Tabouleh Salad

Tabouleh salad always leads to licked clean plates in our house; basically if we want leftovers for another meal I have to hide some. The dish is typically made with bulgur as the staple grain, but we prefer a lighter version made with couscous instead. The other advantage of couscous is the quick cooking time: a couple of minutes in the microwave and a few minutes cooling and the dish is ready to compose.

Also spelled tabbouleh or tabouli, this Mediterranean salad is a vegetarian’s delight, and consists of a cooked grain tossed with olive oil, onion or green onion, mint, tomatoes, parsley, and lemon juice. Or add any other vegetable you have on hand. I had some orange and yellow peppers so added a few of those. Chopped vine leaves, garlic, and cucumber are often seen additions as well. I have been known to toss in a bit of basil, OK, a lot of basil, which is probably not kosher but is tasty. If it makes you feel better, lower the blinds first and/or call it “couscous salad” rather than tabouleh, so as not to offend the purists. I won’t even tell you about my version with feta cheese?

The proportions vary wildly with “store bought” tabouleh - we have purchased some that was 95% parsley, with a sprinkling of grain making a cameo appearance. We like a more balanced version with plenty of grain, but the choice is yours. Assemble the basic chopped ingredients and mix with the grain until you like the results, then drizzle in the olive oil and finally add lemon juice, salt & pepper to your taste. I was lucky enough to have Meyer lemons on hand which have a sunny robust flavor and less acidity than regular lemons, but any lemon will do. The salad is supposed to taste lemony!

Here’s a suggested starting point re how much of what to incorporate, but feel free to make it your own.


2 cups couscous or bulgur, cooked and cooled

2-4 green onions, or one medium onion, chopped

3/4 cup chopped parsley, flat or curly

1/2- 1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes, seeded and peeled

1/2 cup chopped red, green or yellow sweet peppers - optional

4-5 T olive oil

3-5 T lemon or Meyer lemon juice

Tabouleh Salad on Foodista

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