A favorite healthy Middle Eastern dip goes green in this lime-dressed kale tabbouleh with sour cherries!
kale tabbouleh with sour cherries

I was always picked last in kickball.

I’m telling you this not to elicit some kind of sympathetic reaction, but as a point of comparison.

In my life, I have run four marathons (one at an 8 minute/mile pace), countless halfs, and have gone through more pairs of running shoes than my credit card cares to remember.

But I was also the “big boned”, plus-sized girl who was always picked last in kickball and didn’t do a single minute of exercise until I was a junior in college.

So it wasn’t some innate ability that I was born with, but a desire to achieve a goal and the work I did to attain it. And if I can do it, you can too.


Recently, a reader asked if I would write a post on how I started running, so I thought I would detour a bit from my usual antics today and do just that.

As I mentioned before, I was not an athlete. I think my best friend was convinced I had a fever the first time I told her I was going to the gym, because that’s how out-of-character it was.

But I was tired of feeling like nothing fit me right, and I realized that if I was unhappy with how I looked, I should just do something about it. So I did.

I started out as a diehard elliptical-er, and lived in fear of the treadmill and all things running-related. That just wasn’t me. I wasn’t a runner, I was convinced.

Then as time went on, I got a little bit bored, and that same best friend kept hinting suggestively that maybe I should try getting on a treadmill, just for a few minutes, and hey! Maybe I would like it.


So I started. Slow.

The key to running is to not try to do five miles your first time out. I did (and still do!) a lot of run/walking intervals, increasing my run/walk ratio each time I got on the treadmill.

This helped it to not be so overwhelming. After all, I figured that I could definitely run for one minute straight – totally doable.

And then the next day, I thought that since I could run for 1 minute at a stretch, I could probably run for a minute and thirty seconds. And so on, until you realize you’ve run a whole mile at a time! And you didn’t even feel like dying afterward!

After that, the world is basically your oyster.

Because once you run one mile, you can run two. And once you can run two, you can do a 5K. And after that, a 10K doesn’t really sound so bad. By then, you’re hooked and you’re hellbent on a half marathon. And, well, you’ve come this far so you might as well do the whole 26.2.

So there you have it. I was never the kid who was going to grow up to run marathons, and now I’ve run four.


It’s really addictive to keep challenging yourself time and time again, and the endorphin rush you get after achieving one of your goals is just as bad as any controlled substance.

That’s not to say that running ever really gets easy. There are always going to be some aches and pains, new challenges or hills to test yourself on.

After all, if it wasn’t “work” they wouldn’t call it a “workout”.

But after some time, you will have those runs that are just so good, they make you feel like you can do anything. And those are the runs that keep you running and thirsting for more.


Of course, the more you start seriously running and training, the more you start to think about what you’re putting in your body and how it will affect how you feel on your next run.

That’s where this tabbouleh comes in.

Full of whole grains and fresh leafy greens, it is chock full of the nutrition your body needs to get you through a tough workout. Plus it’s just darn tasty. With a sour bite from the lime vinaigrette dressing, and a hint of sweetness from the sour cherries, it is just full of fresh, delicious flavor. You can serve it as a side, spread it on bread or pita as an appetizer, or add some chickpeas into the mix to turn it into a hearty main dish salad. However you decide to eat it, it is bound to be a feel-good meal.

*DISCLAIMER – I am a not a doctor or a running expert by any means, but these are my experiences with learning how to run. Feel free to email me with any questions you have, but make sure you also consult your doctor before starting any new workout regimen.

Kale Tabbouleh with Sour Cherries
A favorite healthy Middle Eastern dip goes green in this lime-dressed kale tabbouleh with sour cherries!
Yield: 4-6 servings
  • ½ cup bulgur
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 lb lacinato kale
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped mint
  • 1 European cucumber, seeded and diced
  • ½ cup dried sour cherries
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  1. In a medium pot, combine the bulgur with 1½ cups of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for three minutes. Cover and remove from the heat. Let stand for 15 minutes. Simmer off any remaining liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring 16 cups of water, ½ cup salt, and baking soda to a boil. Add in the kale and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and then coarsely chop. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together the shallot, garlic, parsley, mint, cucumber, dried cherries, olive oil, lime juice, and a pinch of sugar. Stir in the kale and bulgur. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Adapted from Food&Wine
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bowl


Share →

80 Responses to Kale Tabbouleh with Sour Cherries

  1. This is a really interesting twist on tabbouleh. I really like the combination of kale and sour cherries. That sounds really tasty.

  2. I love your story! And it’s so true. Anybody who sets their heart on it can run. And if you can run, you can run a marathon.
    I’m also loving this kale-filled salad…power food!

