A classic Tabbouleh

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While working on a private cooking job over the season, I needed to make a plethora of salads for my client, one which I got to make a couple of times and one which I really love is tabbouleh. It compliments a green salad so well and is laced with flavour. If for some reason you don’t finish it all, it lasts well in the fridge for a few days. The flavour actually improves with time, so it is ideal to make this a day in advance.

It’s a classic Middle Eastern vegetarian salad made from bulgar wheat, and I enjoy this recipe from Ina Garten and is a brilliant base recipe, I added celery and a little more lemon juice and red wine vinegar at the end as I felt it needed a bit more acidity. Just taste and test as you go, adjusting the seasoning and ingredients as you see fit.

And in case you were wondering, there seem to be multiple spellings of bulgur wheat – also bulgar and bulghur. Seems all are acceptable.

A tabbouleh recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Makes 1 large salad | serves 8

  • 1 cup bulghur wheat
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice about 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons salt ( I love a sea salt like Maldon)
  • 1 cup finely sliced spring onions, white and green parts – about 1 big bunch
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (1 bunch)
  • 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (1 bunch)
  • 1 English cucumber, unpeeled, seeds removed, and diced
  • 2 – 3 celery stalks finely sliced or diced
  • 2 cups cherry/rosa tomatoes, cut in half or quartered if they are bigger
  • 1 – 2 T of red wine vinegar
  • extra lemon juice, salt, and pepper for seasoning

Add the bulghur wheat, hot water, salt, olive oil, and lemon juice to a bowl and let it stand covered for around an hour or two until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Add the remainder of the ingredients, adjust the seasoning, and stir. Set aside in the fridge until you are ready to serve.


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  1. Been wanting to make this for a while and this recipe looks fab. Thank you! Going to be a great salad to take as a packed lunch to work… Yum x

  2. Jinne! It looks good. Healty

  3. Thanks Elamrie, you will feel positively angelic after eating this 🙂

  4. Hi Dans, *waves from Cape Town* – yes you will love this and perfect to have for lunch boxes. You can then add all sorts of other bits and pieces that you may like. Perhaps cheese?

  5. I love bulgur. There was a time in my life I went almost every two days to this cute little vegetarian restaurant just to have it.

  6. Great and healthy recipe, Sam!! (reading about food trends for 2013 it seems like grains are going to be hot!)

    But, ….. I just love that plate! Where did you get it!!?

  7. Hi Suzanne, I guess you will have to make it with rice or barley as a substitute?

  8. Hi Zirkie, yes it seems all things vegetarian and vegivore are big for 2013, which suits me down to the ground. I got my plate at my usual prop shopping spot, and indeed was a lucky find 🙂

  9. Hi Alex, its awesome to make and keep in the fridge for a week of lunches. It keeps so well if yo use very fresh ingredients.

  10. Sam, unfortunately rice and barley are grains. I could probably process cauliflower until it resembles grains. I used that to make a pizza base and it worked.

  11. Sadly, this is what Americans think tabbouleh is. Tabbouleh is parsley salad with bulgar wheat, not the other way around. It is obvious from the picture that there is not anywhere near enough parsley. Add more parsley and mint and it should be a good salad.

  12. Hi Veronica and thanks for your feedback. It’s still a good salad, but maybe not as authentic as you would like. Best Sam

  13. You can’t please everybody. It looks amazing. 🙂

  14. Thanks Kate

  15. I am so happy I found you, Sam, and saw this recipe. I am home with a workman in the house and couldn’t run out to get bulgar wheat, so had to make do with white quinoa. I had everything else and am now eating a beautiful and healthy lunch. I can’t wait to try it with the bulgar. It’s an inspiring recipe that I think allows for all sorts of variations. Thank you!

  16. Hi Jane, IM so glad you found my recipe too and your version sounds delicious

  17. marsha watson says:

    I am Armenian, so have had lots of tabbouleh. This was excellent! While it is not traditional, I much prefer this light version, to the more typical version which is heavy on parsley and light on bulgur. It’s perfect for a summer salad and my family loved it too.

  18. I’m glad you enjoyed this Marsha & thanks for letting me know

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