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Tabbouleh or tabouli is a traditional Lebanese salad full of flavor from parsley, tomatoes, green onions, bulgur wheat, lemon, olive oil, and mint.
This salad is known for its fresh taste and health benefits popular with the Mediterranean Diet.
I say tabbouleh, you say tabouli. Call it whatever you want, at the end of the day it's all the same amazing salad full of fresh clean flavor. I have watched its popularity grow over the years and it's now a fairly common option. There are many great takes on tabbouleh, however, if you're going to have authentic Lebanese tabbouleh you need to know it is parsley-based. Yep, that's right. Parsley. (I have actually had people argue this with me as if I was not Lebanese.)
Parsley seems unusual in western tastes. However, trust me, the flavors all come together and it's works wonderfully. If you're looking for a meal, I would recommend pairing this with my pasta puttanesca or creamy mushroom soup with baby bella's. I know, not Lebanese, but it works.
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, I find the cutting the parsley by hand results in a fluffier salad. To do this, I simply 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 great flavor and the salad will last longer in the refrigerator.
Green Onions - Are really baby onions. They provide a subtle flavor that supports the stars of this show, parsley, and lemon. Thinly slice the onion using the full 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 been having a harder time finding bulgur wheat. I normally buy whatever I can find or have it delivered. If I cannot find bulgur wheat I like to use pearl (Israeli) couscous or quinoa. they are both very different in terms of 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 these as protein to the tabbouleh and make it 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.
- 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.
- Cut the roma tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds (the wet interior). Finally, dice the tomatoes.
- Thinly slice the green onion, including both the white and green parts.
- Finely chop the mint leaves
- Mix the olive oil and lemon juice. This is your dressing
- Mix all the vegetables, bulgar wheat, mint, and dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.