There are a BILLION tabouleh recipes out there, but trust me when I say, this is the tabouleh recipe you’ve been looking for. Let me tell you why:
It’s my Grandma’s recipe, who taught my Mom, who taught me, and now I’m sharing it with you. Because there’s nothing in this world most tasty than my Grandma’s tabouleh.
Most tabouleh recipes don’t have the right ratios — too oily, too much bulgur, the wrong ingredients — or they don’t share tricks to making absolutely perfect tabouleh.
If you want to try a traditional tabouleh recipe, then here it is!
So let’s get chopping!
What is Tabouleh Salad?
Tabouleh salad is a Middle Eastern salad made with bulgur wheat, parsley, onions, tomatoes, olive oil and lemon juice.
It has traditionally be enjoyed as a side salad, dipped in labneh (a Middle Eastern yogurt that has been strained, even more than Greek Yogurt), or scooped up with pita bread.
Now if you’re wondering the true spelling of this dish (tabbouleh, tabouleh, tabouli), that’s more a matter of how your Grandmother spells it… they’re all the same thing!
Tabbouleh is made of a few, very simple ingredients. The one ingredient I’ll point out, as you may not be familiar, is bulgur wheat.
Bulgur is 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. That said, if you’re gluten intolerant, bulgur is not for you.
But don’t let that stop you from enjoying tabouleh, there are two simple swaps you can make:
Quinoa Tabouli (Recipe Variation 1)
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 Tabbouleh (Recipe Variation 2)
My personal favorite is cauliflower tabbouleh! After being diagnosed with diabetes, I’ve had to switch to eating low carb recipes only — and although I think this tabouleh recipe is worth the splurge, I think cauliflower tabbouleh is just as delicious.
To make it, I process cauliflower rice in the food processor until its an even finer grain — the size of bulgur wheat. Instead of cooking the cauliflower, soak it in olive oil and lemon juice while prepping the rest of the salad.
Tabouli Recipe Tips
There are a few important tips I urge you to follow, so you can enjoy the best tabouli recipe you’ve ever had…
Rinsing the Parsley
The parsley should be rinsed with extra care as it’s a victim to hidden dirt — and with the amount of effort you’ll be putting into this recipe, you don’t deserve a crunchy tabouleh salad!
If you can, 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. Soggy tabouleh is no good.
Chopping The Parsley
Chopping parsley can be time consuming. Cut that in half by grabbing a bunch of parsley by the stems and sliding your blade over the top of the leaves. This will help separate the leaves and stems. Then pick through and toss the thicker stems.
I don’t mind the smaller stems in my tabouleh — if you do then pick them all out.
Using a Food Processor
Using a food processor saves SO much time! And makes your leaves more evenly chopped. You’ll want to “pulse” the parsley in the food processor until it’s as small as you’d like — you don’t want to over process the parsley!
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.
Soaking the Bulgur
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!
Storing Tabouli Salad
Tabouli salad should be stored in the fridge. I find it tastes even better the next day, as the parsley and grains are able to soak up more juice!
So excited you guys will be trying my Grandmother’s tabbouleh recipe, and I can’t wait to hear what you think!
Have you made tabouleh before? How was it different?
- 3 Bunches Parsley as fresh as you can find!
- 3 Vine Tomatoes deseeded, minced
- 1/4 Pound Cracked Bulgur dry (can substitute for 1 1/2 cup cooked/cooled Quinoa, or 1 1/2 cup minced cauliflower)
- 1/2 Sweet Onion minced
- 2 Cloves Garlic minced
- 2/3 Cup Lemon Juice
- 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of both salt and pepper. If you’re using bulgur, place the bulgur in the lemon juice/olive oil and let it sit for 30 minutes – 1 hour, depending on how soft you want the bulgur to be. If you’re using quinoa, place the cooked quinoa in the bowl and set it aside, allowing it to cool while we prep the other ingredients.
- Thoroughly rinse parsley. Parsley has a tendency to be very dirty so be careful here! If you have the time, rinse the parsley the night before, wrap it in towels and put it in the fridge. This will keep the parsley nice and crisp for the salad. If you want tabouleh right now, blot the parsley dry with a towel. Get it as dry as possible.
- Pick the leaves from the stems of the parsley. Place leaves into the food processor. Pulse the parsley until it is finely chopped, but make sure not to pulse too much.
- Finely chop the onion, garlic and tomato.
- Add the onion, tomato and parsley to the bulgur or quinoa. Stir to combine, and salt pepper to taste! Make sure to put a decent amount of salt in the salad, it will bring out the flavor!
- Serve your tabouleh with warm pita bread and Greek yoga, enjoy!