Taboule oriental salad

Taboule oriental salad is a perfect symphony of freshness and tradition in a bowl. The refreshing salad, a medley of finely chopped fresh herbs, plump tomatoes, zesty onions, and sweet raisins, all mingling with the nutty goodness of soaked bulgur and a crescendo of a lemon dressing, quickly became famous all over the world.

Originally a Lebanese culinary gem, it spread its wings all over the world and showed up in hundreds of variations.

Join us on our explorations of the Middle Eastern kitchen and learn how to make this absolutely delightful salad with an extremely easy recipe right at home.

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The colorful journey of taboule

Taboule (or Tabbouleh) originates in the Lebanese and Syrian mountains and is known to have been prepared by the Levant people far back in history, even 4,000 years ago. The name taboule comes from the Arabic word ‘taabil,’ meaning to season or to spice.

Although taboule remains a Lebanese national dish, this popular Middle Eastern salad is eaten in many countries. The core ingredients stay consistent, and cultural and regional differences are reflected in variations of preparation and ingredients.

In Armenia, taboule is called “Eetch” and “Tambouli” in Cyprus. Turkish “Kisir” often features finely ground bulgur wheat mixed with tomato paste, red pepper paste, chopped tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and parsley. The salad is seasoned with olive oil, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, and a blend of spices such as red pepper flakes and cumin.

In Israel, it includes chopped bell peppers and various fresh herbs beyond parsley, such as cilantro and dill. The easy-going French love to replace bulgur with couscous, which somewhat shortens the time of preparing.

taboule oriental in a bowl with tomatoes, parsley and mint

Why taboule oriental salad?

  • Because it’s healthy. Taboule is made with a variety of fresh and wholesome ingredients, such as parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumbers and raisins.
  • The combination of parsley, mint, vegetables, a tangy dressing and sweet raisins creates a vibrant and refreshing flavor that tastes incredibly delicious. You can experiment with different herbs to create a version that suits your preferences.
  • It’s easy and quick to make. Taboule is really simple to prepare; all it requires is chopping and mixing.
  • Taboule’s light nature makes it an ideal choice for a refreshing lunch in warm weather or as a side dish for other meals. You might want to serve it with Turkish tantuni wraps, and it also pairs with beef stew, fried chicken or breaded mushrooms.
  • Taboule oriental salad is naturally vegetarian and vegan and is often served at gatherings and events due to its attractive appearance and ability to feed a crowd.

From mint to bulgur: must-have ingredients for oriental taboule

gathering ingredients for taboule oriental: organic bulgur, parsley leaves, mint, tomatoes, cucumber, an onion, lemon, raisins, salt and black pepper

BULGUR – We used organic whole-meal bulgur in this recipe; however, some people prefer to make taboule with couscous. Although couscous is quicker and easier to prepare, please keep in mind that bulgur is a much healthier choice,

Bulgur and couscous might seem similar, but they’ve got distinct traits. While bulgur is made by cooking and cracking wheat kernels, couscous isn’t a true grain – it’s crushed durum wheat semolina rolled into tiny beads.

TOMATO – You can use either heirloom tomato or cherry tomato for taboule salad. Try to opt for quality and ripe tomatoes, as they will add a lot of aroma to the taboule salad.

CUCUMBER – One sliced cucumber in the salad will add freshness and a little bit of crunch to the salad. Their presence adds balance to the dish, making taboule a harmonious blend of flavors.

MINT LEAVES – The aromatic mint leaves bring a refreshing twist that’s like a cool breeze on a hot summer day. They will add gorgeous brightness, and they enrich the earthy notes of bulgur and the juicy flavor of tomatoes perfectly.

PARSLEY LEAVES – A refreshing crunch that complements the tender grains of bulgur and the sweetness of the salad. You won’t believe how well it pairs with raisins.

ONION – A refreshing crunch that complements the tender grains of bulgur and the sweetness of the salad. You won’t believe how well it pairs with raisins.

RAISINS – These tiny gems bring a delightful contrast to the savory mixture of flavors. With each bite, you’ll taste a gentle sweetness that plays harmoniously against the herbal notes of parsley and the tanginess of tomatoes.

OLIVE OIL – If possible, opt for cold-pressed organic olive oil. When olive oil is cold-pressed, the olives are gently squeezed at low temperatures, preserving their natural flavors and nutrients. This oil is also much higher in antioxidants.

LEMON JUICE Not only does it provide a refreshing flavor contrast, but it also acts as a natural preservative, keeping the taboule oriental salad vibrant and flavorful.


taboule oriental on the table with fresh cherry tomatoes

How to make taboule oriental salad


STEP 1: The raisins in the oriental taboule taste better if you soak them. It takes about an hour to soak them partially before adding them to the salad, and the rest will be done by the salad itself.

STEP 2: Prepare a pot with water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and add bulgur. Cook for about 15 minutes, then set aside to cool to room temperature.


STEP 3: Wash parsley leaves, shake off the water and chop them. Repeat the process with fresh mint.

STEP 4: Dice the tomatoes, cucumber, and onion into small, bite-sized pieces. If you are using cherry tomatoes, slice them into halves.

STEP 5: In a large bowl, combine the cooled bulgur, chopped parsley, mint leaves, diced tomatoes, cucumber, and onion.

mixing the vegetables, bulgur, spices with mint leaves and parsley leaves


STEP 6: Add salt and black pepper according to taste. Fresh lemon juice and olive oil.

STEP 7: Drizzle the lemon juice and olive oil over the salad. Use a large spoon or your hands to gently toss everything together, ensuring the dressing coats all the ingredients.

STEP 8: Set aside for about 20-30 minutes before serving. Taboule oriental salad will taste much better if you give the flavors a chance to fuse together with bulgur.

image showing freshly made taboule oriental in a bowl

Things worth remembering

  • Taboule oriental salad will taste better and will also be healthier when prepared with organic olive oil.
  • Did you know that chilling tomatoes might affect their aroma? Here’s the deal with cooling tomatoes – it could actually tone down their taste! Those flavor-packed compounds they’ve got are not fans of temperatures below 12°C (53.6°F). You should keep the tomatoes in the refrigerator only if you mean to cook them.
  • Keep in mind that parsley is the main ingredient in the salad, so be generous with it. Besides the freshness that it adds to the salad, parsley leaves are also a real health supporter! Packed with antioxidants, parsley defends against stress in your body and might lower cancer risks. Plus, it helps maintain and build your bones with quite impressive loads of vitamin K. Feeling puffy? Parsley’s a natural diuretic, helping beat bloating and keeping blood pressure in check. Bottom line – don’t save on parsley!
  • The cooked bulgur and raisins will soak the taste and aromas of other ingredients; that’s why the salad will taste much better when you give it enough time to settle. In fact, serving it the next day will make it beyond delicious.
image showing taboule oriental salad with raisins and cherry tomatoes in the background


Store taboule oriental salad in the refrigerator for up to three days.

It should be stored in an airtight container or bowl covered with plastic foil.

We don’t recommend freezing taboule salad; it’s so simple to make that freezing makes no sense. Cucumbers in the salad might release a lot of liquid while being thawed, and all the rest of the ingredients in the salad are best when prepared fresh.

image showing taboule oriental served on the table with parsley and marjoram leaves in the background

Taboule oriental FAQs

Can I add proteins to taboule oriental salad?

Yes, if you wish, you can experiment with taboule and add grilled chicken or fish to the salad. A great vegan version of taboule contains chickpeas or beans.

What other spices taste good in oriental taboule?

Some spices that pair well with taboule are turmeric, cumin, sumac and spicy red pepper.

Does taboule contain gluten?

Yes, taboule is made with bulgur (parboiled and dried wheat groats), which contains gluten.

How can I make taboule gluten-free?

If you want your taboule salad to be gluten-free, you can replace the bulgur with cooked quinoa.

Does taboule make you poop?

Although parsley seeds are said to possess some laxative properties, parsley leaves won’t make you poop.

Why does my taboule oriental salad taste bitter?

To fix the bitterness of taboule oriental salad, you might want to:

  • Use less parsley or a milder one.
  • Chop parsley and mint into smaller pieces.
  • Adjust the dressing to make sure the lemon juice is balanced with the oil and other flavors.
  • Use fresh and high-quality ingredients to ensure the best flavors.
  • If possible, remove any bitter parts you can find.
  • Allow the salad to sit for a while, which might help the flavors meld and mellow out any bitterness.
How do you keep taboule salad from getting soggy?

To keep the taboule from getting soggy, you might want to:

  • Salt the tomatoes and cucumber before adding it to the salad
  • Cook the bulgur less time and allow it to soak the moisture from other ingredients
  • Thoroughly dry the parsley and mint before adding it to the salad.
What’s bulgur made from?

Bulgur is a whole grain made from durum wheat. The kernels are boiled, dried, and cracked into different sizes for quick cooking. It’s a nutritious and convenient option for dishes like salads, pilafs, and soups.

Is bulgur healthier than rice?

Depending on your nutritional needs, both bulgur and rice can be healthy choices. Bulgur typically offers more fiber and protein, while rice can provide energy and certain nutrients. If you want whole-grain options with higher fiber and protein, bulgur may be a better choice. However, bulgur is made from wheat and contains gluten, while rice is gluten-free.

Can you eat bulgur raw?

