I can’t remember the first time my mom made tabbouleh, but it was a staple in our house growing up, and it has always been a favorite with my kids. I often struggle getting my kids to eat their veggies, but never with tabbouleh. My husband and I are always shocked by how much tabbouleh my kids will eat, yet it’s a constant battle to get them to eat roasted green beans. What’s up with that?! But hey, I am not complaining. This tabbouleh is packed with so much goodness and it’s so delicious that we never have leftovers.
Tabbouleh is an Arab Middle Eastern dish that is traditionally vegetarian. It is typically a combination of tomatoes, onions, chopped parsley, chopped mint, bulgar, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Our family recipe has all of these traditional ingredients, plus some extras. I think the “extras,” make all the difference!
I love this recipe for so many reasons. I love that I can made it ahead of time and just pull out of the fridge when we are hungry. I love that it is easy to customize. For example, if you don’t love olives, you can omit them without affecting the overall texture or flavor of the dish. If you want it to be vegetarian, leave out the chicken and you still have a tasty and hearty dish.
Tabbouleh makes regular appearances at our dinner table during the summer. It doesn’t require me to turn on the oven and heat up the house. But it is also perfect served with warm rolls in the fall and spring. Truth be told, our family will gladly eat tabbouleh anytime!
Tabbouleh is made using bulgar wheat. Bulgar is a whole wheat grain that has been partially cooked. It’s high in fiber, low in fat, and is the traditional grain for tabbouleh. I buy Bob’s Red Mill bulgar, found in the pasta aisle of our local grocery store.
Tabbouleh is made with mint, and I wouldn’t want it any other way! The mint adds such a distinct and fresh flavor. To get the perfect mint balance, I open up a herbal mint tea bag and pour the whole thing over my bulgar and water mixture. I also add salt, pepper, and dried parsley flakes. This mixture sits at room temperature until the bulgar is soft, usually it only takes an hour or so. I usually start the process in the morning and let is sit on my counter until I am ready to start chopping the veggies.
We add tomatoes, cucumber, celery, green onion, olives (regular or kalamata), cheese (feta is my favorite but my girls like shredded cheddar cheese) and in our house, chicken. I love to use a rotisserie chicken or grilled chicken breast that is chopped into bite size pieces. For the dressing, it’s the traditional combination of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, with the addition of vinegar.
If you are looking for a healthy, hearty, and delicious summer dish, I highly recommend chicken tabbouleh!
- 1 cup bulgar
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 packet (bag) of herbal mint tea
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cucumber (peeled, seeded, and chopped)
- 1 cup chopped celery
- ½ cup chopped green onions
- 1 cup olives (regular or kalamata), more if desired
- Cooked chicken (grilled, baked, or rotisserie) as desired.
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup vinegar (red wine or apple cider)
- juice of one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
- salt and pepper as needed
- Boil water on the stove top or microwave.
- In a large bowl, combine the bulgar and boiling water. Tear open a mint herbal tea bag and pour the whole bag over the bulgar and water. Add the dried parsley, salt, pepper. Put a dish towel over the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour, or until the bulgar has soaked up all the water and is soft.
- Add the chopped tomatoes. Peel, seed and chop the cucumber. (To seed the cucumber, cut it in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a spoon.) Add the cucumber, chopped celery, chopped green onions, olives, and cooked chicken. Stir all the ingredients and add the olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice. Stir again. Give it a "taste test," and determine how much salt to add. Continue tasting and adding salt until you are happy with the taste. Enjoy!