Indulge in the verdant glory of this middle eastern taboule salad, A.K.A. tabouli and tabbouleh salad. This Lebanese and Syrian classic is bursting with fresh and vibrant flavors that will leave you wanting more.
It’s got tons of fresh parsley and mint, which pair perfectly with juicy tomatoes, savory onions, and wholesome bulgur, all coated in a simple zesty lemon dressing. And the best part? This salad is naturally vegan, making it the perfect guilt-free indulgence! It is great on its own or as a side dish to accompany my baharat roasted oyster mushroom shawarma, seitan kofta, and my Persian baklava with pistachios and rosewater syrup. So go ahead, take a bite, and savor the explosion of flavors!
- 🥰Why you are going to adore the ever-loving heck outta this recipe
- 🤷♀️ What is taboule?
- 🌿A few of the notable ingredients used to make taboule
- 🎷How to jazz up your taboule?
- 📖Step-by-step instructions
- ➡️What’s the perfect thing to chase your taboule down with?
- ❗️Top tip
- 🤷♀️ Recipe FAQs
- ✌️Some of my favey dishes to serve with Taboule:
- The Fastest Taboule Salad
🥰Why you are going to adore the ever-loving heck outta this recipe
🌱 Simple & Wholesome Delight: This recipe shines with just 8-9 easy-to-find, healthy ingredients!
🍲 Meal Prep Magic: Perfect for school or work meals, this dish stores well for days, ensuring a nourishing meal prep.
🚫 Allergen-Friendly Taboule: Free from soy, nuts, and dairy, this taboule can effortlessly go gluten-free and oil-free. Surprisingly, the gluten-free version is a winner!
🤷♀️ What is taboule?
Taboule (also spelled as tabouli, tabbouleh, AND tabooli!) is a traditional Lebanese salad enjoyed throughout the Middle East. It typically consists of finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, onions, and bulgur wheat, tossed together with a tangy dressing made from lemon juice and olive oil. My recipe also calls for minced cucumbers and fresh mint. Taboule is a light and refreshing dish that is perfect for warmer weather and is often served as a side dish or appetizer. It is packed with nutrient-rich ingredients and is naturally vegan, and can easily be made gluten-free.
🌿A few of the notable ingredients used to make taboule
- Bulgur: Bulgur is cracked wheat. Bulgur comes in a variety of sizes. The coarser size is chewier (which I like), and the finer grade is also nice, rehydrates faster, and mixes well with the herbs. You can’t go wrong, but after making it with different grades of bulgur, you will figure out which style you prefer. ➡️Grabbing a bag of bulgur for this recipe, and don't know what else you should make with it?!? -Try these killer turkish recipes that both have bulgur: kisir, fellah koftesi, cig cofte, and bulgur pilavi!
- Parsley:The best type of parsley for taboule is flat-leaf parsley (also known as Italian parsley), which has a more robust and flavorful taste than curly parsley. Flat-leaf parsley has a slightly peppery taste that pairs well with the other ingredients in taboule, and its leaves are easier to chop finely, which is important for achieving the proper texture and consistency of the salad.
- Extra virgin olive oil:Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is oil that is extracted from the first cold-pressing of olives, without the use of chemicals or heat. It is considered the highest quality and most flavorful olive oil available, as it retains the natural aroma and taste of the olives.
To pick a good extra virgin olive oil, look for one that is labeled as "first cold-pressed" to ensure it has been extracted using natural methods.
When tasting olive oil, look for a fruity, slightly bitter taste, and a peppery finish at the back of the throat, which is a sign of high-quality EVOO. The bitterness in olive oil comes from it’s antioxidants. When olive oil is heated, the antioxidants break down which allows the oil to eventually (you guessed it…) oxidize and more easily become rancid. The color of the oil is not necessarily an indicator of quality, as it can range from light yellow to dark green, depending on the type of olives used.
It's also important to store extra virgin olive oil properly, in a cool, dark place away from light and heat, to prevent it from going rancid. Once opened, it should be consumed within a few months for optimal flavor and quality.
See the recipe card at the bottom of this page for the complete list of ingredients and their quantities.
🎷How to jazz up your taboule?
Taboule’s magic is in its simplicity and freshness. A couple of ingredients that are sometimes added to taboule that you might like to consider are: pomegranate seeds, diced bell peppers, or crushed red pepper flakes to taste.
You wanna see how this yummy thing gets made? I will walk you through the whole process. Or you can follow along with the easy-to-print recipe card towards the bottom of this page.
Begin by rinsing the bulgur wheat thoroughly and then soak it in water for 10 minutes.
Look how much it expands! After soaking, eliminate any extra water by draining the bulgur wheat in a mesh strainer.
If using quinoa: bring ¼ cup of white or red quinoa and ⅔ cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Cover the pot and lower the flame to a simmer. Allow the quinoa to cook for 12-14 minutes until all water has been absorbed, and the quinoa is tender. Remove the pot from the stove and allow it to cool fully before combining it with the other ingredients.
