The Ultimate Kale Tabouleh

June 11, 2022

One of my favorite Middle Eastern dishes is the classic Tabouleh salad, and just when I thought it couldn’t get any better: it did. This is The Ultimate Kale Tabouleh, made with one of my favorite ingredients – kale – instead of the traditional parsley. It is naturally dairy-free, vegan-friendly, and is so delicious whether paired with a dish like kebabs, or eaten alone!

A large bowl of the kale tabouleh salad, with fresh lemon wedges and a wooden spoon sticking out of it

Friends, anytime that I get to share a Middle Eastern and/or Armenian recipe with you, it makes my heart absolutely leap! For those of you who don’t know, I am fully Armenian, and grew up with my dad cooking me the best Armenian food. I’m talking kebabs, hummus, and of course, tabouleh. To this day, it’s still my favorite comfort food, and whenever I go back home, I can’t wait to indulge in it.

So, when my new friend Hourik messaged me with her KALE TABOULEH recipe, I knew immediately that it would be my new favorite thing. In fact, when I tried it, my mind was absolutely blown. And with her permission, I am so excited to share it with you. After all, a kale version of my favorite Middle Eastern salad recipe? It’s truly too good to be true.

After all, with my name being Kalejunkie, I of course love a good kale salad! If you tend to buy your kale in bulk, like I do, then you not only need to 1. Run to your kitchen and make this recipe ASAP, but 2. You need to try some of my other kale salad recipes that I just know you’ll fall in-love with. My brand-new Hillstone Emerald Kale Salad, as well as my OG Ultimate Kale Salad with Creamy Tahini Lemon Dressing, are two of my fan-favorite recipes.

What Exactly is Tabouleh?

If you’ve never had tabouleh before, then friends, you need to RUN to your kitchen and make this recipe ASAP! Tabouleh is a Middle Eastern salad that is said to have originated in Lebanon or Syria, but has become a staple of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking.

It’s a very simple salad that is comprised of tons of fresh herbs, veggies, a simple vinaigrette of olive oil and lemon, and bulgur wheat or sometimes semolina. It’s light, it’s healthy, it’s filling, and while it’s traditionally eaten as an accompaniment to another dish, it can absolutely be eaten on its own.

Since it contains bulgur wheat, tabouleh is not gluten-free. However, if you are looking for a gluten-free alternative, I highly recommend trying my Grain Free Tabouleh Salad!

And if you love a little *something more* with your tabouleh? Try pairing it with my Beef Kofta Kebabs for a well-rounded Armenian dinner!

All of the spices and grains needed to make this tabouleh salad, laid out on a metal tray

What You Need to Make This Delicious Kale Tabouleh

  • Kale: Of course, the star of this tabouleh recipe is the kale! You already know that kale is one of my favorite ingredients. After all, I am the Kalejunkie!
  • Roma Tomatoes: Tomatoes are an essential ingredient to any tabouleh recipe, and Roma tomatoes add brightness, color, and the perfect acidic pop.
  • Bulgur: And as mentioned earlier, bulgur is also an essential ingredient when it comes to making tabouleh. If you’ve never had bulgur before, it’s a tiny, grainy, cereal-like product that is made of wheat. It’s delicious and filling, and tastes so good in tabouleh!
  • Green Onions: Green onions are an essential tabouleh ingredient that adds brightness, flavor, and texture. In this recipe, you’ll use both the whites and the greens!
  • Fresh Mint: Fresh mint is a… well, refreshing addition to any salad recipe, but especially tabouleh!
  • Green Pepper or Jalapeño: To add a little bit of a kick, we’ll be adding some peppers. You can use either green pepper or jalapeño in this recipe – either work well!
  • Lemon Juice: A squeeze of fresh lemon juice adds the perfect amount of brightness and acidity.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil is a MUST when it comes to tabouleh, and I highly recommend not substituting it out. The flavor it gives the dressing is unlike any other oil, and truly does impact the overall flavor.
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper: A little pinch of sea salt and black pepper brings this salad to life!
  • Dried Mint: In addition to fresh mint, we’ll also be using dried mint. When it comes to tabouleh, you can never have enough mint!
  • Baharat: If you’ve never heard go baharat, it’s a blend of spices that can be found in many different Middle Eastern dishes. If you don’t have it on-hand, don’t worry – you can substitute it with a blend of some common kitchen spices! You can see the recipe card below for exact details. 🙂
  • Cayenne Pepper: A little bit of cayenne pepper adds the perfect kick!

