Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern salad made from loads of fresh herbs, quick-cooking bulgur, and chopped vegetables in a lemon-and-olive oil dressing. Traditionally, the herbs constitute the bulk of the salad, but I prefer to swap the proportions to put the bulgur and vegetables front and center, making it a more of a grain salad than an herb salad. Tabbouleh is typically served as a mezze along with other small plates, such as tzatziki, falafel, hummus, or creamy whipped feta. It also makes a terrific and healthy side dish to Middle Eastern lamb kofta, chicken kabobs, or Greek-style lamb burgers.

What You’ll Need To Make Tabbouleh

tabbouleh ingredients

Bulgur is a whole grain made from cracked wheat, commonly used in Middle Eastern dishes. It has a nutty flavor and chewy texture. Since it is parboiled and dried before it is packaged, it cooks very quickly. It is sold in most large supermarkets and organic food stores (you can often find it in the bulk bins). This recipe calls for medium-grind bulgur, which is the most common (the grains are about the size of sesame seeds); coarse grind bulgur is slightly coarser and may be substituted.

Traditional tabbouleh does not contain cucumber, but I love the color and texture it adds to the dish. Some recipes skip the mint and use only parsley, but I prefer the flavor that the combination of the two herbs provide.

Step-by-Step Instructions

In a small pot, bring the water and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt to a rapid boil.

bringing water and salt to a boil

Add the bulgur, stir to moisten, then cover the pot and remove from the heat. adding bulgur to boiling water

Let sit 15 to 30 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Let the bulgur cool to room temperature.

cooked bulgur

While the bulgur soaks, chop all the vegetables and herbs.

chopped herbs and vegetables for tabbouleh

In a large bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, honey, pepper, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt.

dressing ingredients for tabbouleh

Whisk to combine.

whisked tabbouleh dressing

Add the cooled bulgur, the cucumber, tomatoes, mint, parsley, and scallions.

tabbouleh ingredients in bowl

Toss well, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

mixed tabbouleh

Cover and refrigerate the tabbouleh until ready to serve. It can be made up to 2 days ahead of time.

tabbouleh in serving dish

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