Zingy and full of flavour, tabbouleh (also spelled tabouli) is a super fresh herb and bulgur salad. There are loads of variations for a traditional tabbouleh recipe — but one things for sure — parsley and lemon are the star ingredients. With this Mediterranean favourite, you can expect a refreshing and light salad, that’s packed with healthy ingredients.
From traditional to modern — tabbouleh recipes for every season
As an over zealous salad fan, I am also a keen tabbouleh lover. Which means not only do I enjoy an authentic tabbouleh, but I also love creative new takes on this Lebanese salad. The original is made with bulgur (parboiled cracked wheat), parsley — tons of it!! — mint, green onion and tomato. All of which add to the fresh factor. Then the salad is dressed in a simple combination of olive oil and lemon juice. It’s that simple. I of course like to add a little extra oomph to mine. Which means there is also a little dill (totally optional) and some allspice and cinnamon. Love this combo!
But if that’s not enough, I also have five more tabbouleh-inspired recipes. Pretty much something for every season!
Here this classic Middle Eastern salad has been upgraded with broccoli. And it’s delicious. Some aspects are the same (herbs, lemon and bulgur), but in this modern version, tomatoes are replaced by pomegranate seeds and toasted nuts and seeds are added for extra flavour and crunch.
Super nutritious Tuscan kale is tossed together with fresh parley and mint, sweet cherry tomatoes, green onion and quinoa (instead of the traditional bulgur wheat). Tossed in a dressing with cumin and sumac, this is a flavour-packed winter variation!
Not just the sweet and crunchy carrots, but the greens as well. This variation is made with roasted cumin-carrots, toasted almonds and loads of green goodness from carrot tops, parsley, and mint. All tossed together with bulgur and finished off with a little olive oil and lemon. Pomegranates give it a pop of color and refreshing flavor.
Some things remain the same: bulgur, fresh parsley, mint and lemon juice. Add sweet potato, red onion, Greek feta, toasted pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds and you have an explosion of flavour in a salad that can be enjoyed all year round.
This classic Middle Eastern salad has been upgraded with chickpeas, fresh dill, millet rather than bulgur, and an ooh so tasty cumin-paprika-cayenne dressing. A summer favourite!
How to serve tabbouleh
You’ll often find tabbouleh served as a side dish served with other Mediterranean/Middle Eastern specialties like hummus, baba ganoush, falafel, tzatziki, feta, olives and the likes… but it also makes a great side dish with other, more hearty salads or pretty much anything served off the grill.
Classic Tabbouleh Recipe
- 1/4 cup bulgur (50 g)
- 450 g ripe tomatoes, either cherry tomatoes or 3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, more to taste (80 ml) (about 1 1/2 large lemons)
- sea salt, to taste
- 3 small bunches of flat-leaf parsley, thick stems trimmed, finely chopped
- 1 small bunch mint leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped (optional)
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp. ground allspice (piment)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (ceylon)
- 5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place the bulgur with double the amount of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until tender. Transfer to a large salad bowl to cool. (Alternatively, place bulgur in a small bowl and cover with boiling water by 2,5 cm. Let sit until bulgur is soft and tender, 20-30 minutes.)
Transfer the chopped tomatoes to the bowl with the cooled bulgur. Add lemon juice, season with salt and toss to combine.
Add parsley, mint, dill (if using), green onions, allspice and cinnamon to bowl with bulgur mixture; toss to coat. Drizzle with the olive oil; season with more salt and some freshly ground pepper. Toss again to incorporate and serve. Enjoy!
- Authentic tabbouleh/tabbouli uses loads of parsley. I like to use Italian flat-leaf parsley but curly parsley is also great as it gives the salad a little more volume and lightness.
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