Tabouli salad or Tabbouleh is a straightforward Mediterranean salad consisting of finely chopped vegetables, an abundance of fresh parsley, and bulgur wheat, all of which are combined with lime juice and olive oil. Watch the video and read the instructions below to learn how to make tabouli.
Tabouli is arguably the most well-known Mediterranean/Middle Eastern salad. Because bulgur is now available in the majority of large supermarkets around the globe, I feel compelled to dispel a common misconception: bulgur is not the “star of the show,” so to speak, in a tabouli recipe. The concept is to have a small amount of bulgur with your salad, not a small amount of salad with your bulgur.
What ingredients make up Tabouli salad?
The true hero of a tabouli recipe is the very finely chopped parsley, which should be used liberally. Because parsley stands up well against the citrus in the dressing, tabouli tastes even better the following day. Some tabouli recipes, such as this one, call for a handful of fresh mint leaves and green onions, whereas others call for only parsley and red onions. This is the recipe that most closely resembles the one I grew up with, but feel free to make it your own.
Important guidelines for preparing this tabouli salad:
1- In this recipe for tabouli, I recommend using extra-fine bulgur. Extra-fine bulgur can be added to the salad without soaking in boiling water or for a lengthy period of time. If you use coarse or extra-coarse bulgur, it is recommended to soak it in boiling water for approximately 45 minutes.
2- To obtain the proper tabouli texture, the vegetables must be chopped as finely as possible. Can a food processor be used to mince tabouli’s ingredients? You may use one to cut the parsley, but I would recommend using a sharp knife to chop the tomatoes, green onions, etc.
3- Be sure to use tomatoes that are firm. After chopping the tomatoes, position them in a colander to drain excess liquid.
4- Cucumbers are not traditionally called for in tabouli. This is my own variation, and I enjoy the added crunchiness. I use English Cucumbers, also known as hothouse cucumbers, which are typically seedless, long, and have thin skin. If you decide to use the more prevalent American cucumbers, remove the skin, cut the cucumber in half, and remove the majority of the seeds before chopping.
5- No dressing other than a dash of fresh lemon or lime juice and extra virgin olive oil, such as our Early Harvest olive oil. It is an exceptional Greek extra virgin olive oil from the Christianoupolis, Greece estate of the Kotsovolas family. Hand-harvested, cold-pressed, derived from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olive oil, and with a 0.35 percent acidity level. Here you can learn more about our Early Harvest olive oil.
6-For optimal results, refrigerate the tabouli for 30 minutes with the lid on. Transfer to a platter for serving. Serve the tabouli with pita and romaine lettuce leaves, which serve as coverings or “boats” for the tabouli, if desired.
Serving Suggestions for Tabouli
Tabouli is an excellent and vibrant accompaniment to grilled kabobs and shawarmas, for instance. However, it can also be served as part of a mezze alongside dishes such as creamy hummus, falafel, Turkish fried aubergine, and spicy Middle Eastern potatoes.
- ½ cup fine bulgur wheat
- 4 firm Roma tomatoes, very finely chopped
- 1 English cucumber (hothouse cucumber), very finely chopped
- 2 bunches parsley, part of the stems removed, washed and well-dried, very finely chopped
- 12-15 fresh mint leaves, stems removed, washed, well-dried, very finely chopped
- 4 green onions, white and green parts, very finely chopped
- 3-4 tablespoon lime juice (lemon juice, if you prefer)
- 3-4 tablespoon Early Harvest extra virgin olive oil
- Romaine lettuce leaves to serve, optional
Wash the bulgur grains and soak it for 5 to 7 minutes in water. Drain very well (hand-squeeze the bulgur grains to remove excess moisture). Put away.
Chop the vegetables, herbs, and green scallions very finely as indicated above. Place the tomatoes in a colander to strain any excess liquid.
Place the chopped vegetables, herbs, and scallions in a basin or dish for mixing. Then, season the bulgur with salt. Blend gradually.
Mix again after adding the citrus juice and olive oil.
For optimal results, cover and refrigerate the tabouli for 30 minutes. Transfer to a platter for serving. Serve the tabouli with pita and romaine lettuce leaves, which serve as coverings or “boats” for the tabouli, if desired.
Additional appetisers to accompany tabouli salad include hummus, baba ghanoush, and roasted red pepper hummus.