Lentil Tabbouleh

5 from 1 vote
45 minutes
Jump To Recipe

Lentil Tabbouleh has loads of fresh herbs, crunchy vegetables, and a lively lemon dressing.  It’s the perfect salad to make and enjoy all summer long. Best of all, it’s gluten-free and packed with fiber and protein!

Lentil Tabbouleh in white bowl garnished with fresh mint sprigs and lemon wedges.

What is tabbouleh (tabouli)?

Tabbouleh (also spelled tabouli) is a Middle Eastern salad generally made with bulgur wheat.  It’s served on Romaine lettuce leaves as part of a Middle Eastern appetizer course known as mezze (or meze) with things like hummus, baba ganoush, olives, yogurt, etc.  There are numerous variations to this classic dish.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

Tabbouleh, whether it’s made the traditional way with bulgur wheat or in different ways with quinoa or cauliflower, is a salad I never tire of– especially in the summer. The flavors in this lentil tabbouleh are as bright as the Mediterranean sun, with fresh parsley, fresh mint, lemon, garlic, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

This lentil tabbouleh recipe is:

  • Healthy! A lentil tabbouleh salad is packed with fiber and plant-based protein.
  • Easy!
  • Gluten-free and vegan.

Let’s make it!

Lentil Tabbouleh in white bowl with serving spoon garnished with fresh mint sprigs and lemon wedges.

How to Make Lentil Tabbouleh:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this lentil tabbouleh salad recipe, along with how to prep the ingredients. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredients for Lentil Tabbouleh in glass bowls on marble countertop.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Lentils: Use dried brown, green or black lentils. While you could also use canned lentils, the texture tends to be a bit soft. Cooking the lentils yourself will be less expensive, and you can cook them to the correct consistency.
  • Tomatoes: Use any tomato; however, plum or Roma tomatoes will not be as watery.
  • Mint: Use spearmint or peppermint. If you’re not a mint fan, use all parsley.
  • Flat-Leaf Parsley: I highly recommend using flat-leaf “Italian” parsley instead of curly parsley. Flat-leaf parsley has a more pronounced parsley/herbal flavor, while curly parsley is used more for decoration.
  • Lemon Juice: Fresh is always best!
  • Olive Oil: No need for “top-shelf” extra-virgin olive oil. I use California Olive Ranch for most purposes.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients.
  • Bring a saucepan of unsalted water to a boil.
  • Add the lentils and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the outside skins begin to fall off and the lentils are tender.
  • Drain in a sieve and rinse with cool tap water to cool the lentils down. Drain well.
Cooked lentils in glass bowl.
  • Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and black pepper to taste.
Dressing for tabbouleh in glass bowl.
  • Combine the drained lentils, tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, parsley, and mint in a large mixing bowl.
  • Pour the dressing over the tabbouleh salad and stir well to combine.
  • Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper and additional lemon juice if desired.
  • Done and delish!
Lentil Tabbouleh in white bowl with serving spoon garnished with fresh mint sprigs, lemon wedges and uncooked lentils scattered about.

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • It’s always a good idea to look lentils over before you cook them because they may contain tiny stones, twigs, shriveled lentils, or other impurities.  You don’t want to bite down on something like that! The best way I have found to do that is to place a handful on a white paper plate and look them over.  Then, use the paper plate as a funnel to pour the lentils into the dish you’re using them in.
  • Lentils are properly cooked for tabbouleh salad when they’re tender, the skins are starting to come off, but they’re not falling apart. The age of the lentils you use has much to do with how fast they cook.  Lentils that have been sitting for a while will need more time to cook because they have dried out.
Lentil Tabbouleh in white bowl with serving spoon garnished with fresh mint sprigs and lemon wedges.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is tabbouleh gluten-free?

Most tabbouleh recipes are made with bulgur wheat, which is not gluten-free. However, numerous options exist to make it gluten-free, like this version with lentils or by using quinoa or cauliflower. Brown rice is another option for a gluten-free tabbouleh.

What is the healthiest type of lentil?

Black lentils, also called beluga lentils because of their resemblance to beluga caviar, are the healthiest. They have a robust and earthy taste, similar to black beans. Black lentils, like French Green lentils, retain their round shape and al dente consistency after cooking, making them an excellent option for incorporating into salads.

Can you make lentil tabbouleh salad ahead of time?

Yes, but for the best flavor, enjoy it within 1 to 2 hours of making it. The tomatoes and cucumbers will make the tabbouleh salad watery. The flavor is mildly diluted, but we’ve enjoyed this salad up to three days after making it.

Lentil Tabbouleh in white bowl with serving spoon garnished with fresh mint sprigs and lemon wedges.

Storage:

  • Keep refrigerated and enjoy within 2 to 3 days.

What to Eat With Tabbouleh:

Tabbouleh is great with almost anything, especially Mediterranean-inspired recipes:

More great lentil recipes you’ll love!

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Lentil Tabbouleh in white bowl garnished with fresh mint sprigs and lemon wedges.

Lentil Tabbouleh

5 from 1 vote

Click to Rate!

By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Lentil Tabbouleh has loads of fresh herbs, crunchy vegetables and a lively lemon dressing.  It's the perfect salad to make and enjoy all summer long. Best of all, it's gluten-free and packed with fiber and protein!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Side Dishes – Salads
Cuisine Mediterranean / Middle Eastern
Servings 6
Calories 290 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups brown or green lentils - looked over for debris or shriveled lentils
  • 6 medium plum tomatoes - or 4 large, seeded and chopped
  • 2 medium English cucumbers - peeled if desired, seeded and chopped
  • 2 bunches thin scallions - white and light green part only, chopped
  • 1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley - finely chopped (approximately 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice - or to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste

Instructions
 

  • Bring a saucepan of unsalted water to a boil. Add the lentils and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the outside skins begin to fall off and the lentils are tender. Drain in a sieve and rinse with cool tap water to cool the lentils down. Drain well.
  • Combine the drained lentils, tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, parsley and mint in a large mixing bowl.
  • Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and black pepper to taste.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and stir well to combine.
  • Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper and additional lemon juice if desired.

Notes

MAKE AHEAD:  For the best flavor, enjoy it within 1 to 2 hours of making it. The tomatoes and cucumbers will make the tabbouleh salad watery. The flavor is mildly diluted, but we’ve enjoyed this salad up to three days after making it.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 290kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 16mg | Potassium: 875mg | Fiber: 17g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1681IU | Vitamin C: 37mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 5mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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4 Comments

  1. This Tabouli recipe sounds delicious. My family loves all things Middle Eastern, so we’ll definitely have to add this to the dishes we make. Thank you!

  2. You had me at Tabbouleh. I love this recipe, and I completely agree this is the perfect summer salad. My family loves it, so I will definitely be trying your recipe. Thanks for sharing!