Tabbouleh, also spelled tabouli, is a fresh herbs and bulgur salad that is loaded with flavor, healthy ingredients and crunch. Fresh herbs of parsley and mint make for delicious mouthfuls, and it is studded with tomatoes, green onion, and bulgur. It also boasts a fun unique ingredient–pomegranate arils, and a simple, but refreshing dressing of olive oil and lemon juice. It is easy to make, flavorful, and goes with just about everything.
There are several ways to make Tabbouleh, but this version is one I discovered in Israel, while having an amazing experience in Tel Aviv with Vibe Israel, cooking with Doris, an Arab Christian living in Jaffa. I have never had a better Tabbouleh, and I couldn’t get enough, so I can’t wait to share it with you, and let you see what makes it so good and so special.
**My trip to Israel was provided by Vibe Israel, but all the experiences and love of Israel are my own.
In February of 2023 I got to visit Israel with Vibe Israel, it was my second time visiting with Vibe Israel, and my third time to Israel. And each time I go, I fall more in love with the people, the food, and the country.
You can read about the lovely Friday Night Dinner I had on my previous visit, or my favorite foods to eat from Israel, or the guide I wrote to Israeli Markets, but what I really wanted to do was share one of my favorite salads from my last trip.
We had a day where we toured Jaffa, and got to have a culinary experience through Nice.2.Meet in the home of a local woman, named Doris. She opened her lovely home to us, and we prepared a vegan meal that was absolutely mind blowing-ly good. I never would have guessed that I wouldn’t miss meat or dairy at all.
On our table one of the dishes that really stood out to me was this Tabbouleh. Not only was it super flavorful and fresh, but had a different spin than any Tabbouleh I had ever eaten before, with the fun addition of pomegranates.
Doris, our host, was an excellent story teller, wonderful home cook, and so much fun. And it left quite the impression. She even hand fed us the tabbouleh while making it to make sure we didn’t want to adjust the amount of lemon juice in it!
And I have been making and eating this Tabbouleh on repeat since I have returned home.
This simple salad is a real winner in my book, here are some of my favorite reasons to make it:
- It makes a great side to just about any protein. Or is amazing on its own as a main dish.
- It is packed with healthy and delicious ingredients.
- Tabbouleh can be made ahead and just gets better.
- No cooking required.
What You Need to Make Tabbouleh
Tabbouleh is essentially an herb salad, where parsley is the main ingredients, and it is all tied together with a simple lemon and olive oil dressing that is fantastic. Everything you need to make it can be found at a typical grocery store, and from simple ingredients comes greatness! Truly. Here is what you need:
- Fresh Parsley
- Fresh Mint
- Green Onion
- Tomatoes (Roma, or whatever is ripe and in season for best flavor)
- Lemon Juice
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Pomegranate Arils
How to Make Tabbouleh
In a nut shell, making Tabbouleh is simple, you just chop everything up and mix it all together, but let’s share the nitty gritty, and some tips for getting great results every time:
Step One: Prepare Bulgur
I love that you do not have to cook anything to make this salad. The grain in it is bulgur, which is also sometimes spelled “bulgar”. You can cook it, and it comes together in about 10 minutes, or you can simply soak it in boiling water and a little bit of lemon juice, and let it sit for about 20 minutes to an hour.
Bulgur is a whole grain that is super convenient to cook with. Basically it is made from cracked whole grain wheat berries. They are partially cooked and then dried, and so when you prepare them at home, you simply rehydrate them.
Bulgur is mild, nutty, and chewy, so it adds not only a lovely nuttiness to the salad, but great chew, and texture. And it will soak up the delicious dressing helping keep the salad flavorful in each and every bite.
Step Two: Chop Herbs
The next step to this lovely salad is the herbs. Fresh parsley and fresh mint are the herbs in this recipe, and they are fantastic. The combo is light, refreshing, and fantastic. So wash and chop those herbs up! A nice, fine chop is best.
If you want to make things easy, you can toss your herbs in a food processor, and give it a couple pulses. Just be careful not to over-pulse.
