Last Updated on April 18, 2022
Tabouli aka Tabbouleh is a healthy, rich, lemony, earthy and super-green salad with pure Lebanese origins. It is a staple of any Lebanese party involving food. Moms and grandmas show off their unique spins on making Tabouli. And typically to ace making an awesome Tabbouleh, you should use the freshest greens you can find, drain them after mincing so they’re not soggy, and of critical importance is to ensure using freshly squeezed lemon juice and not bottled juice. An awesome Tabbouleh recipe execution is highlighted by how lemony it is.
Tabbouleh is usually served along with Mezza which is a host of appetizers and hors-d’oeuvres.
If you’ve had Tabbouleh salad in non-Lebanese restaurants, you would be surprised that our Tabbouleh here will likely yield a different look and taste than what you’ve experienced.
Authentic Tabbouleh is greener, contains more tomatoes and much less Burghul (cracked wheat) that what restaurants typically add.
And on the topic of Burghul, if you are allergic to gluten or simply want a gluten-free version, try substituting the Burghul with Quinoa. I haven’t tried it myself, however I heard from a few folks that it’s a good gluten substitute.
Authentic Lebanese Tabbouleh Recipe
- 4 bunches Italian Parsley chopped finely, let dry
- 1 bunch fresh green mint chopped finely, let dry
- 1 Persian cucumber chopped finely
- 4 tomatoes medium. chopped finely, drained
- 1 white onion chopped finely, drained from juice
- 1/4 cup Bulgur or Bulgur, fine cracked wheat #1
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 teaspoon 7 Spices Lebanese or Arabic 7-Spices
- Rinse all vegetables and let dry on a paper towel, especially the parsley and mint.
- Cut stems off parsley then chop finely. Spread chopped parsley on paper towels and let rest for a few mins in order to get rid of excess moisture.
- Cut stems off mint, and finely chop the leaves. Spread on a paper towel and let dry.
- Finely chop tomatoes into small cubes 1/3in then place in strainer to get rid of the excess juice.
- Finely chop onions, drain then mix with the 7-spices, set aside.
- Finely chop the cucumber
- Soak the bulgur in half of the lemon juice with a bit of salt.
- Only once ready to serve, mix all ingredients together well, drizzle with olive oil and the leftover lemon juice. Add a bit more salt if needed.
- Serve as a side salad along with some lettuce leaves.
- Very Important: Once vegetables are chopped, ensure they are drained of their excess juices otherwise we'll end up with a soggy Tabbouleh.
- Mix the Tabbouleh only right before serving. If you mix it too much in advance it turns soggy quickly.
- Notice that we've used only 1/4 cup of Bulgur for 4 servings. This is the right balance in traditional Tabbouleh. In the US for some reason, restaurants overload what they call as Tabbouleh with a ton of Bulgur that it becomes something completely different.
- If you don't have the Lebanese 7-Spices handy, you can make your own by mixing equal proportions of ground Allspice, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Ground Cloves, Ground Nutmeg, Fenugreek, and Powdered Ginger.
Leave out the cucumber. I understand that that may not be authentic, but then again this is probably like Mexican salsa which has so many different variants from so many different families. The cucumber water’s the flavor down and greatly diminishes the bold flavors of the mint and parsley. The tomato is there to balance those flavors but also provides a little bit of sweetness as well. When you get the ratios just right to bully is one of the most refreshing and awesome “salads”
Love Lebanese Food!
One question about 1/4 cup of fine Burghul (fine cracked wheat #1).
Do I add directly to the salad or do I cook it before I add it to the salad?
Fit Mom regarding Tabbouleh, the fine Burghul needs to be added raw. What mom does and I which I think yields the best Tabbouleh is she piles places the Burghul on one side of the salad bowl after all ingredients have been added. And then she pours the fresh lemon juice over it and let it sit for a few minutes before mixing it. The burghul absorbs some of the lemon juice this way, turns softer, and very flavorful!
Got it! I have all the ingredients ready to go, I will make it today, according to your direction. LOVE Lebanese food, praying for the people in Lebanon.
Perfect! But, I like to change it up, and sometimes add a small amount of “green pepper”…Sometimes, I’ll “add crumbled feta cheese”, to it….But Always “green onions”…Without the greens”, it is boring…..Again, a matter of taste and preference….This recipe is truly the “base”…I’ve made this using “farro”, instead of Bulgar”….No reason….Just to “change it up”…More a “meal in itself”,when using Faro. I love Taboulee so much I enjoy it all by itself, with warm, grilled “Naan” bread…YUM!
