Tabbouli is quite possibly our family’s favourite salad – we all love it as it comes, with no changes, for specific faddy eaters! A miracle in this house. Even my husband absolutely loves it. Bursting with goodness and flavour, it is loaded with fresh parsley, fresh mint and packed out with bulgar wheat, tomatoes and spring onions. Finished with olive oil and some tangy lemon juice to balance the sweetness of the herbs and tomatoes, this salad ticks all the flavour boxes. Often served as part of a meze, we mostly eat it with flat breads, hummus and grilled meats or kebabs. I always make a large quantity as we will all be planning on having it for lunch the next day as well.
A classic dish from the Middle East, there are very many recipes (and spellings!) out there but they are all pretty consistent with the ingredients they use, it is the ratios that vary. This recipe is for the proportions we enjoy best as a family but feel free to alter them to suit your tastes.
How to make Tabbouli
You will need:
salt and pepper
The ratio of bulgar wheat to the remaining ingredients is the most variable aspect of this dish. Sometimes it is totally dominated by parsley with very little bulgar and other times the reverse. I believe that traditionally people in more affluent homes were likely to have a salad more laden with herbs whereas in poorer households, the salad would be bulked out with bulgar wheat. My recipe is somewhere in-between.
About 45 minutes before you want to complete making the salad, you need to soak the bulgar wheat in boiling water. Cover and set on one side. When the bulgur wheat is ready, finely chop the spring onions, herbs and tomatoes and mix with the bulgar. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper and dress the salad.
Whilst you can chop everything by hand, I always use my food processor to chop the spring onions and herbs and sometimes the tomatoes as well. Truth be told, I prefer the texture of the tomatoes when chopped by hand but Andrew prefers it when I chop them very small in the food processor. I confess, for ease, I often make it this way but note that a lot of juice will come out of the tomatoes. In order to avoid having too much liquid in the salad, I quickly sieve the processed tomatoes to remove some of the liquid.
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Bursting with goodness and flavour, tabbouli is loaded with fresh parsley, fresh mint and packed out with bulgar wheat, tomatoes and spring onions. Finished with olive oil and some tangy lemon juice to balance the sweetness of the herbs and tomatoes, this salad ticks all the flavour boxes.
Lunch, Snack, Supper
bulgar, bulgur, Mint, parsley, spring onion, tomatoes
100g bulgar wheat
180ml boiling water
20g/3 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
20g chopped fresh mint
50g chopped fresh parsley
100g/2 – 3 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil, or to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste
⅛ teaspoon fine salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Collect together your equipment (see Recipe Notes below) and ingredients.
45 minutes before you want to prepare the salad, put the bulgar wheat into a large bowl and pour over the boiling water. Stir well, cover with cling film and leave until all the water is absorbed.
Chop the spring onion, mint, parsley and tomatoes finely.
If chopping in the food processor add the items to the processor in the following order and process inbetween each addition:
a) spring onions
Remove the spring onions and herbs from the processor and then add the tomatoes and pulse until you reach your desired consistency.
If a lot of liquid comes out of the tomatoes, sieve quickly. You won't need to do this if you have chopped the tomatoes by hand.
Check that the bulgar wheat has absorbed all the water and is soft and then stir together with the herbs, spring onions and tomatoes.
Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, add to the salad and stir thoroughly.