Sunflower Pesto Tabbouleh with Radishes

Do you want to hear something sad? In over a year of creating recipes for this website, I have never made anything with radishes. Seriously, what’s wrong with me? In addition to adding a burst of crunchiness to this dish, radishes are a superhero of the root vegetable world with a ton of health benefits and I promise I’ll start using them more often.

Another thing I love about this version of the classic Middle Eastern dish is that we’re taking the parsley, a cornerstone of tabbouleh, to a whole new dimension by remixing it into a deliciously healthy parsley and sunflower seed pesto that is off the charts. Tabbouleh is traditionally made with bulgar (and that’s what I used here), but all the cool kids are making tabboulehs with quinoa these days and I’m sure that would be fantastic as well.

Sunflower Tabbouleh

Makes 6 servings


  • 2 cups bulgur wheat or quinoa (dry)
  • 4 cups curly parsley
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lemon (juice)
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 5-15 red radishes

Sunflower Tabbouleh Plate

Step One

Soak the sunflower seeds for at least one hour for best results. Then, drain them and add to a food processor along with a whole bunch of parsley (I used about 4 cups of the curly leaf, but flat Italian style parsley would work too). Also loosely chop 2 cloves of garlic and add them along with a small drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a few pinches of salt. Then, pulse repeatedly until everything is mixed into a smooth paste, but not a smoothie. Scrape down the sides as needed.

This stuff is incredibly delicious and I found myself eating it by the spoonful straight out of the processor. It would make a fantastic healthy pesto wherever one is needed: pasta dishes, crostini, and beyond.

Step Two

Make the bulgar wheat or quinoa according to package instructions. Starting with 2 cups of dried grains will yield the perfect amount to match the quantity of pesto. This was my first time using bulgur and I thought the flavor worked well, but it was quite temperamental and had a tendency to clump.

Step Three

In a large bowl, add the bulgur/quinoa and pour over the pesto. Using a large spoon or two, toss the sauce to evenly coat the grain. Then, slice the radishes and tomatoes and toss them into the mix as well. You can eat at room temperature, but chilling for an hour or two will definitely improve the flavors of this dish. Serve with lemon wedges and a sprinkling of black pepper.

Sunflower Tabbouleh Bowl


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  1. Thank you for another great recipe, Andrew! This looks tasty & refreshing! I do love radishes! They’re so delicious, & they’re more versatile than I used to realize! I love them in my veggie-fried rice! I also hear they’re great roasted & become like potatoes with a slight kick – yum; that’s one of my next food-ventures! I hope you’ll continue to show us some more of your great radish recipes :0).

    • Ooh, I’ve actually never tried roasting them… I have a few leftover from this recipe so I’ll give that a shot.

  2. I just made some arugula pesto! I am totally going to try this next 🙂 Sounds amazing.

  3. So funny–last night I picked up food from my favorite vegan restaurant, and when I saw that radishes were part of the “daily veggies” medley, I was like…meh. But when I got home and actually ate them, I was pleasantly surprised. I thought I hated radishes. They were steamed, though, so maybe that’s why I liked them. Regardless, this dish looks great! After seeing the picture I was afraid you used grated cauliflower to make the tabbouleh (why does everyone keep doing that?!) but I’m happy to see bulgur! Not that I have anything against cauliflower…but I’m a huge fan of hearty grains. 🙂

    • Hey Jenni! You know, the comment above mentioned how good radishes are roasted and I have *never* tried them cooked. I still have a few left in my fridge… I’m definitely giving that a shot this week! Totally agree – I love cauliflower but I need way more than 6.8 calories at the base of my meals 🙂

  4. Hi Andrew, Do you use raw or toasted sunflower seeds in the recipe? I am going to try this tomorrow. Many thanks, Jay

    • Hi Jay! I actually used raw and… I don’t know… I think that’s probably best but toasted sunflower seeds could be an interesting flavor too!

  5. This looks so good! I love radishes, but once I got a variety that was a bit too peppery to eat raw. The solution was to slice them thin with a mandoline, then saute them in butter/oil and add thyme. Delicious, and much more to my taste. My favorites are the French breakfast variety- long and thin, and so good to eat raw with hummus or in a sanwich!

    • That sounds delicious, Terri!! I’ll have to try some radishes that way soon, it could make a great side dish all by itself. Ohh cool, I’ve seen those long/thin ones before but have yet to try them.

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