Have you made tabbouleh? It’s such a refreshing salad where parsley is a star ingredient, not just a garnish.
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.
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.
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.
Recipe for Tabbouleh
Here’s the general recipe – but go ahead and improvise!
- 11/2 cups whole grains (bulgur, quinoa, barley, wheat, couscous)
- 3 cups chopped parsley
- 2 medium tomatoes, seeded & diced
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 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
- Cook and cool whole grain according to package directions or 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 and parsley to soften somewhat.
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.
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.