Inauthentic Tabbouleh

A serving bowl of tabbouleh recipe.

This easy whole grain salad recipe barely requires any cooking at all. Just boil water and let the bulgur wheat sit and soak it up! I use fresh vegetables, feta cheese and fresh herbs with a simple dressing to round out the dish. This Inauthentic tabbouleh is a healthy and easy summer side dish or vegetarian main course.

I know many of you are enjoying the first wisps of fall.  You’re hunkering down with a warm bowl of soup and your favorite over-sized sweater, but I’m in South Florida and the mercury is still hovering in the upper 80s here.  

On the weekends, when Scott is manning the grill and the pool beckons, I’d rather not spend the day tied to a stove, so I usually opt for something quick, easy and light, like Inauthentic Tabbouleh.

Inauthentic Tabbouleh | Garlic & Zest

It’s inauthentic because real tabbouleh is so chock full of herbs that there’s barely room for the cracked wheat – and frankly authentic tabbouleh to me, is more like eating grass than salad.

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Inauthentic Tabbouleh | Garlic & Zest

Plus a real tabbouleh doesn’t have tasty things like crunchy cucumbers or briny kalamata olives and chunks of salty feta cheese.

Inauthentic Tabbouleh | Garlic & Zest

I know – it’s not the real thing, but that’s the way I like it!

Inauthentic Tabbouleh | Garlic & Zest
Inauthentic Tabbouleh | Garlic & Zest

The best part about this tabbouleh,  authentic or not, is that the only actual cooking, is boiling the water for the cracked wheat.  Seriously.

Inauthentic Tabbouleh | Garlic & Zest

Pour the boiling water over the bulgur wheat and cover with plastic wrap for about 15 minutes, or until it’s tender.  Strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove any excess water and cool the wheat to room temperature.

Inauthentic Tabbouleh | Garlic & Zest

While it’s cooling, make the dressing and chop up the veg and feta.

Inauthentic Tabbouleh | Garlic & Zest

A bright, lemony vinaigrette (which takes about 5 minutes to make) is an easy way to amp up the flavors in this salad.  That and fresh herbs.  I use parsley, fresh mint and basil – but not as much as you’d normally find in a tabbouleh salad, about 1/3 cup each.

A bowl of tabbouleh with tomatoes, cucumbers and kalamata olives.

Serve this chilled or at room temperature – it goes great with grilled seafood, chicken, pork or lamb!

Serving tabbouleh on a plate.

More whole grain salads you’ll love:

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Inauthentic Tabbouleh | Garlic & Zest
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3.50 from 2 votes

Inauthentic Tabbouleh

Traditional tabbouleh is primarily finely minced herbs with a little grain.  I like it with chunks of veg and a lemony dressing.  Hope you do too!
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword cracked wheat, side dish, vegan
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6


For the dressing

  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon zested
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

For the tabbouleh

  • 1 cup bulgur wheat medium grind
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1 lemon juiced, use the same lemon used for the dressing
  • ½ English cucumber sliced vertically and cut into thin half moons
  • 5-6 Campari tomatoes can use halved grape tomatoes or chopped roma, cut into bite sized wedges
  • 4 ounces feta cheese cut into small cubes
  • ½ cup kalamata olives seeded and roughly chopped
  • 3 green onions white and green parts, sliced thinly
  • cup parsley chopped fresh
  • cup basil chopped fresh
  • cup mint chopped fresh


  • In a small bowl, combine the minced garlic, dijon, vinegar, lemon zest, salt, pepper and olive oil. Whisk to emulsify and set aside.
  • Bring the water to a boil. Place the dry bulgur wheat into a bowl. When the water boils pour it over the bulgur and cover with saran wrap. Set aside for 15 minutes to absorb the water.
  • Pour the bulgur into a fine mesh sieve and set over the bowl to drain any excess water for 5 minutes. Transfer the bulgur to a large mixing bowl and add the lemon juice. Toss to combine.
  • Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, feta, kalamata olives, green onions, parsley, basil and mint. Add the dressing and toss until well combined. Can be eaten immediately, but the flavors will come together more if it has an hour for two to rest. Can be eaten chilled or at room temperature.


Calories: 229kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 603mg | Potassium: 243mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 665IU | Vitamin C: 26.6mg | Calcium: 141mg | Iron: 1.5mg

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  1. eatingbyelaine says:

    5 stars
    This is perfect! I’m making this for a pot-luck dinner! Thank you so much! Love your pictures!

  2. Lucky you. Here in Croatia temperature is dropping like crazy. I love fall but I don’t like cold weather brrr πŸ˜€ I LOVE love loveee bulgur!!! I use it for making sides, salads, I even put it in soups. What can I say, I’m in love with bulgurs nutty taste. Lisa, this salad looks delicious. I come from Mediterranean country so olive oil, olives, and feta cheese are running through my veins πŸ™‚ Sharing of course πŸ˜‰

    1. I guess we all want what we don’t have! I wouldn’t mind a few chilly days here! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Yes – that’s exactly what it is! Now you tell me!

  3. Lisa I think I like your inauthentic version over the authentic one any day of the week. I like the crunch and I could do with the less ‘grass’ like herbs too! Lovely pictures, as always! πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, Tina! I’m glad you approve of the edits I made. I love this because it’s so simple to throw together and goes with just about any protein!

    1. LOL – I included a link to an authentic tabbouleh — so if you want to compare, the difference is pretty dramatic, to me at least.

  4. Scrumptious! Lisa, I love everything about this very creative couscous salad. Thanks.

    1. It’s actually cracked wheat – not couscous – but I’ll bet it would be great with couscous too!