This Kale Tabbouleh Salad is a healthy riff on traditional tabbouleh, plumped up with kale, packed with protein thanks to chickpeas, and with toothsome kamut for a hearty and filling vegan salad that's a meal in of itself.
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I spent many years of my life convinced that I didn't like tabbouleh, and perhaps I didn't, as taste buds tend to evolve over time. These days I'm a real parsley fiend, though; I'll find pretty well any excuse to eat it.
I wanted to put together a riff on tabbouleh that was a little more substantial and packed a little more punch nutritionally. Don't get me wrong, parsley is amazing stuff on its own, but teamed up with kale, chickpeas, and bulgur, this Kale Tabbouleh Salad goes from pretty healthy to a super food extravaganza.
I like the fact that the addition of kale doubles the greens and makes the salad a bit more robust than it would be otherwise. Chickpeas add protein, which means you can serve this salad as a side, or make a meal of it if you prefer.
Generally, I do prefer.
What's in this Kale Tabbouleh Salad?
If kale tabbouleh salad sounds a tad untraditional to you, well hold onto your hats, because I also whipped up a zippy lemony dressing and added Dijon mustard to it. Just go with it, ok?
Here's what you need:
- Kale --> I prefer to use lacinato (or Tuscan) kale.
- Parsley --> And lots of it! We're using leaves and stems.
- Mint --> To round out the herby goodness.
- Tomato --> Just one little roma tomato will do the trick.
- Chickpeas --> To add some protein to the mix.
- Bulgur --> For that traditional chew.
- Lemon --> For the dressing.
- Olive oil --> For the dressing.
- Dijon mustard --> Just go with it.
To be honest, you don't really need any special equipment to make this recipe other than a sharp knife to do some chopping.
Having said that, I do love chopping the greens in my food processor (this is the one I have) as it saves a ton of time and gets everything chopped really nicely.
How to make Kale Tabbouleh
Alrighty my friends, let's get chopping!
Step 1: (above) Put the parsley leaves and stems into the bowl of your food processor and pulse a few times to break them up.
Note: If your parsley doesn't have particularly thick stems, you can skip this step and simply process all of the greens together.
Step 2: (above) Add the de-stemmed kale and mint leaves to the bowl.
Pulse a few times until the greens are broken down into small pieces.
Step 3: (above) Place the greens into a bowl, along with the cooked bulgur, chickpeas, and diced tomatoes.
Step 4: Mix everything together.
Step 5: Add the dressing, and mix well.
That's it! You're done!
Tips for making Kale Tabbouleh Salad
Start with the freshest parsley and best tomatoes you can find - they really take the flavour a long way.
Make a double batch of the bulgur (or other whole grain) while you're cooking it so you've got extra for grain bowls, or you can freeze it in handy one-cup portions. Related: Batch Cooking for Beginners.
While we're on the subject of bulgur, I recommend cooking it in vegetable broth rather than water, for more flavour.
I can't find bulgur, can I use another grain?
Totally. I prefer a more toothsome grain like wheatberries or farro, but you can definitely use quinoa or millet too.
Can I make this tabbouleh salad gluten free?
Yup. Just use a gluten-free grain like quinoa (actually a seed), wild rice, or brown rice.
Do I have to use the chickpeas?
Nope. Again, feel free to switch up with another legume such as lentils, or simply leave them out.
What else can I add to this Kale Tabbouleh Salad to fancy it up? I think this would be pretty good with crumbled feta, cubes of pan-fried halloumi, or topped with soft-boiled eggs.
Can I make this salad in advance?
Hey Nutrition Lady, what's good about this salad?
Kale is a nutritional powerhouse! It is extraordinarily rich in micronutrients, dietary fiber, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, and cancer fighting glucosinolates.
Kale is a good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, manganese, and contains nearly twice the vitamin K (essential for blood clotting and also an important anti-inflammatory agent) than any other cruciferous vegetable (broccoli, cabbage, etc). Iron, magnesium, vitamin E, folate, and phosphorous are among the complement of vital minerals found in kale.
Parsley is a biennial plant in the same family as celery with a bright and fresh flavour. Parsley is especially rich in antioxidant flavonoids that can combine with free radicals and help prevent damage to cells.
Parsley is also mega rich in vitamin C, and a good source of pre-curser to vitamin A, beta-carotene. The B-vitamin folic acid is also abundantly found in parsley, which is important for our cardiovascular health. Parsley is also an excellent source of vitamin K, and a good source of iron.
Other tasty salads you might enjoy
Kale Tabbouleh Salad
- 2 bunches parsley about 160 grams / 5 oz leaves and stems
- 1 cup loosely packed mint leaves
- 8 leaves lacinato kale de-stemmed and sliced into ribbons
- 1 cup bulgur wheat cooked according to package directions
- 1 medium roma tomato diced
- 14 oz chickpeas drained and rinsed well
For the dressing
- Juice of 1 lemon about ⅓ cup
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
- Wash the parsley well, and then place the leaves and stems into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times.
- Wash the kale well and de-stem. Add the kale and mint to the bowl as well, and pulse until everything is chopped to bite-sized pieces
- Add diced tomatoes, chickpeas, and the cooked and cooled bulgur to the bowl and toss to combine the salad.
To make the dressing
- Whisk together lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and Dijon mustard.
- Pour half of the dressing over the salad and toss to dress. Taste, and decide if you want to add the rest of the dressing.
- Serve the salad, with extra dressing reserved if needed.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only
- If it seems like a lot of dressing, remember that the bulgur will soak up a lot of it. If you don't want to add it all, reserve the remainder for when you serve the salad, as you may find that you'll end up needing more.
- Serves four as a main, or six as a side.
Recipe Originally Published September 26, 2017. It was retested, rephotographed, and updated August 4, 2020.