Pesto Tabbouleh Summer Salad

It’s time! To dust off your flip-flops, clean off the grill, bust out the watermelon basil agua fresca!

Because, summer summer summer! Well, at least here in our neck of the woods in balmy North Carolina. It was 90 degrees all weekend and most certainly feels like spring has officially left the building.

Fresh & light pesto tabbouleh summer salad! This flavorful dish is filled with a parsley pesto, juicy cherry tomatoes and cool crisp cucumber!

Can you tell it’s still early in the season because I haven’t started to complain yet about the heat??? Oh just wait my pretties, that is most certainly coming in a few months, ahem weeks? No no, I’m trying to be good. And I will admit that I am actually looking forward to summer this year as we now have access to both a lovely pool and a lake! Take that humidity!

ANYWHO. With temps soaring, all I can think about lately is salad. And pasta salad. And light, fresh meals.

Which brings us to this pesto tabbouleh summer salad!

Now, let’s just get it out of the way that this is not authentic tabbouleh. M’kay? Cool. But! It is inspired by the classic dish. And oh my, is most certainly delicious.

We have bulgur tossed with a parsley / arugula / walnut pesto. We have plump juicy cherry tomatoes. Cool crisp cucumber! A touch of mint and green onion! A handful of extra arugula to pump up the green factor!

We toss it all together in a big bowl and then dig in. It’s fantastic served right away or after chilled in the fridge. Totally up to you.

It’s also pretty darn pretty. Which, well, just makes my heart happy.

This pesto tabbouleh summer salad is a perfect main or side dish! With parsley pesto, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and fresh mint!

So, let’s get to a few tips & tricks for the recipe.

  1. First up, let’s talk how to prep the dish. Get the bulgur cooked. As it is cooling down to room temp, prep everything else. You’ll have PLENTY of time to make the pesto and chop all the other components that get tossed into the salad. The prep time listed below includes that cool down time for the bulgur – only about 15 to 20 minutes is actual hands-on time.
  2. Next up, you can really adjust just about anything in this salad to your own taste / what you have on hand. Aren’t feeling the arugula? Use another green, like baby spinach! Don’t like mint? Leave it out and add some basil. This is one of those recipes that I feel is more of just a guide – do your own thang!
  3. If serving this as a main, I like to top / serve with some kind of protein. It goes exceptionally well with BBQ-y type things! Or grilled things. Or really anything. So versatile.
  4. If serving this up as a side, it will give you about 6 to 8 servings. <— Just an FYI, not really a tip!

It’s fresh, it’s satisfying, it’s beach-body readying! <— Is that a term? I’m rolling with it. Summer, here we come!

Healthy & satisfying, this pesto tabbouleh summer salad is perfect for the season! With flavorful pesto, cherry tomatoes and crisp cucumber!

Yield: about 4 servings, as a main

Pesto Tabbouleh Summer Salad

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Fresh & light pesto tabbouleh summer salad! This flavorful dish is filled with a parsley pesto, juicy cherry tomatoes and cool crisp cucumber!

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For the bulgur:

  • 1 cup medium grind bulgur
  • 2 cups water

For the pesto:

  • 1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 ½ cups lightly packed baby arugula
  • ⅓ cup raw walnuts
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • about ¼ cup olive oil

For the salad:

  • 1 ½ cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups chopped english cucumber (or regular!)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, to taste
  • 1 cup lightly packed baby arugula, roughly chopped


For the bulgur:

  1. Add the bulgur and water to a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover, turn down the heat and simmer for about 12 to 15 minutes, until tender. If needed, drain off any excess liquid.
  2. Transfer the bulgur to a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature (about 30 to 40 minutes).

For the pesto:

  1. Add the parsley, arugula, walnuts, garlic and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. With the food processor running, slowly pour in the lemon juice and olive oil. Process until smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed. If you want to thin out the pesto, add in additional olive oil a little at a time (I only use the ¼ cup here – it’s not over the top thick, but not really thin either).

For the salad:

  1. To the large bowl with the cooled bulgur, add the pesto. Toss until well combined. Add in the tomatoes, cucumber, green onion, mint and arugula. Toss again until combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper (I usually add about ½ teaspoon fine sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper).

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