Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh is a salad with Middle Eastern roots made from bulgar wheat, fresh cucumber and tomato, and lots of parsley! It’s simply dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. I like to add a little cumin to mine too. This dish is so simple, but so flavorful! It’s served chilled so it’s just bright and fresh. This makes a great side dish or appetizer and it pairs really nicely with a side of chicken or fish. Since it won’t wilt in the fridge and gets better with time, it’s one of my favorite things to make ahead for lunch, too.

tabbouleh in serving dish

Ingredient Notes

  • Bulgur Wheat – If you’re not familiar with this whole grain, you can usually find it in the health food section of the store, or with the international foods. I like to use Bob’s Red Mill brand and it is widely available. It’s a little crunchier than rice, and great for grain bowls.
  • Tomatoes – You can use any type of tomato you like here, but since it’s one of very few ingredients, just pick good, ripe ones! I like a nice plum or on-the-vine variety, but in the summer I’ll use whatever is growing in my garden.
  • Cucumber – I suggest an English or Persian cucumber, as they have less seeds to worry about and tender skin. But a standard cucumber works just fine, too.
  • Green Onions – I wouldn’t substitute any other type of onion here.
  • Parsley – You can use either curly leaf or flat leaf parsley in this recipe.
  • Mint – You can generally find mint in the herb section of the produce department. If you aren’t a fan of fresh mint, it’s optional in this recipe. I actually usually skip it since it’s not something I have on hand very often.
  • Cumin – A little ground cumin adds a subtle flavor addition that I really like here.
bular wheat

Tip: Bulgar wheat doesn’t actually need to be cooked, per say, it’s just hydrated with boiling water and after it sits to absorb, it becomes fluffy.

How to Make Tabbuleh

  1. You’ll start by covering your bulgur wheat with boiling water in a medium mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the wheat sit for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, strain the bulgur wheat, pressing it with a spoon to squeeze out any extra moisture.
  2. Place the wheat in a mixing bowl. To that, you’ll add some diced tomatoes and cucumber, sliced green onions, chopped parsley, and mint (if desired). Olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cumin are then added right to the bowl to create a light dressing. Toss it all together and refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors really come together.

TIP: I did not chop my parsley super fine in this batch, but you do want to chop it as fine as you can with a nice sharp knife. If you want your Tabbouleh to be as green as you find it in Middle Eastern restaurants, you may even want to put it in a small food processor. This results in a super fine texture and also a greener hue to the salad!

tabbouleh in serving dish

This dish is SO flavorful and fresh. It’s great as a side dish, or a main dish topped with your favorite protein. Since it doesn’t wilt after sitting, it’s a wonderful option for meal prep or pot lucks, too.

FAQs

Can I make this ahead of time? Yes! In fact, it’s better once it’s had time to sit and chill for a while. Feel free to make it several hours in advance. Leftovers are great the next day, too.

Did You Make This?

I’d love to hear from you! Snap a picture on tag me on Instagram, then come back and give this recipe a rating!

tabbouleh in serving dish

Tabbouleh

5 from 2 votes
This chilled Middle Eastern salad is bright and fresh.  Serve it as a side, or a main dish topped with a protein of choice. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup bulgur wheat2 cups boiling water1 cup seeded diced tomatoes1 cup diced cucumber1/4 cup sliced green onions1 cup chipped fresh parsley2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, optional1/4 cup plive oil1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice1 teaspoon kosher salt1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
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Instructions

  • Place bulgur wheat in a medium-sized bowl and pour boiling water over it to cover. Lightly stir and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside for about 45 minutes without removing plastic. After 45 minutes, place bulgur in a fine-mesh strainer and press on it with a wooden spoon to remove any excess moisture.
  • Place bulgur wheat, tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, parsley (and mint, if using) in a mixing bowl and toss lightly. Add oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cumin. Gently toss until everything is well distributed. Cover the bowl and refrigerate a minimum of 1 hour before serving and preferably for 2-4 hours. Toss before serving.
Author: Our Best Bites
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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. This is DELICIOUS!!! I used a bit more cucumber because I used the whole one. Highly recommend

  2. 5 stars
    This is a fantastic recipe. Just a note so you can be aware – steaming cracked wheat (like you steam rice) is way less expensive than bulger, and it’s basically the same thing. Bulger is cracked wheat that’s been steamed then dried. Not to sound like a cheapskate know it all, just offering a tip to those who need to watch their food budget. If you have a flour mill, you can cracked your own wheat, just use the coarsest (most coarse?) setting.