Are You Looking for a Whole Grain Vegan Recipe for Your Kids’ School Lunches? Try Tabouleh!

Tabouleh is a meatless dish from the Levant that has spread throughout the Arab world, the Mediterranean, and is now popular in the West as well. It was traditionally served as a  mezze (a sort of appetizer served with drinks) as was hummus, another Middle Eastern food that has become a staple in Western households today. Tabouleh is a salad made with vegetables and bulgur.

Bulgur is whole grain wheat that has been steamed and cracked. Many people call it a healthy fast food, because it can be cooked in just minutes. Another way of preparing it is to soak it. A cup of cooked bulgur provides up to 32% of daily fibre for an adult. It’s also a good source of protein, healthy carbs, iron, and vitamin B6.

If you want to make this recipe gluten-free or Paleo, just substitute riced cauliflower for the bulgur.

Tabouleh Recipe

1 cup medium-coarse bulgur wheat
2 cups boiling water

3 cups chopped flat leaf parsley (or carrot tops)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint
2-3 leeks, cleaned well and diced
6 tomatoes, seeded and diced

6 tbsp lemon juice
6 tbsp olive oil
freshly cracked black pepper
few leaves of Romaine lettuce (optional)

Put the bulgur and water into a small saucepan together and stir. Cover and set aside to soak while you prepare the vegetables, at least 15 minutes.

Clean your parsley and mint, and then remove the stems before chopping the leaves finely. (Save them for your next batch of stock!) It’s a large bunch of herbs to prepare, so you might want to use this trick:

Cut off most of the green on the leeks. (Again, keep this part for soup stock.) Clean and dice the leeks. If you aren’t sure how, check out this video. (Note: The video says you need to cook the leek first, but it’s really not necessary with this salad.)

Cut your tomatoes into manageable pieces and remove the seeds. (Save the jelly and seeds to throw into a soup or pasta sauce.) Set the tomato pieces with the skin side down, and chop into dice. Here’s another video, in case you need some help:

Once the bulgur is cool enough to handle, squeeze out any excess water. Add lemon juice, oil and pepper. Mix in the parsley, mint, tomatoes and leeks; stir well.


Get your leafy green #veggies with tabouleh #salad | #mint #freshvegetables
Mint is an important ingredient in tabouleh (Image: boria/Pixabay/CC0 )


Let the salad sit in the fridge a few hours for the best taste. Just before serving, line a plate with a few lettuce leaves, and scoop the salad onto the lettuce. Tabouleh is a beautiful accompaniment for grilled meat or fish. It can also be eaten as a main dish salad. If you want to boost the protein content and miss your meat, try adding a little cheese, some hard cooked egg, or a bit of candied salmon for an easy summertime supper.

Tabouleh makes a great basis for a back to school lunch. Because tabouleh has a portion of whole grains it’s an ideal substitute for sandwiches, and you don’t have to worry about it getting soggy before lunchtime! Tabouleh is just packed with vitamins and minerals for a healthy meal. The low glycemic index of the main ingredients means this little salad can really keep you or your child going until suppertime!

Tabouleh is a refreshing Middle Eastern salad made with herbs, vegetables, and whole grain. It is rich is vitamins and minerals, and also in dietary fibre. Parsley is an excellent source of folate, iron, and vitamins A and C. A portion of parsley counts for a serving of dark, leafy green vegetable – and it provides more than a full day’s amount of vitamin K.



Tabouleh is a traditional Middle Eastern salad made with whole grains. This vegan recipe makes a great back to school lunch! | 24 Carrot Diet
Traditional tabouleh salad made with bulgur is a healthy lunchtime choice



Do bags of carrots languish forgotten in your vegetable drawer until you have to throw them away? Learn to get the most from fresh carrots now! (Graphic made in Canva using a public domain photo by Pixabay user jackmac34)



The poor peanut has been a dietary pariah for decades now..



Green tomato pie is a sweet substitute for apple pie – and it’s a great way to use unripe tomatoes from your vegetable garden! (Graphic made in Canva using a public domain photo by Pixabay user PublicDomainImages)


Original content © 2014-2017 Kyla Matton Osborne, aka #RubyWriter

Graphics made in Canva using a licensed photo from cyclonebill/Flickr/CC BY SA 2.0
First published by the author in August 2014 on Bubblews
Last updated 07/09/2017

This article was published on my food blog, 24 Carrot Diet. If you are reading this content anywhere else, it has probably been stolen. Please report it to me so I can address any copyright infringements. Thank you!

27 thoughts on “Are You Looking for a Whole Grain Vegan Recipe for Your Kids’ School Lunches? Try Tabouleh!”

    1. There are so many aspects of food preparation that we’re never really taught – like cleaning a leek! Once we know how it becomes so much easier 🙂

    1. I love that you love it, but I hope you don’t mean you’re copying and pasting to somewhere public! You can easily share by pinning, emailing a friend, or using one of the other social media sharing options. Thanks!

        1. Sorry if I jumped to conclusions! By all means, copy for your personal use. I’ve just known a few too many people who didn’t realize copy & paste was not such a friendly thing to do when sharing content 🙁

          1. No I completely understand, I should have worded it better!! Newbie to blogging so didn’t think of the context as I excitedly typed!! Credit always were credit is due 😀

    1. you’ll have to let me know how it turns out for you, Julie! I love to eat tabouleh as a main dish at lunch too 🙂

    1. It’s a delicious dish, Michelle. I hope you’ll enjoy it. My girlfriend introduced me to tabouleh in college, and it’s been a favourite salad ever since!

  1. This dish looks so yummy!! I love how it came be eaten as an accompaniment to a main dish or all by itself.

    1. I love to serve it with a three bean salad. It’s a great option for a meatless Monday! Lots of nutrients from the veggies and the parsley, and the legumes and feta cheese in my bean salad help to provide extra protein. It’s a very well-balanced meal 🙂

    1. Lauren, it’s one of the few recipes I know that uses so much parsley – which is a really healthy food! If you like rice or pasta salads, chances are you’ll love tabouleh too 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. Let me know how your tabouleh turns out, Chrissa!

  2. This looks really good. I am a big salad eater so I am going to have to try this one.

    1. It’s so delicious! Some people substitute couscous for the bulgur, which is also good 🙂

  3. Yummy! Yes I used to make this all the time when I began my vegan lifestyle back years ago ( I backslide but finding my way back 🙂 I leave out the leeks/ onions because my tummy can no longer tolerate them.

    1. I’m sure you can replace them with something else to boost the flavour. A little extra mint, or some basil, maybe?

    1. Oh, it is! I have to make some again soon. When I make a batch I can eat it for several days in a row, and not get tired of it 🙂

    1. Have you ever eaten tabouleh, Diya? I was introduced to it by some dear friends when I was at college. I have loved to eat it ever since, but I generally won’t buy it in a store or order it in a restaurant (unless it’s a Middle Eastern eatery, of course!) I find much of the commercially produced stuff is dry and tasteless. Not like the real thing at all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.