Tabouli with Grilled Lamb and Chick Peas

Leg of Lamb and Lamb Rack

Leg of Lamb and Lamb Rack

by Cat, June, 2008 (photo, right, from Wikimedia commons

Tabouli (tabbouleh) is a very popular Middle-Eastern salad, typically made with bulgur, parsley, mint,  onion and tomatoes with a simple dressing of olive oil and lemon juice. Adding lamb and/or garbanzos (chick peas), as in this recipe, provides protein and additional flavor. The method seems tedious, as you make a marinade for the lamb, finely chop the parsley and tomatoes for the tabouli, sprout and then cook the chick peas, and make the dressing, but it is well worth the effort.

Tabouli with grilled lamb and chick peas (garbanzos)

This recipe is adapted from Epicurious (3).  Original recipe serves 20; I cut this down to 4 generous servings. It makes a gorgeous presentation.

I prefer more parsley than the small amount in the original recipe, and less mint (my preference is listed first; the original is in parenthesis).

Kasha porridge

Kasha porridge

You can use bulgur made from wheat or kamut.  If you’re avoiding wheat or gluten, try kasha (buckwheat), which is cooked slightly differently – use 2 cups water/broth for 1/2 cup kasha; bring water to boil, add kasha, when resumes boil, reduce to simmer and cook 20 minutes (per (4)). Or sprouted quinoa, but that would not be authentic in this dish. (Photo, left, from Wikimedia Commons)

You can use canned chick-peas (garbanzos), but I prefer to sprout and cook my own. I make up a bigger batch, save out what I need for the recipe, and freeze the rest for future use).

This salad is easy to prepare and the taste is rewarding. Excellent.

NOTE: If lamb or red meat in general is not your thing, try this with chicken; see Chicken Variation below


  • Salad
  • ¼ pound cooked chick-peas (preferably pre-soaked or sprouted before cooking) (if canned, drain and rinse)
  • 1 ½ cups boiling filtered water
  • ¾ cup dry bulgur (wheat, kamut or spelt)
  • 1 ½ cup  minced flat-leaf parsley (original recipe used only ¾ cup)
  • 2 Tbsp minced mint leaves (optional) (original recipe used ¼ cup)
  • ¾ cup chopped green onion (or red onion)
  • 2 small tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • Mediterranean Dressing & Marinade
  • ¼ – ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ – ½ cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed) NOTE: amount of olive oil and lemon juice should be the same
  • 1 – 1 ½ tsp Unrefined sea salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • pinch allspice (or more, to taste)
  • Lamb
  • 1 pound round-bone shoulder lamb chops or leg of lamb steak (round-bone)
  • olive oil
  • fresh lemon juice
  • Unrefined sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Garnish:
  • Lebneh (yogurt & sesame oil sauce)
  • Equipment:
  • bowl
  • broiler or grill (or cast iron skillet or grill pan, if grilling on stove top)
  • serving platter


  1. Chick-Peas:  Refer to my Hummus recipe, for instructions on soaking and cooking chick-peas (or see my article Beans and other Legumes: Soaking & Sprouting).  Alternately, you can use canned.
  2. Prep lebneh, if using: See Lebneh for recipe.
  3. Dressing & Marinade: Squeeze lemon juice; combine with oil, salt, pepper and allspice by shaking in small jar or whisking in a bowl.
  4. Salad: Pour boiling water over bulgur wheat in bowl.  Cover and let stand about 20 minutes, until bulgur is tender and water is absorbed. NOTE: see above if using kasha. At same time, marinate lamb (see below).
  5. Prep veggies: Mince parsley and mint leaves together.  A special wooden bowl and rocking knife, make easy work of this task.
  6. Chop onion and dice tomato
  7. When bulgur is tender, add prepped veggies and chick peas; toss to mix.  Pour dressing over and toss again. Chill before serving.
  8. Lamb: Brush lamb on both sides with a bit of the dressing/marinade (or use oil and lemon juice mixture); refrigerate for about 30 minutes or more.
  9. Preheat broiler or grill (Alternately, use a cast iron skillet or grill-pan on stove top).
  10. Broil/grill until medium-rare, about 3 – 5 minutes per side, seasoning with salt and pepper after turning.

Assembly or Serving ideas

  • Cut lamb into ½ inch squares after grilling; discard bones (or save for making stock).  Stir lamb squares into salad. Put in serving bowl or on platter; garnish with mint leaves and sprigs of parsley.  Serve with Lebneh (yogurt sauce) on the side.
  • Or spread salad onto serving platter; arrange lamb chops on top and drizzle with Lebneh (yogurt sauce. Garnish with mint leaves and sprigs of parsley.
  • Either way, tabouli can be prepared 1 day ahead, but I recommend not grilling lamb until ready to serve so it is still warm, and don’t drizzle with Lebneh until ready to serve.  Cover and refrigerate.

Chicken variation

Make as written for lamb, but using chicken, instead:

  • Boneless chicken breasts/thighs, 4 oz per serving

Brine chicken for 30 minutes, rinse and pat dry. Brush with a bit of the Mediterranean dressing (above), adding some fresh oregano and marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before grilling.

After grilling, cut into cubes or strips and serve on top of the salad with Lebneh.


Testing 8/5/11: Made half recipe (2 servings) with leg of lamb steak; after tasting Tabouli, not enough parsley so I doubled amount – much better (recipe amounts updated). Also used only 1 Tbsp minced spearmint leaves because I’m not fond of spearmint. But the flavor is actually good in this dish; I could have used 2 Tbsp. The half-recipe of dressing wasn’t enough so I made another half-recipe; used some of it to brush on the lamb, some in the salad, and reserved the remainder (will use for something else if don’t need it on the tabouli); I doubled the ingredients in recipe, based on this testing. Grilled the lamb to rare, then cut into cubes to serve on top of the salad at room temperature. Lebneh is an excellent addition (I tried some with, some without), The toasted sesame adds a nice flavor.


  1. A Passion For Vegetables, by Vera Gewanter
  2. The Vegetarian Epicure Book Two by Anna Thomas
  4., originally RecipeZaar (


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