Recipe: Orzo Tabbouleh

updated May 28, 2019
Orzo Tabbouleh

A fresh twist on classic Middle Eastern tabbouleh salad that replaces the bulgur for orzo pasta.


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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

There are many versions of tabbouleh out in the world, but I think this could be a new favorite. While the Middle Eastern herb salad is usually made with bulgur wheat, this one is made with al dente orzo, which adds a bit more chew and texture to the dish.

It’s no less bright and refreshing as the original, however, as it’s loaded with fresh parsley and mint and flecked with juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, and fragrant scallions. It’s perfect enjoyed alongside grilled chicken, fish, or steak, but I also wouldn’t hesitate to simply dig into it on its own for lunch or a light dinner.

A Twist on Tabbouleh Featuring a Pantry Favorite

While traditional tabbouleh made with bulgur is delicious, bulgur isn’t always a pantry staple. Orzo, however, is — and if it’s not already, it should be, since it makes skillet and one-pot dinners possible. That means all you really need is the fresh ingredients to assemble this dish.

With a little chopping and tossing, it all comes together quickly. It’s also made to work with your schedule — enjoy immediately after making it or let it hang out in the fridge overnight until you need it.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Orzo Tabbouleh

A fresh twist on classic Middle Eastern tabbouleh salad that replaces the bulgur for orzo pasta.

Serves 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1 cup

    dry orzo pasta

  • 3 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons

    freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 2

    medium tomatoes, seeded and diced

  • 2 cups

    loosely packed chopped fresh parsley leaves (from 2 large bunches)

  • 1/2 cup

    loosely packed chopped fresh mint leaves (from 1 small bunch)

  • 1

    small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced

  • 2

    medium scallions, thinly sliced


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 9 minutes or according to package instructions. Drain and run briefly under cool water to cool the pasta down. Drain well again.

  2. Place the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the cooked pasta, tomatoes, parsley, mint, cucumber, and scallions and toss to combine. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The tabbouleh can be made up to 1 day ahead, covered, and refrigerated. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.