Tabbouleh – Parsley and Whole Grain Salad

Have you made tabbouleh? It’s such a refreshing salad where parsley is a star ingredient, not just a garnish.

tabbouleh in bowl
Parsley, mint, bulgur, quinoa, tomatoes, zucchini in this version.

Also Read: How to Freeze Parsley, How to Cook Whole Grains, No Lettuce Salads

I learned that traditional tabbouleh or tabouli is made with a small amount of bulgur (cracked and parboiled wheat) and a whole lot of parsley – in fact the parsley far out weighs the bulgur. Given this large amount of parsley and the traditional touch of mint, it’s no wonder this salad is often used as a palate cleanser. As such, it makes sense that traditionally it does not include garlic or onions either.

tabbouleh salad on plate
At the heart of tabbouleh is parsley, mint and whole grains. This time I used hulled barley.

Refreshing Whole Grain Salad

I love the idea of making a light refreshing salad with parsley and whole grains as the base. Parsley is an excellent source of vitamin K and Vitamin C as well as a good source of vitamin A, folate and iron. It deserves to have the spotlight once in a while instead of being just a garnish.

While parsley, whole grains and a simple oil and lemon vinaigrette always form the foundation of my tabbouleh, I do take a lot of liberties and switch things up. I’ve used bulgur, hulled barley, wheat berries, quinoa, couscous or some combination of grains. I’ve added veggies like zucchini, cucumbers, sweet peppers, green onions, etc. And I’ve also added greens like chopped kale, spinach, romaine or swiss chard. And, I’ve added chickpeas or other pulses to create a complete protein meal. In my kitchen, improvising and using what you have on hand is always at play.

Tabbouleh with chickpeas and a blend of quinoa and bulgur.

Check out the Christmas salad wreath I made one year. I added diced yellow peppers and chopped kale and spinach to make the green a little more pronounced.

tabbouleh Christmas wreath salad
Still loaded with parsley, mint and whole grains but this time there’s also spinach, kale, yellow peppers and red peppers to make a bow.

Recipe for Tabbouleh

Here’s the general recipe – but go ahead and improvise!

tabbouleh in bowl
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes


Parsley is the main attraction in this refreshing salad. Equally perfect for a summer barbecue or mid-winter pick-me up. Use as a side dish or turn into a full meal by adding chickpeas and other veggies.
Prep : 15 minutes
Servings: 8
Author: Getty Stewart


  • 11/2 cups cooked whole grains (bulgur, quinoa, barley, wheat, couscous)
  • 3 cups chopped parsley
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded & diced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp fresh chopped mint (2 tsp dried)


  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground pepper


  • If you need help cooking whole grains, read How to Cook Whole Grains.
  • In large bowl, toss together cooked whole grains, parsley, tomatoes, green onions and mint.
  • In small jar with tight fitting lid, combine canola oil, lemon juice, salt and ground pepper. Secure lid and shake swell to blend thoroughly.
  • Pour dressing over salad and mix well.
  • Rest for one hour before serving to allow flavors to blend.


This salad is great the next day, perfect for prepping ahead or making extras to last throughout the week.
Add other veggies and greens like peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, kale, spinach, etc.
To make the Christmas wreath, I added 2 cups roughly chopped spinach, kale and baby bok choy and some diced yellow peppers. Sturdy dark greens instead of leaf lettuce will hold the dressing well and won’t get limp or wilt if keeping this salad for a few days. The “bow” I cut out of red peppers – two circles, a square and two slices. Arrange on top of the salad and have fun. 
Tried this recipe?Mention @GetGettyS or tag #GetGettyS

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 535kcal | Carbohydrates: 104g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 186mg | Fiber: 26g | Sugar: 2g | Iron: 5mg
Course: Salad
Cuisine: middle eastern
Keyword: parsley, whole grain salad, whole grains
tabbouleh in bowl
Parsley is the star of the show in tabbouleh. It is an excellent source of vitamin K and Vitamin C as well as a good source of vitamin A, folate and iron.

Why Use Whole Grains?

I look for every opportunity to use whole grains when possible. Whole grains are those that contain all three parts of a grain kernel – the bran, the germ and the endosperm. They offer the most complete nutrition a grain can offer, so when you can, it’s great to use them.

According to Dietitians of Canada “Research shows that people who eat more whole grains may have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers. Whole grains include all three parts of the kernel and are higher in fibre, vitamins and minerals when compared to refined grains and enriched grains.”

Whole grains that work great in this salad include: quinoa, bulgur, whole wheat couscous, brown rice, hulled oats, buckwheat, wheat berries, Freekeh and hulled barley.

parsley salad
This version used hulled barley and included green onions.

If you have a ton of parsley, I highly recommend you give this recipe a try. And when you do, leave a comment or tag me on Instagram @getgettys and Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.

 Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist,  speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas.  She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.

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