Tabbouleh is one of my favorite dishes.
With so many fresh herbs and veggies, this Mediterranean classic is full of flavor.
Many Mediterranean countries don’t put a grain in tabbouleh, and it becomes more of a side dish. Other countries, including Lebanon, traditionally incorporate bulgar.
I’m definitely a fan of adding a grain to my tabbouleh. I like it to be the main course. But I don’t use bulgar.
My favorite grain for tabbouleh is couscous. Its mild flavor easily takes on the delicious flavors and juices of the herbs and veggies added.
So, unless I’m making gluten-free tabbouleh—in which case I’ll use quinioa—I always reach for the couscous.
The Easiest Tabbouleh Recipe
My Greek tabbouleh is incredibly easy to make.
Literally, all you do is steam the couscous, chop the veggies and herbs, and mix it all together.
The hardest part is waiting 15 minutes before eating.
Which, actually is an important step in the recipe.
Develop the Flavors
The longer the ingredients sit together, the richer the flavors become. I’d go so far as to say that my tabbouleh tastes even better the next day, after the flavors meld together more overnight. Leftovers make an amazing lunch the next day.
That is, if you have leftovers.
This recipe makes a ton, but it never lasts long in our house.
(Especially when we pair it with my hummus recipe.)
There’s nothing about my tabbouleh that makes it particularly Greek: the herbs and veggies in this dish are used all over the Mediterranean. But Greece is at the top of my list of countries I’m eager to visit.
So that’s the name I went with.
Make my Greek Tabbouleh next time you’re looking for a fresh meal that’s filling without being heavy. You won’t be disappointed.
A Few Things!
Chopping Veggies for Tabbouleh
Chopping the scallions, and mincing the cilantro and parsley, is pretty intuitive. But the size for the tomato and cucumber can be harder to visualize.
We want a small chop for both the cucumber and the tomatoes, just as I’ve got in the pictures above and below.
And be sure to use all that tomato juice as well. It adds even more flavor to the dish.
The Smoked Paprika
I add smoked paprika to my tabbouleh.
You can omit this ingredient, but I highly recommend including it. The smoky sweetness complements the fresh herbs and veggies perfectly.
You can find my favorite smoked paprika here on Amazon [aff. link], or in my Amazon store.
The Best Greek Tabbouleh
For the couscous:
- 1 ½ cups couscous
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika, optional, but recommended
For the veggies and herbs:
- 1/3 cup scallion, thinly sliced
- ¾ cup cucumber, small chop
- ¾ cup tomato, small chop
- ½ cup cilantro, minced
- ½ cup parsley, minced
- 1-2 tsp fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Make the couscous
- Add the couscous to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the top. Now sprinkle the salt, minced garlic, and smoked paprika over the couscous.
Boil the water
- In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
- Once boiling, pour the water over the top of the couscous.
Steam the couscous
- Shake the bowl around a few times so that the water is mostly evenly distributed. Put a clean dish towel or plate over the mixing bowl to cover the couscous. Let the couscous steam for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, uncover the bowl, and fluff the couscous with a fork.
Chop/mince the veggies and herbs
- While the couscous cools, chop the veggies and mince the herbs. It really doesn’t matter what order you do this in, but my preferred order follows:
- Cucumber, scallion, cilantro, parsley, tomato. This way, my cutting board stays free of juice (for the most part) until the very end.
- I mix each veggie/herb into the couscous as soon as I have finished chopping/mincing it.
Add the lemon juice
- Once you have added all the veggies and herbs to the couscous, add 1 tsp of lemon juice. Then stir it all together.
Let the flavors incorporate and serve
- Let the couscous sit for 15 minutes. Taste, and add anther tsp of lemon juice, if desired.
- Serve with a side of hummus and enjoy!
I love tabbouleh! Thanks for all your tips and tricks and little twists!
Thank you Jeff! Tabbouleh is definitely a favorite dish in our house!
I love Mediterranean flavors, too, and tabbouleh is a popular one around here. I always crave it in the late winter months (so that’s coming up soon here). I think it’s all of the fresh flavors incorporated in there. No matter the reason, this one is definitely going on the menu soon. I’m craving it now!
Oh I am so with you David! There is something about knowing spring is just around the corner that makes me crave tabbouleh even more! Thanks so much!
Yum! I love the list of ingredients here and including paprika is such a good idea. I can definitely see why you love this so much!
You are so so sweet, thanks Katerina! I absolutely love the little bit of smoky-ness the smoked paprika brings to the dish!
Tabbouleh salad is a summer favorite for us and your Greek version sounds yummy. I’ve not tried tabbouleh with cilantro or smoked paprika, but will for our next tabbouleh.
Have you it ever tried it with cracked freekeh, it’s our go-to tabbouleh grain, but couscous is wonderful as well.
Thank you Ron! Tabbouleh is the perfect summer salad, you are so right! I have never cooked with freekeh before, but I have been meaning to give it a try. I’ll have to follow your lead and try it in tabbouleh next time I make it!
Seriously the best tabbouleh I’ve ever had. Love it with couscous!
this tabbouli was amazing. will be making it all spring and summer, thank you.
That’s great to hear, thanks Jessica!
I’ve never made tabbouleh before, but after making this recipe, I will be making it often! Thanks for sharing!
That’s great to hear, thanks Jennie!