I remember the first time I had tabbouleh.

My boyfriend, Rob, and I were living in Spain. While investigating an Eastern European grocery store, we found some bulgur. Rob knew what it was, I didn’t. We decided to buy a bag to try it as I had never eaten bulgur before. We made a tomato and bulgur soup out of the grain at first, which as tasty, as we didn’t really know what to create with it. Then it occurred to Rob to make tabbouleh with it. I had never had tabbouleh before; he explained what the dish was to me and I said I would like to try it.

As we looked up recipes online we saw that while the majority of the ingredients were consistently healthy (parsley, tomatoes, cucumber), there was always the ingredient that we most definitely did NOT want to include: olive oil. Oils in general are calorically dense and not nutritionally dense. We simply omitted the olive oil (and salt) from an otherwise simple and healthy recipe when we found no recipes that fit our standards. I had no previous experience to compare the taste of this tabbouleh to and I thoroughly enjoyed our wholesome middle-eastern dish.

When we have the chance to make tabbouleh again I am sure that I will be reminded of our lovely time in Madrid, Spain when we had access to Dominican Republic bananas, cheap (sometimes free) parsley and an odd range of ethnic foods within walking distance.


Tabbouleh is a traditional middle eastern dish. Olive oil is usually an ingredient, but it is easily omitted without sacrificing any flavor and greatly increasing the health value. You can eat this by itself, as a side dish or choose to use it as filling for a wrap.

Vegan and free of added sugar, salt, fat, soy, nuts and seeds.

Reasons to love this recipe: ethnic food, uses fresh produce, can have multiple uses, fresh herbs

Yields 4-5 cups


  • 1/3 cup dry bulgur, soaked
  • 1 cup tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 cup cucumbers, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup mint, fresh and finely cut
  • 1 cup parsley, fresh and finely cut
  • 1/2 cup spring onions, finely diced
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup white wine or balsamic vinegar


Pre-soak bulgur at least an hour ahead of prepping time by combining 1/3 cup dry bulgur and 1 cup water in a container. Allow the grain absorb the liquid. The bulgur will almost triple in size to yield around 1 cup. Drain any excess liquid before using the bulgur.

Chop all ingredients according to their descriptions. Combine tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley and mint in a large mixing bowl with the soaked bulgur. Zest the lemons into the mixture. After zesting, juice the lemon and add the juice to the mixture as well. Finally add the vinegar and toss to distribute ingredients evenly.  Enjoy immediately or chill until serving.

  • Updated 3 years ago
Sara Binde

Sara is a health and nutrition coach. She advocates for a whole foods plant-based lifestyle and teaches the world how to achieve weight loss.