Day 100: No-Cook Tabbouleh ♥

No-Cook Tabbouleh, another healthy summer salad ♥ A Veggie Venture
An excellent couscous salad, a vegetable-packed version of traditional tabbouleh that couldn't be simpler to make. First "cook" couscous in lemon juice, then just add piles of vegetables. This a great "refrigerator" salad, it keeps for many days. Weight Watchers? You're going to love this salad!

Way Back in 2005: This No-Cook Tabbouleh recipe was first published on Day 100 of A Veggie Venture's first year, when I cooked vegetables in a new way every single day for an entire year. (Curious for more? Here's the back story.) On Day 100, there was no quitting that vegetable odyssey even if the milestone passed without fanfare. Instead, it was onto the tabbouleh recipe, an unusual no-cook version that needs to rest overnight for the flavors to meld. If you start it before supper, finish it before bed and then refrigerate overnight, when you get home from work tomorrow, it'll be waiting and perfect. I did want to change the recipe's proportions: less couscous and more tomato.

Updates: Over the years, I've finessed this recipe, updating it several times. First, I did indeed change the proportions, less couscous, more tomato. Perfect! Next, I cut back the olive oil. Again, perfect! Combined, the two changes make a big difference in both carbs and calories. Finally, I simplified the process, making the recipe a "concept" recipe. Now, I start off with a single cup of couscous, the juice of six lemons and just 2 tablespoons olive oil – and then start adding vegetables, aiming for a mix of colors, textures, flavors and even shapes. Think celery and onion, fennel, carrots, zucchini, kohlrabi, jicama. Once again? Perfect!


Active time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 24 hours
Makes 8 cups

2 tablespoons olive oil
Zest of two lemons
3/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup quick-cooking couscous

1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped (don't skip)
3 large tomatoes, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Additional lemon juice, to taste

In a very large bowl, stir together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, then stir in the (uncooked) couscous. While chopping the vegetables, let the couscous rest at room temperature to soften and "plump-en" the grains to a texture like finely chopped nuts. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Add more lemon juice to taste. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours or so before serving.

HOW MUCH OLIVE OIL? The inspiring recipe called for 12 tablespoons olive oil, that's a monstrous 3/4 cup. The first time I made No-Cook Tabbouleh, I cut the oil back to 8 tablespoons (a half cup), this makes for a more typical, traditional tabbouleh. But then I began to use just 2 tablespoons olive oil, this gives the tabbouleh a bright, lemony taste. I've fixed on 2 tablespoons but feel free, of course, to use as much as your taste demands and your waistline allows!
HOW MANY LEMONS? I count on squeezing 2 tablespoons lemon juice from the small lemons typically found in the supermarkets / Trader Joe's / Sam's Club, etc. where I buy groceries. Larger lemons may/may not yield more juice, depending on how juicy they are.
HOW MUCH COUSCOUS? The inspiring recipe called for 2 cups couscous, this makes for a "more grain-y" salad. Since I prefer a "less grainy" salad and a "more vegetable-y" salad, I now only use 1 cup couscous. FYI I use and like the whole wheat couscous from Trader Joe's. FYI couscous does get stale when it hangs out in the pantry for even a few months. If it smells the least big dusty, buy new!
TOMATOES I like grape/cherry tomatoes better than chopped tomatoes, they hold up better in the refrigerator over several days. That said, juicy garden tomatoes can be wonderful, their juices really help plump up the couscous.
REST TIME Letting the salad rest for 24 hours before serving is important. Otherwise, it's just underwhelming, you'll wonder what the fuss is about. This salad needs a long rest for the flavors to meld!

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~ Chipotle & Chickpea Salad ~
~ Summer Lentils ~
~ Summer Orzo ~
~ more "refrigerator salad" recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Favorite Summer Salad Recipes ~
~ Quinoa & Black Bean Salad ~
~ Wild Rice Salad ~
~ Bloody Mary Salad ~
~ more salad recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

A Veggie Venture is home of 'veggie evangelist' Alanna Kellogg and the
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2005, 2006, 2011 & 2016 (repub)
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I just discovered you a couple of hours ago. I have been concentrating on your Refrigerator Pickles and Refrigerator Salads. I can't wait to make this one, though I may have to practice a lot of patience since tomatoes are practically tasteless during the winter. I love how you include the Weight Watcher points. My son and my niece both need to lose weight. I'm sending them your link, also bookmarking you for myself.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna