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Tabouli salad is easy to make and absolutely delicious! From crisp cucumber, sweet tomatoes, briny olives and bright parsley, every bite is a little different. A classic Levantine dish (also spelled tabbouleh, tabouleh and taboulah), it’s a vegetarian salad recipe that is loaded with flavor and texture. Bulgur wheat makes this Middle Eastern salad hearty enough to make it a main dish and I love to add salty creamy feta to make the salad even better. 

Tabouli Salad served in a white shallow bowl with glasses of water and lemon slices photographed from above.

Bulgur is a quick-cooking, versatile grain that is very forgiving (like the quinoa in this Kale and Quinoa Salad or this Greek Quinoa Salad). You can make it a day ahead, refrigerate it, and when you take it out the next day and fluff it with a fork, it will still be light and delicious. I use it as a base for a variety of salads or make it alone with a swirl of olive oil and a pinch of salt as a simple side dish.

Ingredients You Need to Make Tabouli Salad

  • Water: broth
  • Dry Bulgur:  (see more on what it is below)
  • Salt: omit if using broth
  • Lemon Juice: ideally fresh lemon juice
  • Olive Oil: good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Garlic: fresh garlic is a key flavor component so garlic powder isn’t a good option for this salad
  • Green Onions: or fresh chives
  • Parsley: fresh parsley, ideally flat leaf (Italian) parsley
  • Fresh Mint Leaves: dried mint is not a good substitute here
  • Tomatoes: ideally cherry tomatoes, but diced plum tomatoes or Roma tomatoes would also work well
  • English Cucumber: or Persian cucumbers
  • Feta Cheese: ideally sheep’s milk feta
  • Greek Olives: or kalamata olives
Tabouli Salad served in a white shallow bowl.

FAQ

Is tabouli salad healthy for you?

It’s a dish that’s high in fiber and low in calories along with vitamins, minerals and protein. See the nutrition information in the recipe card for more details.

How do I store tabouli salad?

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

What is Bulgur?

Bulgur is cracked wheat, a quick-cooking, versatile grain that is very forgiving (like the quinoa in this Kale and Quinoa Salad or this Greek Quinoa Salad). You can make it a day ahead, refrigerate it, and when you take it out the next day and fluff it with a fork, it will still be light and delicious. I use it as a base for a variety of salads or make it alone with a swirl of olive oil and a pinch of salt as a simple side dish. 

How do you pronounce tabouli?

The correct pronunciation is “TAH-boo-lee”.

Recipe Options

  • Often Tabouli Salad doesn’t include cucumber, tomatoes, olives, and cheese, but it’s my favorite way to serve it. Feel free to skip those ingredients for a more traditional salad.
  • For a vegan version, just skip the feta cheese.
  • If you prefer a gluten free version, make this Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad recipe instead.

Serve With

For a feast, I love to serve this with Grilled Shrimp or Grilled Lamb Chops / Grilled Lamb Loin Chops (or Baked Lamb Chops in the fall and winter) and some of my other favorite Mediterranean recipes like this pita bread recipe served with Baba GanoushTzatziki, and White Bean Hummus!

How to Make Tabouli Salad

  1. Stir dry bulgur into boiling water and turn heat off; cover and let stand 25 minutes. Fluff cooked bulgur and let cool.
  2. To cooled bulgur stir in salt, fresh lemon juice, olive oil and garlic; cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to overnight.
  3. When ready to serve, fluff bulgur and add remaining ingredients; gently stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper; serve.

Tabouli Salad

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Calories: 258
Servings: 6 people
An embellished version of the classic Levantine salad that's hearty enough to be a meal on its own!

Ingredients  

  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water or chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dry bulgur
  • 1 teaspoon salt omit if you are using broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice about 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 3 green onions (scallions), finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 large English cucumber (or 2 medium Persian cucumbers) cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 ounces crumbled feta
  • 1 cup Greek olives or kalamata olives, pitted and halved, (20 to 24)

Instructions 

  • Bring water to boil, add dry bulgur to boiling water or broth, stir. Turn heat off, leaving the pan in place; cover and let stand 25 minutes.
  • Fluff bulgur with a fork and then allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Once the bulgur is cool, add salt, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic. Stir to combine; cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  • When you're ready to serve the salad, remove the bulgur mixture from the fridge and toss with a fork to lighten and separate. Add green onions, parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumber, feta, and olives; stir gently to combine. Taste for seasoning – add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 258kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 917mg | Potassium: 418mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1174IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 126mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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33 Comments

  1. David Kozinski says:

    5 stars
    You should try adding a touch of cinnamon to this recipe. A dear friend from Lebanon made it this way for me and it was off the charts!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      I’ll have to try that next time, David! Thanks so much.

  2. Carol Cuevas says:

    5 stars
    What a lovely recipe. Just perfect.
    I used to make Tabouli frequently until I moved to a rural area where Bulgar simply cannot be found. I forgot about it until I was looking for recipes using cucumber, of which, I grow more than I can eat. Then I found your recipe and was inspired.
    I ordered bulgar online, then made your recipe. I love the addition of feta and kalamatas, and added some marinated garbanzos and some diced artichoke hearts. I may add chicken at a later date. Tabouli can be so diverse—-the sky is the limit.
    One thing that hadn’t ever occurred to me was to use a flavorful broth to cook the bulgar. For me, that’s game-changing.
    Thank You for inspiring me to bring Tabouli back into my diet.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Your comment made my day, Carol! So glad you’re enjoying this recipe and adding your own touches!