Want to know what my most requested recipe is? It’s this Easy Tabbouleh Salad – a deliciously simple dish to make to take along to a BBQ or pot luck dinner and the perfect accompaniment to my Oven Baked Chicken Shawarma.
Do you have a go to recipe you make when you are asked to bring a salad to a party or barbecue? This is mine. (Actually I have two – the other is my Tuna Rice Salad.) And it is one of those recipes where, whenever I make it, I am constantly asked for the recipe. In fact, it was recipes like this one that became the catalyst for starting this blog (No more writing recipes down – I can just point people in the direction of my blog), so quite how this salad has only just made it to the blog, I’m not quite sure!
Tabbouleh is a lovely Middle Eastern vegetarian salad dish, usually comprised of bulgur wheat (or sometimes couscous), tomatoes, onions and herbs.
I have made this Easy Tabbouleh Salad many times with both couscous and bulgur wheat and I am utterly convinced that the bulgur wheat version is far nicer, in fact I really do think bulgur wheat is far nicer than couscous full stop and usually have it instead of couscous with tagines and other Middle Eastern dishes. If you can’t tolerate gluten, you can easily adapt this by using the same quantity of quinoa instead (or check out my gluten free Pomegranate and Quinoa Tabbouleh).
This is the perfect kind of salad to go with barbecue food – and ideal if you are asked to ‘bring a salad’ – it can be made way ahead of time, if you need it too (in fact it tastes nicer if made the night before, as all the flavours get to mix and mingle), keeps well in imperfect conditions (unlike the mayo covered potato salad that I always worry has been out in the sun just a little too long, or the limp looking lettuce that has gone soggy in its dressing) and is easily transportable – just shove it in a plastic box and you are good to go!
On that point tabbouleh is also brilliant picnic food for the same reason – I often make this for picnics and get a lot of jealous glances when I do! And it is therefore also great for work lunches too – make a big batch of this on a Sunday night and you won’t be sorry – just eat it as it is or add a cooked chicken breast, grilled salmon fillet or crumble over some feta!
Not only does this Easy Tabbouleh Salad go brilliantly with BBQ food, it is also incredibly good as a side dish to Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes such as my Oven Baked Chicken Shawarma that I shared last week – these two dishes together, honestly – match made in heaven. And add in some of my 5 Minute Homemade Hummus and there will be all sorts of plate licking going on (yep, sorry in advance about that – you just won’t be able to help yourself!!).
This recipe is a great free from recipe too as it is dairy free, egg free, vegetarian and vegan friendly AND easy to adapt to be gluten free by swapping the bulgur wheat for quinoa. (Another reason why it goes down so well at parties) and it’s pretty healthy too – full of goodness from the veggies, herbs, olive oil and wholegrain bulgur wheat.
How to cook perfect bulgur wheat
One little note about bulgur wheat – please, please, please ignore the packet instructions, which always tell you to cook the bulgur wheat for waaaay too long, so you end up getting a gloopy mess that sticks to the pan and doesn’t look or taste that great. My method is very simple and results in perfect bulgur wheat every time. Simply place the bulgur wheat in a pan together with double the quantity of boiling water (e.g. in this recipe 200g bulgur wheat, 400ml water), bring back to the boil, clamp on a lid and turn the heat off completely (move off the burner if you are on electric), then leave for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes all the water will have been absorbed and with a quick fluff with a fork you will have perfectly cooked bulgur wheat – easy peasy style!
With this recipe you will need the bulgur wheat to be cold, which can be easily achieved using cold water, or make the bulgur wheat in advance and allow to cool.
- 200g bulgur wheat
- 400ml boiling water
- 150g cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 150g cucumber, diced
- 3 spring onions, sliced finely
- 2 tablespoons mint, chopped
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed or finely grated
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (ideally good quality extra virgin)
- Juice of half a lemon (or more to taste)
- Place the bulgur wheat and boiling water in a pan, place the pan on a high heat and bring back to the boil. Clamp a lid on and turn the heat off completely (move off the burner if you are on electric) and leave for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare all the other ingredients and place in a large bowl. When the bulgur wheat is ready, tip into a fine mesh sieve and run under the cold tap until the bulgur wheat is cool/cold. Ensure the bulgur wheat has drained thoroughly, then add it to the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Transfer to a serving dish (if necessary) and serve. Or place in a plastic box and store in the fridge until needed.
- Alternatively, if you have more time. You can allow the bulgur wheat to cool naturally before adding in the other in the other ingredients.
Want to find more great vegetarian meal ideas? Check out my collection of Easy Peasy Vegetarian & Vegan Recipes…
Want more Middle Eastern Inspired Recipes? Find more here…
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