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This recipe is an Americanized version of the classic Mediterranean side dish, substituting couscous for the wheat, but it still maintains its texture, palate-cleansing effects, and pop of freshness.
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Chef Ryan Callahan
Author of Cooking for Chemo...and After! and Cooking for Kids with Cancer

(Pronounced tuh-boo-lee) Tabouleh is a classic Mediterranean dish, traditionally made with cracked bulghur wheat. This recipe for the perfectly light side dish has been Americanized slightly by substituting couscous for the wheat, but it still maintains its texture, palate-cleansing effects, and pop of freshness. This dish is a perfect palate cleanser because it contains 2 ingredients that impart such effects—fresh Italian parsley and fresh-squeezed lemon.

In addition, the strength and cleansing properties of Italian flat-leaf parsley and fresh lemon make this recipe particularly good for people experiencing a metallic taste in their mouths.

Tasting Guidelines:

  • This dish should taste fresh and clean.
  • The weight of this dish is super light, but can be balanced with olive oil.
  • The texture of this dish is grainy.
  • This dish is good for people with low-to-severe treatment side effects.
  • This dish is especially good for severe side effects, to get rid of strong metallic tastes.
  • This dish gives an emotional response of a crisp, cool breeze.
  • This dish is best categorized as Mediterranean.
  • Taste is fresh and clean.
  • Weight is super light but can be balanced with olive oil.
  • Texture is grainy.
  • Good for people with low to severe treatment side effects.
  • Especially good for severe side effects to get rid of strong metallic tastes.
  • Best categorized as Mediterranean.


  • 1 box instant couscous (the most basic flavor you can get, such as plain or chicken) , prepared as directed on box, then chilled
  • 3 green onions, finely sliced
  • olive oil as needed

Flavor Balancers:

  • 1 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt, coarse
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c. fresh lemon juice


  • 3 tbsp. fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 c. Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped


  1. Place chilled couscous in large mixing bowl. Add green onions and parsley.
  2. Toss in lemon juice and remaining ingredients.
  3. Mix thoroughly until couscous has absorbed all the lemon juice.
  4. Add olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time for a touch of creaminess.

Chef Tip:

  • The tabouleh is best eaten chilled or at room temperature. A great snack, it goes well with hummus or baba ghanoush on top of pita or other bread. If metallic taste is severe, increase the amounts of parsley and lemon juice. The dish should taste light and refreshing. Although tabbouleh is traditionally made with cracked bulghur wheat, couscous can be used as an acceptable substitute.
  • ½ cup may be too much lemon juice. Taste as you go, trying not to completely overpower the dish.

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Last modified: March 10, 2022

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