional way- with bulgar wheat. However, both of my brothers have a gluten intolerance, so we had to find another way to make it. I give you the BEST Lebanese tabouli with quinoa.
Honestly, I can't tell a difference using quinoa in lieu of bulgar wheat. If you would like to make your tabouli salad recipe gluten-free, you should try this recipe.
Also, it just so happened that my new camera lens arrived the day after I made this recipe. So, I took some more shots of the tabouli with quinoa salad recipe with my handy dandy new camera lens. You also might notice that the parsley leaves are slightly darker the next day. That is perfectly normal and what to expect if you eat tabouli the following day.
- Quinoa: The quinoa needs to be cooked ahead of time and cooled off a bit, so I start with making the quinoa. I use white quinoa because it's the closest color to bulgar wheat.
- Italian parsley: There are two types of parsley you find in the grocery store normally. The one you want to use is Italian parsley. It resembles cilantro (coriander) in looks, but it is definitely NOT like cilantro in taste. Be careful not to buy cilantro because you will end up with pico de gallo instead of tabouli.
- Fresh mint: This is a really important ingredient in this recipe. Actually, it's the secret ingredient, and only a privileged few know about this secret ingredient.
- Onion: You can go a few different ways here. I normally make my tabbouleh with half spring onion and half white onion. However, you can choose to use only spring onion or only white onion. Either way, the quantity will be the same.
- Tomatoes: I use tomatoes on the vine for my tabouli recipe. Tomato quality does make a difference, and you want to splurge a little on some good red and juicy tomatoes.
- Lemons: You will need fresh lemons for this recipe. Bottled lemon juice just doesn't taste the same.
- Olive Oil: I use high-quality extra virgin olive oil, which in my book means that the olive oil is not blended with any other oils. I want that EVOO to be 100%.
- Salt and Pepper: You can use pink Himalayan sea salt, sea salt, flaked sea salt, or regular table salt. I never specify salt in my recipes unless it's raw food because everyone is so different when it comes to salt.
You will also need:
- A very sharp chefs knife
- Cutting board
- Large salad bowl
- Pot with a lid (to cook quinoa)
- Mesh strainer (to strain quinoa)
How to Make Tabouli
- Prepare quinoa. Cook quinoa and set aside.
- Chop the parsley. Fill a very large bowl or your sink with water. Add parsley to the water to wash. Keep the parsley in the water until you use it. Remove parsley leaves from the parsley stem and set aside. Discard the parsley stems. Finely chop the parsley leaves as fine as possible. Add to the salad bowl.
- Chop the mint. Remove mint leaves. Chop mint finely just like the parsley.
- Chop the tomatoes. Slice the tomatoes in thin circles. Then slice the tomatoes like you would make a "tic tac toe board. You want the tomatoes as fine as the chopped parsley.
- Chop the onions. If you are using spring onion, slice the spring onion in thin pieces. If you are using white onion, slice the onion just like you slice the tomatoes.
- Squeeze the lemons. Using a lemon juicer, squeeze the lemons.
- Assemble the salad bowl. Add all of the ingredients together. Add salt to taste. Mix well.
For specific quantities, refer to the recipe card at the end of this post.
Tips and Variations
- Wash and chop the parsley finely. You can remove the leaves from the parsley stem one by one (the long way) OR cut the leaves away from the stem (as in the video). You can chop a small amount of the parsley stem with the parsley leaves without affecting the flavor too much.
- Use quinoa or bulgar-wheat. If you would like to change out the quinoa for bulgar-wheat, I have included those instructions in the recipe card. The authentic way to make tabouli is by using bulgar-wheat.
Is Tabouli Healthy?
Yes! My mother used to tell me that one bowl of tabouli is a week's worth of vitamins. That's probably not true, but that's what she used to say. Parsley is a superfood that is more than just a garnish.
Is Tabouli Gluten-Free?
This tabouli recipe is gluten-free if you use quinoa instead of bulgar wheat. If you make the salad with bulgar wheat then it will NOT be gluten-free.
How to Store Tabouli
Store your tabouli salad in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. I don't recommend freezing or warming it up. You can eat tabouli cold directly out of the fridge, or allow it to get to room temperature before eating.
In my honest and humble opinion, tabouli tastes better the next day. The salad sweats a little bit overnight, so don't be surprised by the level of salad juice the next day. The salad juice actually has a name, zoom, and it's not your conference calling software. My family loves the salad juice and slurps it up after eating the salad.
Try These Other Mediterranean Recipes
- Crispy Roasted Chicken Thighs
- Bone-In Ribeye Roast
- Roasted Lamb Shanks
- Better Than Baba Ganoush
- Pita Chips
- Shish Barak