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7 tabbouleh recipes: Bulgur, quinoa, spicy and more spins on the grain salad

If you've never tried tabbouleh — the wildly popular Middle Eastern herb-and-grain salad—you're in for a treat. Traditionally made with bulgur (a nutty and nutritious whole wheat grain), fragrant flat-leaf parsley and a simple lemon dressing, it's a summertime standby that fills you up without heating up the kitchen. Great as a main-dish salad on Meatless Monday, as a make-ahead picnic or cookout side dish, or even as a quick and easy-to-portion lunch, tabbouleh can take it all on.

Casey Barber

Use the base recipe below, then customize to your taste with add-ins like those suggested below — or create your own favorite combinations! Find bulgur in the supermarket whole-grain aisle or the bulk section, or substitute quinoa for an equally substantial salad that has the added benefit of being gluten free.

Classic Bulgur Tabbouleh
Classic bulgur tabbouleh
Casey Barber
( rated)
Cook time:
Prep time:
6 servings
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Tabbouleh add-ins and substitutions

Give your basic tabbouleh recipe a fresh twist by adding or subbing in any of these ingredients:

1. Quinoa tabbouleh: Substitute quinoa for the bulgur in the recipe and cook according to the instructions above.

2. Mediterranean tabbouleh: Sub in 2 cups basil leaves for half the parsley, or 2 tablespoons oregano in place of mint.

Casey Barber / Casey Barber

3. Spicy tabbouleh: Add 1 thinly sliced Thai or Serrano chili pepper for a blast of spice.

Casey Barber

4. Crunchy tabbouleh: Add 1 cup chopped pistachios, cashews or walnuts for extra crunch (and more filling protein).

Casey Barber / Casey Barber

5. Protein-packed tabbouleh: Add 1 drained and rinsed 15-ounce can of cannellini beans or chickpeas, or 1 1/2 cups thawed edamame for even more protein in each bite.

Casey Barber

6. Super-veggie tabbouleh: Add 1 cup shredded vegetables like broccoli slaw or coleslaw mix, shredded carrots, or shredded kale to boost your veg quota.