Step Three: Combine Ingredients
The next step is to combine the remaining ingredients. You use tomatoes, and you want to deseed them, and chop them into even pieces. Removing the seeds is important because the liquid in the seeds will change the flavor and texture of the salad.
Cut your green onion finely as well, and combine everything together in a large bowl.
Step Four: Toss Together with Dressing
Now is the time to combine it all and toss with the simple dressing.
Combine the fresh herbs, tomatoes, green onion, bulgur, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. And toss it all together. Then add the pomegranate arils on top, and stir them in.
Fresh lemon juice is the best option. Depending on the size and freshness of your lemons, it will take 1-2 lemons to get enough juice for this recipe.
Step Five: Taste, Adjust, and Enjoy!
While this recipe has been fully tested, and the ratios are on par, because fresh and seasonal ingredients are involved, you may want to adjust the seasonings and dressing some to get optimal flavor. So, mix everything together, and give it a taste. Does it need more lemon juice or salt? If so, add it! I always recommend tasting your tabbouleh before serving so you can adjust to your personal tastes.
Then you can refrigerate and enjoy later, or enjoy immediately.
This recipe is so perfect as a fresh and healthy side and I love pairing it with a vegan meal of Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Rice Pilaf etc. Or, as a side for proteins. My favorite is:
Tips and Tricks
Making this recipe is Eazy Peazy, but here are a few tips and tricks to make it easier:
- Finely Chop Everything: This salad is extra delicious, but even better when things are finely chopped. It allows for more flavors in each bite, and gives you a beautiful finished dish. Try for uniform sizing.
- Prepare Bulgur First: The nice thing about this dish is you don’t have to cook anything. You simply soak the bulgur in hot water, and some lemon juice for about an hour before mixing it in. It will add the perfect texture to the salad.
- Adjust to Taste: The dressing is super simple, made of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper. And while I have tested and tweaked until I got it right, the acidity of the tomatoes, freshness of the herbs, etc. can impact the overall flavor, so I highly suggest starting with the recommended amounts, then taste and adjust by adding more lemon juice or more salt as desired.
- Pomegranate Arils are Key: Ok, if you look at a traditional Tabbouleh recipe it will likely have diced cucumber in it, which adds a nice crunch. I left that out, and instead put in Pomegranate. These offer the same crunch, and a fun flavor twist with a little added sweetness. It is what makes the recipe unique, but also so fun. So don’t leave out the pomegranate. And feel free to add extra if you’d like.
- Refrigerate: While you can certainly serve this salad right away, it can be even better with a little bit of time for the flavors to meld together. One of the reasons I love this recipe is that it can be prepped ahead, everything in it is pretty hearty, making it a great salad to keep for a few days and eat several times.
Make Ahead and Storage
The nice thing about this recipe is it can be made a little ahead, and only gets better as the flavors meld. Because the ingredients are fresh, I recommend not making it more than 1-2 days ahead, and only keep it 3 days or so.
But making it a day ahead, or the morning of, for an evening meal is a great idea.
To store, keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Other Great Recipes:
- Oven Fried Fish
- Easy Greek Pasta Salad
- Oven Fried Chicken
- Baked Breaded Chicken
- Crispy Oven Baked Shrimp
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- 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 Tablespoons lemon juice fresh
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup pomegranate arils
- 3 cups flat leaf parsley finely chopped, about 2 bunches
- 1 1/2 cups cored and diced tomato 2 medium to large Roma tomatoes
- ⅔ cup bulgur wheat* prepared (see notes)
- ⅓ cup fresh mint finely chopped
- 1/4 cup green onions chopped fine, about 2 green onion stalks
- Prepare bulgur wheat by soaking 1 cup of bulgur in 1 cup boiling water, and add 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Set aside. (Ingredients for preparing bulgur were not included above, can use already prepared bulgur if desired)
- Finely chop herbs. And green onion.
- Core and deseed tomatoes, then finely chop into even pieces
- Combine herbs, tomatoes, green onion, prepared bulgur, olive oil, all 5 Tbs lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl, toss to coat. Then taste, and adjust seasoning with additional lemon and salt as needed.
- Add pomegranate arils, and toss once more to combine.
- Refrigerate for up to 3 days, or serve immediately.
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
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