Loaded Tabbouleh Salad

loaded tabbouleh salad in a wooden bowl

Loaded tabbouleh salad takes a traditional Mediterranean cracked wheat salad over the top with juicy tomatoes, olives, and briny feta cheese.

bowl of tabbouleh salad topped with tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese

loaded tabbouleh is the perfect summer salad

This healthy Mediterranean salad is a staple of summer in our house, and we love a classic tabbouleh made with cracked wheat, parsley, cukes and tomatoes. But for a show stopping summer side salad, this loaded version is such fun. Instead of tossing everything together, we arrange colorful add-ins artfully on top. And no mayo means it’s perfect for outdoor eating.

what you’ll need

  • BULGUR WHEAT ~ the is whole wheat kernels that have been crushed or ‘cracked’. It can be cooked like rice, but in this case we’re just going to soak it so it becomes tender but still chewy.
  • PARSLEY ~ this herb gets second billing because it’s so important to this dish. Use at least equal parts parsley to cracked wheat for a refreshing tabbouleh.
  • FRESH MINT ~ try not to skip this, it’s the difference between a so-so tabbouleh, and a rock star tabbouleh.
  • CUCUMBER ~ finely chopped, no need to peel if you use thin skinned English or Persian cukes.
  • TOMATOES ~ instead of folding chopped tomatoes into the tabbouleh we’re using colorful cherry tomatoes on top.
  • RED ONION ~ green onions can be used instead, but red onion has a sweet sharp bite that I love.
  • OLIVES ~ briny oil cured or kalamata are great, just be sure they’re pitted.
  • OLIVE OIL ~ use the good stuff, extra virgin.
  • LEMON JUICE ~ fresh squeezed. Don’t even think about making this with bottled juice!
making a loaded tabbouleh salad

how to soak bulgur ~ method #1

You do not need to rinse bulgur first with either method, although you can if you like.

  1. Measure out the bulgur for a recipe and put in a bowl.
  2. Add boiling water to cover by 2 inches.
  3. Let sit for 30 minutes, then drain off excess water and fluff with a fork.

how to soak bulgur ~ method #2

  1. Measure out the bulgur for a recipe and put in a bowl.
  2. Add the same amount of boiling water.
  3. Let sit for 30 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
tabbouleh salad with colorful toppings

tabbouleh tips and faqs

What’s the difference between bulgur and cracked wheat?

Bulgur is a whole wheat thats been cracked, then par-cooked, dried, and ground. Cracked wheat has not been cooked at all ~ it’s usually cooked like rice.

Do I need to cook bulgur for tabbouleh?

No, for tabbouleh, the bulgur is simply soaked in very hot water to soften it. No cooking necessary.

Can I make tabbouleh with cracked wheat?

Yes, just cook the cracked wheat first, then chill and use in this recipe.

Is tabbouleh healthy?

Tabbouleh is one of the healthiest foods you can eat, in fact every ingredient in tabbouleh, from the whole wheat to the parsley, and olive oil adds something to the nutritious profile of this salad. The bulgur contributes fiber and protein, there’s tons of vitamin C and antioxidants from parsley, mint, and lemon, and heart healthy benefits from olive oil.

how can I make a gluten free tabbouleh?

For a gluten free tabbouleh use cooked quinoa in place of the bulgur wheat. It has a similar texture although it won’t be as chewy. I love my naturally gluten free cauliflower tabbouleh, check it out!

Is tabbouleh low carb?

Bulgur wheat is one of the lowest carb whole grains, this fiber rich complex carbohydrate is absorbed slowly by the body, preventing spikes in blood sugar and keeping you feeling full longer.

How long will tabbouleh keep?

