Kale Tabbouleh Salad is a modern twist on the traditional Middle Eastern recipe, using kale instead of parsley along with tomatoes, bulgur, mint, lemon and olive oil
Kale Tabbouleh Salad is such a fresh, flavorful and light summer salad! It’s based on my traditional Lebanese Tabbouleh recipe. All I did was replace the parsley with kale. I also threw in a couple tablespoons of parsley still for good measure. I’m in love with this modern take on tabbouleh, and can’t believe how unbelievably similar it is in taste and texture!
If you’ve wondering what is tabbouleh? It’s basically a Mediterranean salad that’s mostly made up of finely chopped parsley. It’s one of the most popular salads in the Middle East, and it’s often served as part of a traditional mezza that includes other salads and appetizers.
Why kale? Well, kale is far more mild than parsley so the taste is more palatable for most people. Kale tabbouleh a great way for you to try out the traditional recipe using kale as the hero ingredient instead of parsley, which can often be slightly bitter. Plus, when you chop it finely, it looks like parsley!
What do you need to make kale tabbouleh
- Kale – This is the main item you’ll need, and it stands in for parsley. While any type of kale will work for the recipe, curly green kale is best. That’s because it most resembles curly parsley, which is traditionally used in the recipe.
- Tomatoes – I prefer Roma tomatoes, but you can also use vine ripe tomatoes or Compari tomatoes. I would avoid the smaller tomatoes like cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes if you’re trying to keep it on the traditional side.
- Green onions – You can also use spring onions. You’ll only use about two, but you’ll need the entire green and white parts.
- Bulgur – Use fine bulgur – the smallest you can find! Bulgur is sold in four numbered grind sizes. You want to look for #1 which is the smallest grind and kinda looks like couscous.
- Lemon Juice – Always go for fresh lemons, and roll them out before juicing them to release the maximum juice.
- Olive Oil – High quality extra virgin olive oil makes all the difference in the taste.
How to make kale tabbouleh
This kale tabbouleh recipe involves a whole lot of chopping, from the kale, to the green onions to the mint and even the tomatoes. You want to rinse and dry everything well and finely chop all the ingredients.
As you’re prepping the vegetables, you can begin to place everything into a large mixing bowl.
While you’re chopping the vegetables, I recommend that you soak the bulgur in the lemon juice and olive oil. You need to soak the bulgur for it to be palatable. But soaking it in water can sometimes dull the flavor. Try mixing it in a bowl with lemon juice and olive oil for 15-20 minutes. Then add it on top of the chopped vegetables when ready to mix and serve.
Now, you’ll just gently give everything a good mix to combine the salad with the bulgur mixture. And the kale tabbouleh is ready to wow your guests. You can serve it immediately at room temperature or chill for a couple hours before serving.
Tips for making Kale Tabbouleh
- Wash kale with cold water and dry thoroughly. This prevents the kale from wilting or being too soggy for the salad. I recommend using something like a salad spinner to make sure the kale is very dry before you start chopping it. And if you can do this step a day in advance, it allows it to fully dry out.
- Avoid using a food processor to chop the kale. This goes for the other vegetables as well. Using a food processor can wilt the kale and ruin the texture of the kale tabbouleh salad. It’s tedious to use a knife, but it honestly yields the best results from a taste and texture perspective.
- Mind the ratio of kale to bulgur. Many of the commercialized tabbouleh recipes I see focus a lot on the bulgur or grains. But the focus should be on the greens. The salad should be lightly studded with the bulgur instead of lightly sprinkled with kale.
- Drain the tomatoes. Just like we want to avoid soaking the bulgur in water, we want to avoid excess liquid from the tomatoes. So after chopping the tomatoes, place them on a mesh sieve to drain the liquid. You can also core them like I do to remove the juicy flesh. And then use the juices in other recipes like soups, rice, or stews.
I was so impressed when I first tried this kale tabbouleh recipe. The kale has a milder taste than parsley so you can easily have a large bowl as a meal. The salad is loaded with antioxidant rich kale, bursting with citrusy flavor and always a conversation starter. Most people have had tabbouleh somewhere sometime. A great salad for the summer and a newly favorite salad of mine, this is a recipe I will literally be making all summer long!
My other tabbouleh recipes:
More summer salads:
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Kale Tabbouleh Salad recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
Kale Tabbouleh Salad
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra fine bulgur wheat
- 1 bunch kale finely chopped (about 3 cups)
- 1-2 vine-ripe firm tomatoes
- 2 green onions green and white parts
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil and lemon juice until well combined. Then add the bulgur to the dressing and let it soak until it’s soft and plumped, about 15 minutes.
- Place the kale, tomatoes, green onions and mint in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the bulgur and dressing mixture over. Gently toss to combine.
- Serve at room temperature or cold.