Made with cucumber, tomato, onion, and lots of fresh curly parsley and mint, this authentic tabbouleh recipe is an amazingly refreshing no-cook side salad for easy potlucks, picnics, and easy dinners.
Salads sans lettuce are a gift to salad lovers. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good leafy green, but because I eat so many salads on the regular, switching things up and going lettuce-less keeps my salad game strong. This tabbouleh salad is a personal fave, with so much freshness I could eat it just about every day.
Tabbouleh is a classic Lebanese salad made with bulgur (a grain), fresh tomatoes, onion, parsley, mint, and a lemony dressing and typically eaten as a mezze (appetizer) usually alongside creamy hummus or baba ganoush, and falafel. Like my quinoa and kale protein power salad and my healthy quinoa salad, protein-fueled tabbouleh is substantial enough to eat as a meal, yet versatile enough to have as a side. Salads like these are fresh and healthy, and the added carbs and protein give them more heft and heartiness, making them super satisfying. A dream of a salad, right here.
What’s In Tabbouleh
This grain salad is easy to make, with minimal ingredients and there’s no cooking involved. Here’s what you’ll need to make classic tabbouleh:
- Bulgur wheat—choose fine bulgur to make this no-cook
- Lemon juice
- A little water
- Roma tomatoes
- English cucumber
- Green onion
- Fresh curly parsley
- Fresh mint
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
What Type of Bulgur Is Best In Tabbouleh
Bulgur is one of the 10 ancient grains you should be cooking with now. Also referred to as “cracked wheat”, bulgur is high in fiber, iron, phosphorous, magnesium and B vitamins, and a decent amount of protein, not to mention, it’s also low on the glycemic index.
The best bulgur for tabbouleh is fine-grain bulgur because it quickly absorbs liquid, so it doesn’t require cooking. I found it at my local Mediterranean grocery store, or you can find fine-ground bulgur wheat online here (also known as cracked wheat). Use medium-grain for a more substantial bite, or regular bulgur that will require cooking before adding to this salad.
How to Make Tabbouleh
Mix water and lemon juice with fine bulgur to soften it without cooking. When soaked in a few tablespoons of water mixed with lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt, fine bulgur wheat doesn’t need cooking. Let the bulgur sit and plump in the salted liquid for 20-30 minutes, where the flavors infuse as it rests. Medium bulgur will also work in tabbouleh but will take longer to soften and likely need a bit more water and lemon juice.
Seed and finely chop the roma tomatoes and cucumber. Roma tomatoes are a sturdy tomato variety without a lot of watery pulp or seeds, making them good ingredients in tabbouleh so it doesn’t get soggy. English cucumbers have good flavor and also have fewer seeds to remove.
Finely chop the parsley and mint, and don’t skimp on either! In most of my cooking, I use flat-leaf parsley, but not in tabbouleh. Curly parsley gives this salad its super fresh and purifying bite, and it needs a lot to make tabbouleh so satisfying. Mint adds a nice balance and freshness to the zesty lemon accents.
Toss with more lemon juice and green onion then let it rest. Give the salad at least an hour to rest and absorb the flavors before serving, or longer if you have time.
How Long Does Tabbouleh Last?
This salad will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. I find the second day is sometimes even better tasting than the first.
What to Serve With Tabbouleh
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How to Make THE BEST Tabbouleh
Made with cucumber, tomato, and lots of fresh curly parsley and mint, this authentic tabbouleh recipe is an amazingly refreshing no-cook side salad for easy potlucks, picnics, and easy dinners.
- 3/4 cup dried fine bulgur
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice , divided, from 2 lemons
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt , divided
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Roma tomatoes , seeded and chopped, about 1 cup
- 1/2 English cucumber , seeded and chopped, about 1 cup
- 3 green onions , chopped, about 1/3 cup
- 1 cup finely chopped curly parsley
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint
In a large bowl, mix the bulgur with the water, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt until moistened then let the bulgur rest for about 20 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining lemon juice and kosher salt with olive oil.
Add the chopped tomatoes, cucumber, green onion, parsley, and mint to the bulgur. Drizzle with the dressing and stir well to combine. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. Taste for seasoning before serving and add more salt or lemon juice as needed.
Calories: 186kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Sodium: 401mg | Potassium: 286mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1348IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 2mg
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