Bring home the flavor of Real Tabbouleh, made with bulgur and parsley just like Greek Restaurants.
Traditional Tabbouleh Salad recipe, made with bulgur (whole grain cracked wheat), tomatoes, herbs, and olive. With delicious distinct flavor of parsley, this Greek Restaurant staple is must-try once in lifetime. Bring to potluck, pack for lunch, or serve on side with favorite Mediterranean Meal.. This salad fits perfectly in all roles. (make-ahead up-to 5 days.)
This Tabbouleh recipe is special for two reasons. 1) it is made with whole grain cracked wheat formally known as bulgur, 2) It is the real Tabbouleh served in Greek restaurants.
We have tried all kind of tabbouleh Salad over the years - Quinoa Tabbouleh, Cauliflower Tabbouleh but Bulgur Tabbouleh was since long on my to-share-on-blog list. Last week when I served Za'atar Chicken with Feta Potatoes and Tabbouleh... I thought, this is The time to introduce you to flavors of real tabbouleh.
What is Tabbouleh?
Tabbouleh is mostly known as a Middle Eastern Bulgur Salad. However, in reality, more than bulgur, Tabbouleh is a Parsley Salad. A good made Tabbouleh should have distinct flavor of parsley. With more herbs to enhance the freshness such as mint and oregano (my favorite). Like I say for my Chicken Souvlaki recipe, there is no Souvlaki without Oregano. Like wise, there is no Tabbouleh without parsley.
So, Tabbouleh is Parsley Salad with base of whole grain cracked bulgur, tomatoes, onion, olives and delicious lemon-olive dressing. That's it. You might wonder, how such humble ingredients yield such delicious salad. I say, it is the magic of herbs, my friends.
Herbs and spices can make a simple salad, the best salad ever! Continue with me on my herb/spice journey and you will never be eating boring again!
Note on Parsley: Traditional Tabbouleh usually is made with flat leaf Mediterranean parsley. I, however, use herbs from my little patio garden and it grows curly parsley in abundance. So, I end with curly parsley in every recipe. Please feel free to buy Flat Leaf Parsley if you headed to store to buy Tabbouleh ingredients.
To make a good tasty Tabbouleh Salad at home, I make sure of three things:
1. Perfect Cooked Bulgur: Bulgur is cracked wheat, very common ingredient in many Middle Eastern-style salads. It is cracked whole grains of wheat and not processed or refined. So, bulgur is good source of whole fiber.
When cooking bulgur for Tabbouleh, it should be cooked al-dente, not mushy (no trace of water hanging-in). Bulgur that you can fluff like rice is the perfectly cooked bulgur for Tabbouleh. There are two ways to cook Bulgur for tabbouleh.
1) Fast Method: This is most common in my kitchen. I bring water to rolling boil with seasoning such as garlic clove, salt. Then, add wheat and cook on medium for 10-12 minutes or until all water has been absorbed. Fluff with fork when done. Pros: Super quick. Cons: Needs to keep a check on bulgur. When it it done, take off and leave aside. Don't let catch at bottom.
2) Slow Method: This method works best when I have time until dinner, but no time to perch on stove. I bring water to rolling boil with seasonings. Add bulgur. Stir well. Cover with tight lid and leave aside for 2 hrs. In this time bulgur absorbs all water and are perfectly cooked by 2 hrs, ready to use in any salad.
Note: Both methods are detailed in directions. You can also use stock instead of water for more flavor.
2. Delicious Lemon-Olive Oil Dressing: My secret to delicious lemon-olive oil dressing is oregano. I feel oregano is heart of Mediterranean herbs. A little goes long way and the flavor it adds is, amazing. I emulsify fresh juice of lemon, extra virgin olive oil, oregano, salt and black pepper. Well prepared bulgur absorbs flavor from dressing without getting soggy adding perfect citrus bite, earthy oregano flavor and shine of olive to cooked bulgur grains.
3. Fresh Herbs: Use fresh parsley and mint. These two bring out the real Tabbouleh taste. Use good quality black olives for that delicious briny flavor (my personal favorite).
Gluten Free Tabbouleh
Bulgur is not gluten free. For gluten free, you can replace bulgur with non-gluten ancient grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, or even crushed Cauliflower. I have shared two recipes in past for gluten free tabbouleh. Quinoa Tabbouleh, Cauliflower Tabbouleh
How to Serve Tabbouleh
1. Healthy Lunch To-Go: Tabbouleh is great, whole grain, nutrient-rich salad to pack for lunch. It stays good in refrigerator for more 2-3 days. So, you can make ahead and serve multiple-times a week.
2. Nutritious Dinner Side: When we make grilled or roasted chicken for Sunday dinner.. Specially when I'm making spiced roasts such as Chicken Souvlaki, or Za'atar Chicken, Tabbouleh is often on the side.
3. Potluck Favorite: I often serve Tabbouleh in BBQ or Potluck gatherings. It is a lite salad that stands well. Can be served cold or at room temperature. Plus it does not get soggy when sitting too long outside.
Have a wonderful day! -Savita x
- 1/2 Bunch Parsley (*read notes)
- 1/2 Bunch Mint (fresh leaves only, small chopped)
- 1 Cucumber (**read notes)
- 1 Shallot Onions (or 1/4 red onion, small diced)
- 3 tbsp Lemon (juice, 1 large lemon)
- 1 Garlic (clove)
- 1/2 Cup Olives (black, pitted and small diced)
- 2.5 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp Oregano
- Salt and Black Pepper
- 1 Cup Cracked Wheat (Bulgur Wheat)
- 2-3 Tomatoes (firm and ripe large tomato, about 1 cup when diced)
1. Cook Bulgur: Quick Method: In a sauce pan add 1.5 cup water, 1 garlic clove, 1/4 tsp salt. Bring to boil, add bulgur, stir well, turn stove to medium and cook for 10-12 minutes or until all water has been absorbed. Once done, cover and leave aside. Until no trace of liquid remains (15 minutes). Fluff with fork before using. Additional Notes: Slow Method: In a sauce pan add 1 cup water, 1 garlic clove, 1/4 tsp salt. Bring to boil, add bulgur, stir well, take off heat. Cover and let stand for 2 hours (Until no trace of liquid remains). Fluff with fork before using.2. Prepare Tabbouleh Ingredients: In meantime prepare Tabbouleh ingredients. Give special attention to parsley and mint. Work in batches, chop both herbs as fine as possible for good texture of salad. I also make sure to get rid of seeds of tomatoes and only use diced pulp for salad.
3. In wide bowl, add lemon juice, olive oil, dried oregano with 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of black pepper. Whisk to emulsify. Now add cooled and fluffed bulgur. Add diced vegetables and herbs: tomatoes, parsley, mint, olives, and onion. Fold gently to mix dressing from bottom with all ingredients. Taste and adjust salt/black pepper/lemon juice. For best flavor, refrigerate for 30 minutes.4. Serve with grilled pita or drizzle of Tahini Sauce. (recipe in notes) Enjoy!
*Parsley: Only use fresh parsley leaves, small chopped. Traditional Tabbouleh usually made with flat leaf Mediterranean parsley. I, however, use all herbs from my little patio garden that grows curly parsley in abundance. Please fee free to pick Flat Leaf Parsley if you headed to store to buy ingredients.
**Cucumber: It is not a required ingredient but adds fresh crunch to salad, goes well with Middle Eastern flavors and offers one serving of veggies. If using cucumber, I recommend to either discard seeds. or use 1/2 hothouse or 2-3 Persian, seedless, small diced.
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