It will keep for at least several days in the fridge.

tossing a tabbouleh salad

more Mediterranean inspired salads…

cracked wheat and parsley salad
loaded tabbouleh salad in a wooden bowl
5 from 5 votes

Loaded Tabbouleh

Loaded tabbouleh salad takes a traditional cracked wheat salad over the top with fresh Mediterranean toppings like juicy tomatoes, olives, and briny feta cheese.
Course Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 6 servings
Calories 239kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 1/2 cup bulghur wheat, soaked (see instructions below.)
  • 2 cups packed, parsley Note: make sure you wash your parsley well to remove any grit.
  • 1/2 cup packed, fresh mint leaves, finely chopped.


  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice Note: adjust the lemon juice to your own liking. You may want a little more.
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste.


  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quarters. Note: I used colorful cherry tomatoes, but all red will work fine, too.
  • 1 small Persian cucumber, finely diced, no need to peel.
  • 1/4 red onion, finely diced.
  • 1 cup pitted olives, any variety, whole or halved.
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese cut in small dice or crumbled.


  • To soak bulgur, put it in a large heatproof bowl and cover with 1/2 cup boiling water. Stir to combine and let it sit for 30 minutes to absorb the water and soften. Fluff with a fork.
  • Finely mince the parsley. You can do this with a knife, or in a food processor. Try to get it as fine and even as you can.
  • Add the parlsley and chopped mint to the soaked bulgur and toss to combine.
  • Whisk together the dressing and taste to adjust to your liking. Add enough to the tabbouleh to moisten well, but don't drown it. Reserve the extra dressing. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  • Before adding your toppings, give the tabbouleh a toss and taste it. Add more dressing or salt and pepper, if needed.
  • Just before serving, top with the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives, and feta. Drizzle lightly with more dressing, and add a few mint leaves for garnish. You can toss at the table if you like, or serve as is.

Cook’s notes

This recipe works well because the tomatoes and cucumbers don’t have to be chilled in the refrigerator, where they become mushy and unappealing. This way they stay fresh and crisp. It’s a beautiful way to present tabbouleh!


Calories: 239kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 513mg | Potassium: 393mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2382IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 125mg | Iron: 3mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    June 10, 2021 at 9:01 pm

    This isn’t tabbouleh. Feta and olives are never used in tabbouleh. Call it a bulgar salad but please do not appropriate the name tabbouleh and then insult the original recipe.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      June 11, 2021 at 5:18 am

      Precisely my reason for calling it ‘loaded’ tabbouleh, I’ve taken a classic salad and tweaked it with extra toppings.

  • Reply
    June 9, 2021 at 7:57 pm

    What about using quinoa instead of the bulgar?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      June 10, 2021 at 5:08 am

      Yes, you can definitely do that.

  • Reply
    June 9, 2021 at 8:33 am

    5 stars
    I have not made this in a Long, Long time. My original recipe came from a paperback book titled “Recipes for a Small Planet”. Another fav is Bulgur Cum Tarragon, Superb for sharing with others.
    I was at a local fresh produce store recently. A mother was buying scads of Parsley. I asked what are you making? With her mid-Eastern Accent she said Tabbouleh! I said all that Parsley? Yes! She was making it for her Family of five, it was to be their Saturday evening meal!
    Where do you get your Bulgur? What Brand do you use, Bob’s Mills? Hard to find in Florida.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      June 9, 2021 at 8:35 am

      I loved Recipes for a Small Planet, it was my bible back in the day! I use whatever bulgur I can find, but Whole Foods 365 brand, and Bob’s Red Mill most often.

    • Reply
      Nancy Shaw
      June 9, 2021 at 9:49 am

      5 stars
      Sue, I have been waiting for the perfect tabbouleh salad recipe and I think I have found it today! Thank you. Will be making yours this week.

  • Reply
    June 9, 2021 at 7:29 am

    Seems like this recipe demands some minced garlic. I make a very similar salad, but I use quinoa instead of bulgur, and I throw in some chickpeas and a splash of sesame oil (and plenty of garlic!) Your salad presentation is so beautiful, and I like how it’s layered instead of all stirred together. Lovely!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      June 9, 2021 at 8:14 am

      Thanks Renate. Garlic would be lovely in tabbouleh.

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