A simple Traditional Tabbouleh Salad (tabouli salad) made the way I loved eating it growing up. A delicious blend of bulgar wheat, parsley, mint and a variety of vegetables in a lemon and olive oil dressing.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I have probably eaten tabbouleh/tabouli hundreds and hundreds of times. This was a favourite of mine growing up in a Lebanese family. Even living in London, I love eating Lebanese food whenever I can, and tabbouleh is always on the table.
I wasn’t sure whether to name this as a tabouli recipe or tabbouleh, as I know that both are used for the same dish. Personally, it’s tabbouleh to me though, so that is what I’ll mostly be referring to it as throughout this post.
One thing I noticed when moving to London was how differently British people work with different herbs. Mint is so prevalent in Lebanese and Middle Eastern dishes, yet it doesn’t seem as common/ important here. In fact, I was surprised to find out that people here aren’t as enamoured with mint as I am.
This simple tabbouleh salad just wouldn’t be the same without the delicious chopped fresh mint. I don’t think you could even call it a Lebanese salad without the use of delicious herbs to inject flavour into the dish.
What is tabouli/tabbouleh?
Lebanese tabbouleh salad is basically a parsley salad, made with a blend of parsley, mint, bulgar wheat, green onion and tomato in a lemon juice and olive oil dressing. It’s available in most Lebanese and Mediterranean restaurants/ takeaways ( with both spellings used!).
Chopped parsley is really the star of the show for this salad, with the mint and lemon adding excellent extra dimensions of flavour. By using the full length of the green onions, you also get the subtle taste of the green part along with the onion-y tasting white part.
Plus, unlike many western grainy salads – the bulgar wheat takes more of a back row in this particular dish. It is adding flavour and texture without taking over / overpowering the salad. And preparing it within the salad dressing means it absorbs flavour while plumping up. The results are delicious bites of flavour within the tabbouleh salad and a slight chewiness and no hot water needed (another method to prepare the bulgur).
While tabbouleh is a popular side dish and appetizer, I’ve included lettuce within my recipe to use as salad wraps. This is a way I’ve loved eating tabbouleh for years so thought others may too.
Luckily, tabbouleh is super simple to make. It’s just a lot of chopping – making sure to chop all the ingredients finely. This can take some time if you’re not used to being as ‘delicate’ with your chopping but is well worth it.
How to Make Tabouli/Tabbouleh Salad
One of the best things about tabbouleh is that it is super simple to make and only takes a few ingredients and a few, super simple steps.
- 3 medium-sized tomatoes
- 5 green spring onion stalks
- 1 medium bunch flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 medium-sized Romaine lettuce head
- 1 small red chilli pepper (optional)
For the dressing
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5 lemon
- 1 tbsp bulgur wheat (fine bulgur)*
Note* For a Gluten-free version you could sub quinoa or some others use couscous (but I prefer either quinoa or bulgur wheat)
To start making this tabbouleh recipe, begin by preparing the dressing. To do this, whisk the olive oil and lemon juice together with the salt, pepper and the bulgur wheat. It’s important to do this at the beginning, so the wheat has time to soak up some of the liquid, then set aside (while the other ingredients are getting chopped).
After a couple of minutes, the fine bulgur wheat will already have absorbed the dressing’s flavour.
Note* I suggest using the finest bulgur wheat you can find as this is best for soaking up the liquid. It is usually sold in a few different grain sizes.
Next, finely chop the tomatoes, green onions, parsley and mint. You want to chop them as finely as you can. There is no need to cut the lettuce as its leaves will be used as a wrap for the salad.
Mix the veggies in a large bowl, then add the dressing and stir well.
Serve with the lettuce leaves. Optionally, you can also eat it with pita bread, as part of a mezze platter or have it as a side along with a protein of your choice.
Note* This salad is a good option for meal-prep too. It can be made up to 4 days in advance and kept in an airtight container in the fridge. In fact, making this recipe a day or two before serving will let the flavours develop (although optional).
Other Lebanese- Inspired Recipes You May Like
If you like this tabbouleh then you may also like this Lebanese Fattoush Salad or this charred eggplant salad bowl. Alternatively, for a simple healthy breakfast dish, you might like this healthy Shakshuka.
If you give this traditional tabouli/ tabbouleh recipe a try, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Also, I love seeing your recreations, so tag me @AlphaFoodie.
Traditional Tabbouleh Salad
- 3 ripe tomatoes medium-sized
- 5 green onion both white and green parts
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley large bunch (2 cups chopped)
- 1/2 cup mint leaves fresh or 1 tsp dried mint
- 1 Romaine lettuce head medium-sized
- 1 red chilli pepper optional
For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5 lemon
- 1.5 tsp bulgur wheat
- Prepare the dressing by whisking the olive oil and lemon juice together with the salt, pepper and the bulgur wheat. It's important to do this at the beginning, so the wheat has time to soak up some of the liquid, then set aside.After a couple of minutes, the fine bulgur wheat will already have absorbed the dressing's flavour. *
- Next, chop the tomatoes, green onions, parsley and mint. You want to chop them as finely as you can. There is no need to cut the lettuce as its leaves will be used as a wrap for the salad.
- Mix the veggies in a large bowl, then add the dressing and stir well.
- Serve with the lettuce leaves. Optionally, you can also eat it with pita bread, as part of a mezze platter or have it as a side along with a protein of your choice.**