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Tabbouleh Recipe (Levantine Meze Salad That’s Fresh, Herby, and Full of Zest)

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Feast on the fresh, herby, and zesty flavors of this iconic Levantine salad with our tabbouleh recipe, ideal for a refreshing, hearty dish that can feed a large number of people.

Tabbouleh Recipe

From its humble origins in the mountains of Lebanon and Syria, today tabbouleh is one of the Middle East’s most beloved salads, enjoyed all over the world. In fact, this herby, aromatic dish is such a source of national pride for Lebanese people, there’s even a National Tabbouleh Day to celebrate it! Let’s dive in and make this gorge-worthy salad together.

What is Tabbouleh?

Originating from Lebanese cuisine and Syrian cuisine, tabbouleh is a classic meze dish, traditionally consisting of chopped parsley, onion, and tomato with bulgar wheat, heavily seasoned with the likes of lemon juice, mint, and olive oil.

This beloved salad is hugely popular throughout the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean, and different variations can be found in cuisines throughout these regions.

Variations

Lebanese and Syrian tabbouleh, as our recipe is inspired by, commonly have a higher ratio of parsley to bulgar wheat. Whereas in other variations of the dish, such as Turkish kisir or Armenian eetch, the salad has much more bulgar wheat and less parsley.

You can find variations of tabbouleh that use semolina instead of bulgar, pomegranate seeds as a substitute for chopped tomatoes, and some that use lettuce or peppers.

Recipe Ingredients

To make our Lebanese-inspired tabbouleh salad, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Parsley – 2 bunches (200 grams or 2 cups, packed)
  • Mint – 5 sprigs (4 tbsp, cut-up)
  • Bulgur Wheat – 1/3 cup (70 grams), fine bulgur wheat
  • Freshly-Squeezed Lemon Juice – 1/3 cup
  • Tomato – 1 large tomato
  • Spring Onion – 1 large scallion/spring onion
  • Olive Oil – 1/3 cup
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Black Pepper – 1/2 tsp

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1 – Traditionally, tabbouleh is made with fine bulgur. If you have fine bulgur, put the fine bulgur wheat in a small bowl and add 1/2 cup of boiling water. After 30-45 seconds, drain the water and return the bulgur wheat to the bowl. Add half the lemon juice and set the bowl aside.

Note: If you only have medium or coarse bulgur, that needs to be boiled, and it won’t taste good if it’s simply soaked in hot water or lemon juice. If you only have medium or coarse bulgur, cook it first according to the package instructions. We’ve made the tabbouleh with fine and with medium bulgur, and it tastes great with either! Just prepare the bulgur accordingly.

Step 2 – Wash and dry the parsley and then pick the leaves. Cut up the parsley leaves finely with a good chef’s knife.

This is the most time-consuming part of the recipe but, in my opinion, it’s worth it!

Step 3 – Wash and dry the mint and chop up the mint leaves.

Step 4 – Finely dice the tomatoes, removing any liquid (either by draining it or scooping up the liquid parts of the tomato with a spoon.

Step 5 – Finely dice the spring onion.

Step 6 – Combine everything in a large bowl (parsley, mint, soaked bulgur wheat, tomato, spring onion, olive oil, remaining lemon juice, salt, and black pepper).

Step 7 – Cover it and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes, and give it a taste. If you think it needs any additional seasonings, add salt, black pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil to taste. If you added more seasonings, refrigerate for another 5 minutes.

Serving Suggestions

Garnish – Once your tabbouleh is ready, serve it on a large plate or in a bowl, ready for you and your dinner guests to enjoy. A few slices of lemon as a garnish is a nice little touch.

Tabbouleh is packed with plenty of herby, fresh, earthy, and zesty flavors, and bound with the bulgar wheat makes for a wholesome mouthful.

Mezze – While it can absolutely be eaten on its own, tabbouleh is traditionally a meze dish, so is often served with a range of other classic Middle Eastern and Levantine dishes.

Pita Bread – A classic combination of the region is with pita bread. If you don’t have pita, many other breads can be used for a non-traditional serving.

Baba Ganoush – A smoky side of baba ganoush makes for a great topping, or a mouthful with a slice of pita.

Hummus – You could also go with one of the region’s most famous dips, as part of a larger mezze platter.

Feel free to get creative, and serve this aromatic salad with breads, dips, and plenty of other delicious sides.

Tabbouleh Recipe Card

Tabbouleh

4.75 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Author: Nomad Paradise
Course: Salads
Cuisine: Mediterranean

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches of parsley 200 grams or 2 cups, packed
  • 5 sprigs of mint 4 tbsp, cut-up
  • 1/3 cup 70 grams fine bulgur wheat
  • 1/3 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 large scallion/spring onion
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • Traditionally, tabbouleh is made with fine bulgur. If you have fine bulgur, put the fine bulgur wheat in a small bowl and add 1/2 cup of boiling water. After 30-45 seconds, drain the water and return the bulgur wheat to the bowl. Add half the lemon juice and set the bowl aside.
  • Wash and dry the parsley and then pick the leaves. Cut up the parsley leaves finely with a good chef’s knife.
  • Wash and dry the mint and chop up the mint leaves.
  • Finely dice the tomatoes, removing any liquid (either by draining it or scooping up the liquid parts of the tomato with a spoon.
  • Finely dice the spring onion.
  • Combine everything in a large bowl (parsley, mint, soaked (or cooked) bulgur wheat, tomato, spring onion, olive oil, remaining lemon juice, salt, and black pepper).
  • Cover it and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes, and give it a taste. If you think it needs any additional seasonings, add salt, black pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil to taste. If you added more seasonings, refrigerate for another 5 minutes.
  • Once your tabbouleh is ready, serve it on a large plate or in a bowl, ready for you and your dinner guests to enjoy. A few slices of lemon as a garnish is a nice little touch.

Recipe Notes

If you only have medium or coarse bulgur, that needs to be boiled, and it won’t taste good if it’s simply soaked in hot water or lemon juice. If you only have medium or coarse bulgur, cook it first according to the package instructions. We’ve made the tabbouleh with fine and with medium bulgur, and it tastes great with either! Just prepare the bulgur accordingly.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nomadparadisefood or tag #nomadparadisefood!

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Author

  • Hey there! We are Dale and Doina, the founders of Nomad Paradise. We traveled full-time for over three years, and while we now have a home base in the U.K., continue to take trips abroad to visit new places and try new cuisines and foods. Our food guides are curated with the guidance of local foodies, and their contribution is indicated under each article. We also cook the foods we try abroad, and you can discover how to make them in our 'recipes from around the world' category.

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