Bulgur is a whole grain made from cracked wheat kernels that have been partially cooked through boiling, drying, and cracking. It still needs to be cooked or soaked in hot water to be fully edible and enjoyable.

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taboule oriental on the table with fresh spices, lemon and tomatoes
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Taboule oriental salad

Easy recipe for taboule – a delicious oriental salad with mint, tomatoes, parsley and raisins
Servings 4
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 2 cups bulgur
  • 1 cucumber
  • 0,8 lb tomato
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 small onion
  • 1,5 cups fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 cups fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper


  • Soak the raisins in a double amount of water an hour before making the salad.
  • Place the bulgur together with a double amount of water and pinch of salt in a pot and bring to a boil. Slowly simmer for another 15 minutes until the bulgur soaks in the water. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • Wash the parsley leaves and fresh mint and shake off the water. Chop into smal pieces.
  • Dice the tomatoes, cucumber, and onion into small, bite-sized pieces. If you are using cherry tomatoes, slice them into halves.
  • In bowl, mix together the bulgur, vegetables, raisins with freshly choped parsley and mint leaves.
  • Add lemon juice and olive oil, together with a pinch of salt and a tsp of black pepper.
  • Using a large spoon or your hands, toss everything together and allow to settle and bulgur to soak all the aromas.
  • Bon apetit!



  • Use fresh ingredients and organic olive oil. Taboule oriental salad tastes delicious with a healthier whole-grain bulgur. 
  • Don’t cook the bulgur for too long to avoid making it too soggy. The tomatoes and cucumbers will release some water, which will be additionally soaked by bulgur. 
  • For a quicker version, use whole-grain couscous. 
  • Don’t spare mint and parsley leaves; these are the ingredients that make taboule salad special from other salads and also bring many health benefits. 
  •  Use room-temperature stored tomatoes; chilled tomatoes from the fridge might lose their aroma over time if stored for longer. 
  • Give the salad enough time to settle, and the aromas of spices and vegetables fully fuse with the bulgur. 
  • Skip the raisins if you don’t like the taste. 
  • Explore different aromas with spices like turmeric, sumac, or flaked chilly. 
  • Keep the salad in the refrigerator for up to three days, ensuring that it’s stored in an airtight container or covered with plastic foil. 
Author: Food nutters
Calories: 415kcal
Cost: $5
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Middle East
Keyword: Middle Eastern, Quick & Easy, salad


Serving: 200g | Calories: 415kcal | Carbohydrates: 80.5g | Protein: 12.6g | Fat: 8.7g | Saturated Fat: 1.4g | Sodium: 627mg | Potassium: 905mg | Fiber: 19.2g | Sugar: 15.3g | Calcium: 184mg | Iron: 9mg

Featured at Creative Jewish Mom

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  1. Helen at the Lazy Gastronome says:

    5 stars
    I love taboule – it always tastes so bright and fresh. Thank you for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party. Hope you have a great week!

    1. Thanks Helen, I love it too that’s why I thought it deserves a post. The aroma of fused parsley leaves, fresh mint, cucumbers and raisins is unbeatable.

  2. 5 stars
    I love taboule! This looks delicious. Pinning this post to save and share it! 🙂 Visiting from Dare to Share Saturday.

    1. Thanks Jennifer!

  3. 5 stars
    This salad looks and sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing at Crazylittlelovebirds link party #2. I hope you will join us again later this week. 🙂

    1. Thanks Stephanie, I hope you like oriental salads and that we ispired you to make it. See you soon!

  4. 5 stars
    You don’t have to sell me on tabouleh- we love it. I have to make mine with quinoa (GF)! I love the addition of the raisins.

    1. Indeed, it’s great with quinoa. Such a refreshing salad, and it pairs with almost everything.

  5. 5 stars
    I am a huge taboule fan – scrumdiddlyumptious
    Thank you for sharing your links with us at #276 SSPS Linky. See you again next week.

    1. See you soon Esme, I’m realy happy you love it 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    this looks delicious and healthy!

    1. Indeed it is, thanks Sherry.

  7. Estelle Forrest says:

    5 stars
    I bet this has amazing flavor! Thanks of sharing on SSPS, hope to see you again next week.

    1. It sure does, I hope I encouraged you to try it.

  8. 5 stars
    LOVE a good tabouli salad! It’s one of the dishes we served at our wedding!

    Thank you for the reminder, I need to make some!

    Thanks for linking up at the Sunday Sunshine Blog Hop 76! SSBH 77 is now open for entries!


    1. That’s beautiful to hear; it’s so easy to make the salad and the taste is so refeshing I never met anyone who wouldn’t love it. And the raisins pair so well with fresh mint and parsley.

5 from 8 votes

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