A delicious, easy and healthy recipe for an authentic Lebanese Tabbouleh salad. Serve it alone as a light meal or as a side dish with grilled meats.Jump to Recipe Print Recipe
Tabbouleh, also commonly spelled Tabouli, is a classic Lebanese vegetarian dish. It’s commonly served as a salad or as part of mezze (small dishes served as appetizers). Its main ingredients are fresh parsley, fine bulgur, fresh tomatoes, scallions and mint. Differences in spices used are found depending on which region in Lebanon you are from. For instance, my family doesn’t add cinnamon, or a seven spice blend. We use salt, pepper and occasionally a pinch of cayenne. Tabbouleh is dressed with a simple vinaigrette made with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Though it is commonly available in most grocery stores and delis, making it at home is easy and worth every minute of labour.
A Healthy and Easy Recipe
Tabbouleh is a healthy salad, made with nutritional ingredients and low in calories. Making it at home is easy, just choose the freshest ingredients and follow the steps below to be rewarded with a much fresher and better tasting Tabbouleh than you can ever buy at a store.
How to Make Authentic Tabbouleh
- You’ll need fresh bundles of parsley, you can purchase either flat-leaf (also known as Italian) or curly parsley. You can choose the variety you prefer, both are commonly used, though some will swear that flat-leaf parsley tastes better while others contend that curly parsley will give you a lighter and fluffier salad.
- You’ll also need some fresh mint, scallions, a ripe but firm tomato, a couple of lemons, some extra-virgin olive oil and fine bulgur wheat (cracked wheat), the dark variety if possible. If you can’t find fine bulgur in your grocery store, you can find it in Middle-Eastern or health food stores.
- Once you have your ingredients, you’ll need to pick out wilted or yellowed leaves from the parsley and remove as much of the stems as possible.
- Wash the parsley 3 times. To wash it, fill a basin with water, dunk the parsley in it, swishing it in the water to release the grit and then lift the parsley out. Dump the water out and fill the basin with fresh water again. Add the parsley to the water, swish it again and lift the parsley out. Repeat this step a third time. Doing this three times ensures grit free parsley.
- Next, dry the parsley. You can let it air dry or if you’re in a rush, use a salad spinner. If you want, you can pick and clean the parsley a day ahead of making and serving the tabbouleh. Store the dried parsley in a clean plastic bag or a tupperware in the refrigerator.
- Chopping the parsley: You may be tempted to use the food processor for this task, but many will warn against this as it will make the parsley too mushy. So instead, sharpen your knife and chop the parsley by hand. You’ll need to chop it finely, as you shouldn’t see full leaves of parsley in your Tabbouleh salad.
- Measure out the fine bulgur, rinse it under cold water, drain it and reserve.
- Next, finely chop some fresh mint leaves and thinly slice the scallions. Once chopped, you can add these to the parsley.
- Then chop your tomato into a small dice and add it to the remainder of the ingredients.
- The last step is to make the lemon and olive oil dressing and add the seasonings. Precise amounts are indicated in the recipe below.
Tabbouleh is traditionally served with crisp romaine leaves and is a great accompaniment to grilled meats. This recipe will serve 4 to 5 as a starter or 2 to 3 as a main course. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Enjoy!
If you make this recipe be sure to take a picture and share it with me on Instagram by tagging #sweetandsavourypursuits, I love to see your photos!
- 3 cups finely chopped parsley (wash parsley thoroughly several times dry it well and remove stalks before chopping)
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped mint leaves washed and stems removed
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup fine bulgur rinsed and drained
- 1 cup diced tomatoes (approx. 1 medium tomato small dice)
- 1 scallion trimmed and thinly sliced, green onion
- 4 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice or to taste
- 6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt more to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Pinch of cayenne cinnamon or seven spice blend, all optional.
- Combine parsley, mint, scallions, tomatoes and bulgur in a medium bowl.
- Add olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, (and other spices if using) mix well, taste and adjust seasoning to your taste.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate if serving later.
- I have found that bunches of parsley can vary considerably in size. Therefore, it is hard to give a precise number of bunches you will need. But for 3 cups of finely chopped parsley, you will need approximately 2 to 3 big bunches.
- Parsley can be picked and washed the day before, just dry the parsley before bundling it in a dry towel and then in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
- Fine bulgur wheat does not need to be soaked, just rinsed and drained.