Had this with some cold roast lamb leftovers & some roast potatoes tonight…. fantastic. The herbs & lemon worked so well with the cold meat fat & the hot roasted potatoes
what are some good lebanese side dishes to have with tabbouleh?
In the original lebanese “tabboule” we don’t add cucumber.We use just parsley .It’s is heavenly delicious and healthy.Enjoy.?
Tabouli is simply the best salad you can get. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I always wondered what the spice flavour was. Now I know. Thanks.
I used to live in a community where arabic people used to make taboule, they used cilantro instead of parsley, do you know if the original recipe contains parsley or cilantro or possibly both?
Hi Marianne – I’ve never personally seen or tried the Tabbouleh with Cilantro.. The original recipe uses parsley.
I think there is sometimes confusion about bulgur wheat (called here bourghul, same thing). It’s not just cracked wheat, it is processed (cooked and dried) so that you don’t need to cook it as you would pure cracked wheat. It’s usually soaked in boiling water and then thoroughly drained/pressed to get out excess liquid. The stuff I use doesn’t soften that quickly with just lemon juice. I personally like tabouleh made with more rather than less of the wheat, as I like the flavor of bourghul, especially when it is combined with the lemon and oil and parsley. I’ll have to try Lebanese 7-spice!
Are you saying that you use dried cracked wheat, and don’t soften it with boiling water first? So that it only gets softened bu the lemon juice?
Meghan yes correct, the dried cracked wheat once exposed to lemon juice softens rather quickly.
yummy i am gonna make it by now i am a student from turkey studying in pakistan our arabic translation teacher gave us a home work to search for tabbouleh salad,so… I am excited to make it…
Tabouli is delicious and very nutritious. A light and refreshing salad that leaves you feeling good about what you put into your body. This recipe is the like what i have experience with lebanese friends and eateries in Los Angeles.
I am maoing this
i think this the best way how to make tabouli Weldon thank you
im a chef and im using the same recipe it amazing .
I tasted taboul in Dubai fot the first time at a Lebanese restaurant and fell inlove with the taste. So i am so excited to make this.
At the risk of being pedantic, how much parsley is in “a bunch”?
Hey Johnny – If you hold a bunch of parsley stems together, a bunch is almost equivalent to a diameter of about 1 inch of stems.. usually supermarkets have them packed that way so I never bother to weigh them and see how much a bunch weighs as an example.
Just wanted to give you a measurable amount. Once you’ve chopped the stems, you should have 1/4 – 1/3 cup of parsley. Dump that onto your cutting board and finely chop it. That is how much a bunch usually comes out to be.
I married a Lebonese girl. I’ve found that tabbouleh varries quite a bit. My wifes father makes it more like a salsa consistancy, his mother makes it more like this recipe, his sister makes it her way, and his brothers family makes it their way. Some like lots of tomatoes and lemon juice, others like more parsley and mint. My point is, experiment with the ratios. I don’t think there is a right way and a wrong way. As long as the basic ingredients are there, its tabbouleh. Personally I soak the bulgar wheat for a few hours so it doesn’t swell in my belly and give me a belly ache.
try quinoa, it makes the tummy feel good.
Belazu make a Moroccan barley couscous which has less flavour than wheat but works for Tabbouleh if wheat is being avoided or is not wanted. I got mine at Waitrose. I look forward to trying your recipe. Instead of putting boiling water on the couscous i will use lemon juice. Will mean more flavour and a drier result. I use kitchen scissors to chop the herbs or whizz them in a chopper (which makes them too small perhaps).
Yes! This is the Tabbouleh I know and love. The other recipes neglect the cucumber and look like wheat salads compared to the kind my father makes. I’m going to try this, you made my day. 🙂
Glad you liked the recipe Leilah thank you!
Yuummm, just bought tabbouleh for lunch from the supermarket. Can’t wait to try making it at home myself – One of my favourite salads in the world:)
Boianna a home-made Tabbouleh is much better than soggy restaurants tabbouleh!! I hope you like it 🙂
Could you please post your recipe once more, can’t seem to get into the site
I love “Taboulé”; I eat it at least once a week but I’m ashamed to say that i buy it in concerves or already made at the grocery. but now than i see that it’s so easy to make, I PROMISE, I SWEAR, i’ll do it myself !!!!look so refreshing and miam miam!!!!!!
Fabienne tabbouleh tastes much better when you prepare it at home fresh, so I hope that you will get a chance to try it and let me know how it goes.
Mama’s has my favorite tabouli! Can’t wait to try this recipe.
Awesome Nicole let me know how it goes 🙂