There are a lot of tabouleh recipes to choose from, but this is the BEST tabouleh recipe out there!
It’s one of my great Grandmother’s salad recipes. She taught it to my Grandma, who taught it to my Mom, who taught it to me.
Most salad recipes for tabouleh don’t have the right ratios — they’re either too oily or they call for too much bulgur. But this healthy recipes mixed to perfection. And trust me, there’s nothing tastier than my Grandma’s tabouleh!
Tabouleh is one of those healthy side dishes that pairs perfectly with any dish! From lamb to seafood to steak to chicken.
This tabouleh recipe has an extra special twist that most recipes can’t pull off: it’s both healthy and a comfort food! Plus it’s got:
- A fresh, invigorating crunch! (because of a few secret tips I’ll share below…)
- Simple but flavorful ingredients
- Time-honored tradition
- Grandma’s love touch!
Tabouleh salad is a Middle Eastern dish made with bulgur wheat, parsley, onions, tomatoes, olive oil, and lemon juice. Read on for my Grandma-approved tips and tricks.
Tabbouleh is made of a few simple ingredients, some you probably know — but one you may not!
Bulgur Wheat: Bulgur is a wheat grain not often used in Western cooking. Unlike many grains we use, it hasn’t been stripped or refined of its bran and germ — which is great, as this is where the nutrients in wheat are stored!
Soaking the bulgur in lemon juice and olive oil allows the bulgur to soak up as much flavor as possible while softening the grain. I do this with cauliflower tabouleh as well!
Although bulgur is the traditional grain used in tabouleh, here are a few possible swaps from a low carb or gluten free salad:
- Quinoa: Want to nix the gluten altogether, or cut the carbs even more? Tabouli can just as easily be made with quinoa! Simply cook the quinoa and allow it to cool before adding it to the parsley — hot quinoa will wilt the parsley.
- Cauliflower: My personal favorite is cauliflower tabbouleh! Believe it or not, it’s just as delicious!
Parsley: The parsley should be rinsed with extra care as it’s a victim to hidden dirt — trust me, you don’t want a gritty tabouleh salad!
PRO TIP 1: rinse the parsley the night before, dry it, wrap in it paper towels, and place it in the fridge. You wont BELIEVE the difference this makes in the crispness of the parsley.
PRO TIP 2: Hold the stems of your parsley and slide your knife over the leaves. This will help separate the leaves and stems. Then pick through and toss the thicker stems.
Onions: We’ll be using raw onions in this recipe. I mince mine so each scoop gets some flavor. If the onion flavor is too strong for you, simply soak the chopped onion in water for an hour before using them in the salad.
Tools To Make
Similar to the simplicity of the ingredients, the to0ls to make this tabouleh recipe are simple!
- Knife OR a food processor
PRO TIP: One alternative to the knife is to use a food processor.
This also makes your leaves more evenly chopped. You’ll want to “pulse” the parsley until it’s as small as you’d like, but be careful not to over-process — you don’t want parsley paste!
TBH (sorry Grandma!) we can’t taste the difference between hand-cut and food processor tabouleh, and it saves LOADS of time!
As you might be able to guess, tabouleh salad should be stored in the fridge and kept chilled at all times.
One way I love storing this tabouleh recipe is to pop servings into jars a la mason jar salad. That way, I have grab and go lunches just waiting for me!
Tabouleh salad tastes even better the next day after it has been stored in the fridge overnight, as the parsley and grains are able to soak up more juice!
Can You Freeze This?
Unfortunately, no! This tabouleh recipe does not freeze well. The low temps of the freezer would cause all of your parsley to wilt, and you’d lose so much of that yummy crunch.
There’s no wrong way, of course! Here are a few of our fave ways:
- With labneh (if you haven’t tried this, it’s a MUST!) or greek yogurt. Check out my low carb greek yogurt picks — even if you aren’t low carb, these are the type of greek yogurt you’ll want for tabouleh, as they have no sugar added.
- With pita bread. Or, if you’re looking for a lot carb alt, check out my low carb flatbread!
- Make a mezze platter and serve it with pita, labneh and HUMMUS!
- As a side dish to kibbeh, meat pies, or any other traditional Lebanese dish.
- With grilled or baked meats, YUM! We love this with grilled lamb, shrimp, steak and chicken.
We already talked about some of the swaps above, but here are a few others you may consider:
- Swap the bulgur for cooked quinoa or cauliflower (low carb!)
- Mix in some drained chickpeas for a bit of added protein.
- Add mint! A lot of people love mint in their tabouleh salad.
- Avocado is a DELICIOUS mix in.
- Switch up the ratios to your taste — looking for a lower fat salad? Add less oil. More grains? Add more bulgur. I suggest making per the recipe below them switching things up once you’ve had a taste.
TaboulehPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 3 Bunches Parsley super fresh!
- 2/3 Cup Lemon Juice
- 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Pepper
- 1/2 Cup Cracked Bulgur dry (can substitute for 1 1/2 cup cooked/cooled Quinoa, or 1 1/2 cup minced cauliflower)
- 2 Cloves Garlic minced
- 1/2 Sweet Onion minced
- 3 Vine Tomatoes deseeded, minced
- If you have time, thoroughly rinse the parsley the night before. Wrap it in paper towels and place it in the fridge. This will make the tabouleh EXTRA crisp! If you don't have time to rinse the night before, be sure to get the parsley as dry as possible.
- In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Add bulgur to the lemon juice/olive oil and let it sit for 30 minutes – 1 hour, depending on how soft you want the bulgur to be. (I usually do this for 30 minutes while I'm chopping everything else)
- Pick the leaves from the stems of the parsley. I do this by grabbing the bunch of parsley and sliding a sharp knife over the top, then picking out any large stems.
- Place leaves into the food processor. Pulse the parsley until it is finely chopped using 1 second intervals. Make sure not to pulse too much! Alternatively you can use a knife to chop the parsley.
- Add the onion, tomato, garlic and parsley to the bulgur and stir to combine.
- Add more salt/pepper to taste. Tabouleh is best served after resting in the fridge overnight. Enjoy!
Want more healthy side dishes to spruce up your main meals? Here are some of my favorites!
- Smashed Brussel Sprouts – Not like your mama’s brussel sprouts!
- Low Carb Coleslaw – Fresh, creamy, crunchy
- Cauliflower Fried Rice – The Asian classic with a low carb twist
- Broccoli Rice – Yep, broccoli can be rice too!
- Mashed Cauliflower – Move over mashed potatoes — there’s a new side in town!
Now that you have my Grandma’s tried and true tabouleh recipe at your disposal, what do you think? Are you planning a whole Middle Eastern spread to go with it or are you making it as a main meal all on its own?
Let me know in the comments! Enjoy!