Tabbouleh or tabouli is a traditional Lebanese salad made from parsley, tomatoes, green onions, bulgur wheat, lemon, olive oil, and mint. This meditation diet has helped spread the word about this refreshing salad and its health benefits.
As a second-generation Lebanese American, I take my Arabic food seriously. Tabbouleh and creamy hummus are my absolute favorite Arabic foods. In my humble opinion, they are perfect comfort foods.
If you are learning about tabbouleh/tabouli, it is an Arabic salad. The main ingredient is finely chopped parsley with bulgur wheat, tomatoes, green onions, lemon, and mint. This salad is has a clean flavor.
A parsley base might seem unusual in western culture. However, all the flavors come together to create a light and fresh salad.
One of my favorite things about tabbouleh is how easy it is to make. You only need six ingredients, and the recipe comes together in 20 minutes.
Parsley - You can use either curly or flat-leaf parsley. When preparing the parsley, I prefer to cut the parsley finely by hand. I have seen other people use a blender or a food processor, and both work. However, cutting the parsley by hand results in a fluffier salad. To do this, I chop off the bottom half of the parsley bunch. I then chop the top half, stems, and all, very finely. For fine chopping, I prefer a mezzaluna knife. It makes chopping so much easier.
Tomatoes - I prefer roma tomato's. However, any tomato will work. Prepare the tomato by cutting the tomato in half and removing the seeds/liquid part of the tomato. It's like a salad spinner for your tomato's and keeps the water content in your salad down. The tomato still has excellent flavor, and the salad will last longer in the refrigerator.
Green Onions - Are baby onions. They provide a subtle flavor that supports the stars of this show, parsley, and lemon. Thinly slice the onion using the whole onion (both the white and green sections).
Bulgur Wheat - Has a very subtle, light, nutty flavor. My favorite thing about bulgur wheat is how easy it is to make. All you need to do is soak it in water for 20 minutes, fluff with a fork, and you're done. Lately, I have had a more challenging time finding bulgur wheat. I usually buy whatever I can find or have it delivered. If I cannot find bulgur wheat, I use pearl (Israeli) couscous or quinoa. They are both very different in texture, but both work great in tabbouleh.
Lemon - The sharp and tangy flavor of lemon is key to making a traditional tabbouleh. Use only a fresh lemon. There is no other substitute.
Mint - The coolness of mint with the sharpness of lemon is refreshing and an absolute must ingredient. The mint should be finely chopped, and to achieve this, use the sharpest knife you have or a mezzaluna knife.
Olive oil - Extra virgin olive oil. There is no other choice:)
Salt and Pepper - To taste.
I am a straightforward traditional tabbouleh kind of girl. However, sometimes my family will ask for changes to the recipe. Here are a couple of options.
Cucumbers - These always taste great with Tabbouleh. To add them, scoop out the seeds and cut the cucumber into small pieces so that it blends with finely chopped parsley and tomatoes.
Garbanzo Beans - We sometimes add protein to the tabbouleh and make it a meal.
Feta - For a Greek feel, you can add feta. In this instance, I would increase the bulgar wheat ratio and decrease the parsley ratio for the best flavor balance.
Best Lebanese Tabbouleh Salad (Tabouli)
- 2 bunches parsley
- 3 roma tomatoes
- 3 green onions
- ¼ cup bulgur wheat
- 6 fresh mint leaves
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 3 tbsp lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the bulgur wheat according to the instructions. Set aside while soaking.¼ cup bulgur wheat
- Rinse and dry the vegetables. Remove the lower half of the parsley and finely chop the top half of parsley, stems, and all. The parsley should be chopped very finely.2 bunches parsley
- Cut the roma tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds (the wet interior). Finally, dice the tomatoes.3 roma tomatoes
- Thinly slice the green onion, including both the white and green parts.3 green onions
- Finely chop the mint leaves6 fresh mint leaves
- Mix the olive oil and lemon juice. This is your dressing⅓ cup olive oil, 3 tbsp lemon
- Mix all the vegetables, bulgar wheat, mint, and dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.salt and pepper to taste