Tabbouleh is a fresh and tasty salad of Lebanese origin. It is made using bulgur or cracked wheat, parsley, tomatoes, mint, onions, olive oil and lemon juice.
This is not a tradtional Irish recipe, but this salad is very popular in Ireland. You'll find it on lunch menus at many large cafés.
Avoca is one of my favorite restaurants in Ireland, and they frequently serve tabbouleh as a side salad for their delicious main courses.
Table of Contents
- What is Tabbouleh made of?
- What is bulgur?
- What is the difference between tabouli and tabbouleh?
- Is tabouli or tabbouleh healthy?
- Ingredients for Tabbouleh
- Directions for Homemade Tabouli
- Printable Recipe Card for Tabbouleh
What is Tabbouleh made of?
This wonderfully fresh and filling salad, is packed with good ingredients.
Parsley is the main chopped herb, combined with cooked and cooled cracked bulgur wheat.
It's mixed with diced tomates, mint, and spring onions, and tossed in a lemon olive oil dressing.
Some recipes call for chopped cucumber along with the diced tomatoes, but I prefer tomatoes only.
I love this recipe during the summer months. For any gardners out there, this can be your go-to recipe to use up any abundance of tomatoes, parsley, mint, and cucumber.
What is bulgur?
Bulgur is made from wheat's cracked whole-grain kernels.
The grains are partially boiled and cooked before packaging. This means they cook far faster than other whole wheat grains such as wheat berries, and freekeh.
You can use any cracked wheat product to make tabbouleh, but bulgur is usally the quickest to cook and the least expensive.
What is the difference between tabouli and tabbouleh?
There is no difference between tabouli and tabbouleh, just a different way of spelling this word with Arabic origins.
The name comes from the Arabic work "taabil." It means to season or add spices.
This ancient dish is thought to date back more than 4000 years and was served in the mountains of Lebanon and Syria.
Is tabouli or tabbouleh healthy?
Tabbouleh is a vegetarian side dish, bursting with good ingredients. It's a low cholesterol salad, that's very low in fats. The bulgur and vegetables are high in giver, plus there are plenty fo vitamins.
You'll find all of the nutritional information in the recipe card at the end of this post.
Here's my tabbouleh recipe, inspired by the cafés of Ireland.
Ingredients for Tabbouleh
Here's a quick list of what you'll need to make this delicious Lebanese salad. You'll find exact amounts in the recipe card, plus you can toggle between US and Metric equivalents.
- Fine Bulgur Wheat
- Fresh Mint Leaves
- Spring Onions or Scallions
- Lemon Zest
- Pink Himalayan Salt
For The Dressing
- Lemon Juice
- Olive Oil
My basic recipe does not call for any chopped cucumber, but feel free to add a cup of diced cucumber. You can peel the cucumber, or leave it unpeeled, whichever you wish. Either regular US or English cucumbers will work out fine.
I use pink Himalayan salt for this recipe, since this salt has some additional mineral benefits to regular table salt. You can use any salt you choose. Kosher salt or sea salt are just fine.
Feel free to add more salt if you wish, but I start with just a teaspoon and then season to taste. I omit black pepper, but feel free to add it.
Another good addition is chopped feta cheese. It's not a traditional ingredient, but is a wonderful addition.
If you can't find bulgur wheat, then try out quinoa as a substitute. Quinoa tabouli is just as delicious as traditonal bulgur wheat in this middle eastern salad.
Plus choosing quinoa instead of bulgur wheat can make this a gluten-free salad.
Directions for Homemade Tabouli
Here's how to make this tasty salad. You'll find printable instructions in the recipe card, where you can choose to print with or without images.
Cook and Cool the Bulgur Wheat
Prepare the bulgar wheat according to the packet instructions.
Soak the grain before cooking if your brand requires this step. Most varieties of bulgur wheat are parboiled before packaging, so they do not require soaking before cooking.
Once you have cooked the grain, drain it, and then cool it completely.
You can always cook the bulgur wheat the day before you put this salad together.
Chop the Herbs and Vegetables
Parsley is the main fresh herb found in this recipe. You can use flat leaf parsley, or curly parsley. However, the flat-leaf Italian parsley boasts a slightly more robust flavor, than the curly variety.
Wash the parsley, dry it and then chop it up. Discard any thick stems.
Dice the tomatoes. It's important to drain the diced tomatoes in a sieve over a bowl. This removes excess juices and prevents the finished tabbouleh being too wet.
Chop the mint. Zest the lemons. Dice the spring onions (also called green onions or scallions).
Add the cooked bulgur, chopped fresh parsley and mint, diced tomatoes and green onions, lemon zest and salt to a large bowl.
Toss The Salad in Lemon and Olive Oil Dressing
Mix the salad ingredients together.
Whisk the olive oil and lemon juice together for the dressing. You can use extra-virgin olive oil if you prefer the flavor.
I use a small bowl with a balloon whisk to do this. Feel free to use a food processor to drizzle the olive oil onto the lemon juice. However, I avoid dirtying the food processor when a simple bowl and whisk will work just fine.
Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well together.
Now it's important to let this salad rest for at least an hour so that the flavors can all meld together.
Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and place the salad in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Printable Recipe Card for Tabbouleh
Here's the recipe card, if you would like to print this recipe and add it to your kitchen files.
- ¼ cup bulgur wheat fine
- 2 large tomatoes
- 4 cups parsley 2-3 bunches chopped
- 12 mint leaves
- 3 spring onions Scallions
- 1 teaspoon salt Pink Himalayan if available
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
For The Dressing
- 4 tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
- Prepare the bulgur wheat according to the packet instructions, then cool.
- Finely chop tomatoes. Place in a sieve or strainer over a bowl or the sink to drain.
- Finely chop the parsley, mint leaves and spring onions or scallions.
- Mix the tomatoes, onion, herbs, bulgur, salt and lemon zest.
- Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil to make the dressing. Pour the dressing over the veg and bulgu r and stir well to thoroughly combine.
- Cover and place in the fridge or leave for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to combine.
- as part of a mezze platter with falafel, hummus & pita bread.
- as a side dish alongside grilled lamb, chicken or steak.
Nutrition Information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients used.
I hope you enjoy this Mediterranean salad this summer. It's a lovely side for grilled lamb chops.
Here are some other salads I love to make, especially during the summer months.
Happy grilling and summer cooking.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Mairéad -Irish American Mom
Pronunciation - slawn ah-gus ban-ock-th
Mairéad - rhymes with parade