While the bulgur is soaking, finely chop the parsley and mint. Cut the cucumber and onion into small cubes. Dice the tomatoes and place them in a colander to drain.
Combine the chopped vegetables, herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl or dish. Stir in the bulgur or quinoa.
➡️What’s the perfect thing to chase your taboule down with?
You would be downright kooky not to finish your taboule meal with my Persian style baklava with pistachios and rosewater syrup!
Are you lazy like me?
You can roughly chop your parsley and mint, and then throw them into a food processor to get them minced really finely. From there, you can throw in the remaining ingredients, and just pulse a few times to combine.
🤷♀️ Recipe FAQs
NO. Taboule’s magic is about simple fresh ingredients. The flavor and texture would be destroyed by freezing. Just don’t do it. It’s so fast to make anyway!
Yes! Taboule is traditionally completely plant-based.
Taboule (also spelled tabouli and tabbouleh) is a very healthy dish as it is low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is also a good source of plant-based protein from the bulgur wheat. It is even healthier made gluten-free with quinoa in place of the bulgur, since quinoa is a complete source of all 9 essential amino acids.
Taboule is a traditional salad that originated in the Eastern Mediterranean region, particularly in Lebanon and Syria. Its origins can be traced back to the 17th century when it was first mentioned in Lebanese cookbooks.
The word taboule is derived from the Arabic word tabil which means seasoning. Originally, it was made with only a small amount of bulgur wheat and was used as a seasoning or garnish for other dishes. Over time, the tabouli salad evolved to include more bulgur wheat and vegetables, eventually becoming a dish in its own right.
Taboule is traditionally served as part of a mezze, a selection of small dishes that are shared among a group of people. It is often eaten as a side dish or as a filling for pita bread.
Today, taboule is a popular dish in many parts of the world and has been adapted to include various ingredients and flavors.
Taboule can last for up to three days in the refrigerator, depending on the freshness of the ingredients and how well it is stored. To maximize its shelf life, store taboule in an airtight container in the fridge, away from other strong-smelling foods.
It's worth noting that the salad's texture may change slightly over time, as the bulgur wheat will absorb some moisture from the dressing and other ingredients. Therefore, giving the salad a quick toss before serving is recommended to help redistribute the dressing and freshen up the flavors.
If you're looking to make taboule in advance, it's best to prepare the ingredients and dressing separately and combine them just before serving. This will help maintain the salad's texture and flavor, and ensure it tastes as fresh as possible.
🙅♀️🌾Making gluten-free taboule
Sometimes, the gluten-free version is even tastier and more satisfying than the original!
Quinoa - This is, hands down, my favorite substitute for bulgur. Cooked quinoa has a similar texture to bulgur and can be used in the same quantities. Quinoa is one of only a few grains considered a complete protein. This means it contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce on their own. Out of the 20 amino acids the human body needs, nine are considered “essential amino acids”, meaning they cannot be synthesized by the body and must be obtained through the diet. Good news - both quinoa AND buckwheat contain all of these!
Rice - Brown rice, red rice, or wild rice will add a nutty flavor and a slightly different texture compared to bulgur. Cook the rice until just tender, and if you want to give it a similar texture to bulgur, pulse the rice just a few times in a food processor to break it up into smaller fragments. You will need ⅓ cup of cooked rice to substitute the bulgur in this recipe.
Buckwheat - Despite its name, buckwheat is gluten-free and can be used as a substitute for bulgur in taboule. It has a distinct nutty flavor.
Lentils - Cooked lentils can be used instead of bulgur in taboule for a protein-rich and gluten-free option. I especially like beluga lentils, or French lentils for use in taboule. Small split dal can be nice too, like what you would use to make chana dal or toor dal.
Quinoa flakes - Quinoa flakes are a processed form of quinoa that can be used as a substitute for bulgur in taboule. They have a texture similar to bulgur and can be cooked quickly by soaking in hot water for a few minutes.
When substituting bulgur with any of these gluten-free options, make sure to adjust the amount of liquid and cooking time as needed to achieve the desired chewy texture.
✌️Some of my favey dishes to serve with Taboule:
❤️Love this recipe? It helps me out greatly if you leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating in the recipe card below and maybe even leave me a lovey-dovey comment too!
The Fastest Taboule Salad
- ¼ cup fine bulgur or quinoa
- ½ cup boiling water
- 2 ½ cups minced flat-leaf parsley
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 small Persian cucumber or small English cucumber
- 1 medium tomato
- ⅓ cup finely chopped yellow or red onion
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- A few whole mint leaves to garnish
- Rinse the bulgur wheat until it's clean, then let it soak in hot water for 10 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Afterward, drain out any excess water from the bulgur wheat using a mesh strainer.
- While the bulgur is soaking, finely chop the parsley and mint. Dice the cucumber and onion into very small pieces. Dice the tomato and place them in a colander to strain out the excess juice.
- Mix the chopped herbs, vegetables, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl or dish. Add in the bulgur (or cooked quinoa) and mix everything together.