Fresh and bright-flavored Tabbouleh is a great salad to pair with just about anything.
This salad is so simple in its flavors, but so fresh and bright. Lemon juice and olive oil combine to dress a verdant chiffonade of confetti-like parsley, with a bit of bulgur wheat and a couple veggies added in; this salad really is all about the parsley though!
Let’s troubleshoot for a minute because there are two common mistakes that people fall into when making Tabbouleh: 1) they add too much bulgur wheat, and/or 2) they cut the parsley wrong. Both of these things are easy to fix! Just use the amount of bulgur wheat called for in this recipe and you’ll be good to go with that, and I’ll guide you through how the parsley should be cut.
For this salad, the parsley should be cut using the chiffonade method. Chiffonade is a French word that means “little ribbons” (I like to think of them as confetti-like strips), and the technique involves stacking up dry parsley leaves (or any herb, for that matter), rolling them up tightly, and thinly slicing them with a sharp knife. The result is of course beautiful, but it is functional as well. Slicing herbs like this ensures that they stay crisp and fresh longer, instead of quickly wilting and/or turning black, as can happen when herbs are bruised.
This recipe comes from my cookbook, An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair, where I share authentic Middle Eastern recipes and cooking methods I learned from my Syrian mother-in-law. The recipes there streamlined just a bit to fit into our modern way of cooking, while still keeping their integrity. My goal was to take the intimidation out of Middle Eastern cooking and make it approachable for everyone!
If you’re thinking about what to pair with this salad, it’s a nice compliment to just about anything that comes off the grill…burgers, steak, chicken, and even fish!
Prep Time: 45 minutes
- 3 large bunches of fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup fine-ground bulgur wheat
- 1 cup hot water
- Juice of 2 to 3 lemons (a scant 1/2 cup; see note below)
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 sprigs fresh mint leaves, minced
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 3 medium tomatoes, diced
- Romaine lettuce leaves, for serving (optional)
- Wash the parsley and completely dry it. Holding them by the stems, gather a handful of parsley leaves together in one hand. Roll the leaves tightly together and use a sharp paring knife to cut them into thin strips. Repeat this process until all the parsley is chopped.
- Put the bulgur in a medium bowl and pour the water on top; soak until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain the bulgur in a fine mesh sieve, pressing with the back of a spoon to extract the excess water. Fluff the bulgur with a fork.
- Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Gently combine the parsley, bulgur, mint, onion, tomato, and dressing in a large bowl.
- Transfer to a serving bowl; if desired, serve the Tabbouleh with lettuce leaves to scoop up the salad.
- Lemon Juice: We like our Tabbouleh tangy, so I usually use the juice of 3 lemons. If you don't want it quite as tangy, start with the juice of 1 lemon and add more to taste.
Here are a few more Middle Eastern and Mediterranean-inspired recipes you might enjoy:
- Greek Turkey Burgers by RecipeGirl
- Limonana (Middle Eastern Frozen Mint Lemonade) by An Edible Mosaic
- Mediterranean Hummus with Pesto and Feta by The Roasted Root
- Zucchini Baba Ghanoush by Eats Well With Others
Disclosure: There are Amazon affiliate links included within this post.