How to Make This Simple & Easy Tabouleh Salad

Making this tabouleh salad consists of taking a few small steps that make a big difference. The first main step is to prepare your kale, and I recommend following the directions EXACTLY to ensure that your kale is prepared properly.

But before you prepare the kale, you need to moisten the bulgur so it gets soft and tender. This is easy; simply place the bulgur into a bowl with the lemon juice, salt, and spices and let sit.

Then, turn your attention to the kale. Wash your kale thoroughly and remove the leaves from the stems. Discard the stems (or save them for a later dish), and place the leaves into a bowl of water and let soak for one hour.

Once the hour is up, remove the kale leaves from the bowl and rinse them once more, so all the dirt is removed. Then, place them into a salad spinner and spin them dry.

Place your kale into a food process and process until it breaks apart into small pieces, then pour those pieces into the bowl with the bulgur. Then, chop your tomatoes, green onion, and fresh mint, and place them in the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.

When you’re ready to eat, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and toss to combine. You can taste and adjust the lemon and sea salt as desired.

Serve immediately, or store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. Enjoy!

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a rating below! And of course, since I practically live on Instagram, tag me in your creations so I can see them and repost on my IG stories! Enjoy! xx

** Photography by Bea Moreno
A large bowl of the kale tabouleh salad, with fresh lemon wedges and a wooden spoon sticking out of it

The Ultimate Kale Tabouleh

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Nicole Modic
SERVES 4 Servings
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One of my favorite Middle Eastern dishes is the classic Tabouleh salad, and just when I thought it couldn't get any better: it did. This is The Ultimate Kale Tabouleh, made with one of my favorite ingredients – kale – instead of the traditional parsley. It is naturally dairy-free, vegan-friendly, and is so delicious whether paired with a dish like kebabs, or eaten alone!

Ingredients

For the Salad:

  • 1 Bunch Kale clean and chopped
  • 6 Roma Tomatoes diced small
  • 1/2 Cup Bulgur moistened
  • 1 Bunch Green Onions chopped thin
  • 1/2 Bunch Fresh Mint chopped fine
  • 1/2 Green Pepper or 2 Jalapeños diced small

For the Dressing:

  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Sea Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Mint
  • 1 Teaspoon Baharat if you don't have baharat, you can substitute with 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon cardamom

Instructions

  • Start by moistening the bulgur; place your bulgur into a large bowl along with the lemon juice, salt, and spices.
  • Next, chop the tomatoes, green onion, and mint, and add them to the bowl with the bulgur.
  • Then, prepare your kale. Wash your kale thoroughly and separate the leaves from the stems. You can discard the stems, or save them for later.
  • Place your kale leaves into a bowl and cover with water. Soak for one hour, until the dirt starts to gravitate towards the bottom.
  • Then, once the hour is up, rinse your kale once more and place it into a salad spinner and spin dry.
  • Add your dry kale to a food processor and process until it breaks apart into small pieces.
  • Finally, add your kale to your bowl and mix well.
  • Right before serving, add in the olive oil. If preparing this salad for later, wait and add the olive oil until you're ready to serve.
  • Taste and adjust lemon and sea salt to your liking.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

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in your posts and I’ll re-share!

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  1. I can’t wait to make this. Your salad recipes are always awesome. I don’t have bulgur at home right now, but I do have farro and pearl couscous. Do you think either would make a good sub? Thanks!

    • Hi Colleen, thank you for the sweet words, and for reaching out! While this recipe has not been tested with either substitute, both should work fine. I would recommend the pearl couscous if you are going in that direction! Or, you can always try my grain-free Tabouleh recipe: https://kalejunkie.com/grain-free-tabouleh-salad/

      I hope this helps!