Classic Tabbouleh

A flavourful and satisfying grain salad!

Tabbouleh (sometimes spelled Tabouli) is a delicious dish that hails from various Middle Eastern countries. Its name is derived from an Arabic word meaning seasoning or spice, which is appropriate given how packed with flavour this salad is. It is typically prepared with bulgar (also known as cracked wheat) but you could also make it with freekeh, couscous or even quinoa for a gluten-free version. While some North American Lebanese restaurants use less bulgar (or omit it entirely), I like to include it to make the salad as hearty and nutritious as possible. I like to make Tabbouleh at least an hour before serving (preferably longer) so the herbs can infuse the grains and vegetables. While it’s best served chilled, this is a great salad for picnics or other outdoor gatherings because it is dairy-free so safe at room or even warmer temperatures. You can serve this on its own, with pita bread, or as a side dish for this fabulous shawarma-style chicken and potatoes.


  • 1 cup (250 mL) bulgar (cracked wheat)
  • 2 cups (500 mL) boiling water
  • 2 cups (500 mL) chopped curly parsley
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) finely chopped green onions
  • 1/3 cup (90 mL) chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup (250 mL) diced seedless (English) cucumber
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) olive oil, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/3 cup (90 mL) freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) freshly-ground black pepper


  • Place bulgar in a large, heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over top and stir. Let sit, uncovered, for one hour. Drain in a sieve, pressing down on bulgar to extract more moisture. Transfer to a serving bowl or storage container large enough to hold bulgar and all the chopped herbs and vegetables.
  • Add the parsley, onions, mint, tomatoes and cucumber to the bulgar.
  • Place 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small heatproof bowl (or a tiny pot). Add the minced garlic and heat for a minute or so, to par-cook the garlic and take away any harsh flavour. Set aside.
  • In a 1 cup (250 mL) canning jar with a tight lid, shake together the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add the garlic and oil mixture plus the remaining olive oil and shake again. Drizzle over the bulgar mixture and stir gently to combine. Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour before serving.

Serves 6 – 8.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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