  3. I love hearing other people’s running stories!! 8 min pace marathon is awesome, and so far beyond my wildest dreams…way to go girl!! I was also never an athlete, although I very awkwardly tried to be….I sometimes “ran” in college, but didn’t really start until I was 25 or 26. Needless to say when I started doing triathlon my parents had no idea who I was πŸ™‚

  4. Kathryn says:

    This is a great post Joanne! I run in fits and starts but I’m definitely trying to make it a part of my normal routine these days and I feel so much better when I do. I’m not sure I’m ready to contemplate anything longer than 10k at the moment but my brother is running the London marathon in a couple of weeks and I have a feeling he might inspire me to set my sights slightly further.

  5. I totally agree with your running mentality. I go in phases but when I’m in a running phase it is truly addicting!

  6. Love hearing how your running began! It’s such a great physical (and mental) exercise.
    And of course, this tabbouleh looks awesome – as all your recipes do!

  7. girl you are on to something here with this salad. WOW, it looks out of this world and kinda crazy with the addition of the cherries. I love crazy:)

  8. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I am so impressed and inspired by your running. And I love hearing how you got started. Now, can I park my oversized butt at the finish line and wait for you while eating a bowl of this deliciousness?

  9. bellini says:

    I just love the idea of making a kale taboulleh Joanne. What a powerhouse!!!

  10. My husband recently learned that he does not hate kale, so I’ve been going a little kale crazy lately. Thanks for another take on our favorite green (for now, at least).

  11. Teffy says:

    I love tabbouleh!
    Never thought to add sour cherries though – or kale!! Looks delicious.

    {Teffy’s Perks} X

  12. elizabeth e says:

    loved reading about your journey – i just signed up for my first 10k (well, i was accepted in the lottery this AM), and i’m getting a tad nervous about the training. physically, i’m sure i can do it; just need to work on the mental stuff.

    this looks delicious! i can’t wait to try it.

  13. Kinsey says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your running story. Like you, I started running because I was tired of not being able to run the mile in PE without stopping to walk. Five years later, I’ve run 5 half marathons and countless other races, and really love running. And I’ve noticed that being a vegetarian and eating healthful foods packed with greens, healthy fats, and protein really helps in my recovery–although that’s not to say that each and every long run isn’t a fabulous excuse for some ice cream!

  14. Congrats Joanne on 4 marathons – girl YOU ROCK!! And! And speaking of rocking – this kale tabbouleh sounds delish – love the tart cherries in it. I am intrigued by the baking soda in this though…

  15. SallyBR says:

    Love this twist on a classic, and I happen to have kale in the fridge, but very few of the other ingredients, so I might have to pass on this for dinner tonight

    I was always picked last for EVERYTHING related to exercise, and I remember feeling horrible because the teacher would end up having to assign me to a team, and the captain would say “Do we really have to have her in our team?” – I was the shortest and weakest.

    HA! Only two weeks to wrap up P90X3, Tony Horton’s latest torture routine… and loving it!

  16. Heather says:

    I’ve never been much of a runner, but I think your advice is really good. It’s so easy to get out there the first time and overdo it… and I know in my case, my motivation wanes a bit when that happens because I’m exhausted and muscles are aching that haven’t been used in forever. This time around as I try to lose the babyweight – I’m doing it in baby steps so I can build up my stamina and then when I jump into something like trying to run or try PX90 or Insanity, I’ll be more prepared and not want to die. :p

  17. LOVE this twist on tabbouleh! Need to try asap πŸ™‚

  18. This sounds quite delicious Joanne and I really loved your story! I had no idea you were a plus size gal! I totally identify with this since I went through my weight loss journey, actually quite later in life. When I turned 30 I woke up and stopped the cycle. Now I know why food is such a passion of yours, funny enough I become even more obsessed with food AFTER I lost weight! LOL! Thanks for sharing a bit of your story!

  19. Christina says:

    I toy with the idea of starting to run every spring πŸ™‚ maybe this is THE spring?

  20. Trisha says:

    Running races is so addictive! I’ve got a stress fracture in my foot right now, and the thought of not being able this spring has made me incredibly sad. BUT, I’m trying to focus on having a positive attitude about it. Also, this salad looks delicious!

  21. Emily L says:

    Great post! I’m actually in the middle of the couch to 5K program and it’s actually been ok so far! I used to hate running but I really wanted to make an effort to try it out this year. I signed up for my first (!) 5K in May so we’ll see what happens!

  22. I love your running story – thanks for sharing!! Also, thank you for sharing this amazing side dish; it looks so springy and wonderful. The sour cherries really set it over the top for me!

  23. I kind of always thought you were either made for running, or not cut out for it at all. And I felt like I was in the last category. Your story has definitely opened my eyes, and inspired me to start running. Although maybe not as hard core as the people around where I live…it seems like everyone in Vancouver runs marathons…barefoot. *sigh*, one day…

  24. cheri says:

    I really like this salad, it looks good and the ingredients are amazing, great combination. Nice story Joanne, enjoy the way you write.

  25. Dana Slyh says:

    Thanks for Sharing your story and yummy recipe. I didn’t start running until I was 50. I still don’t think of myself as a runner but I have completed 5K, 15K, 10 mile and will run a half marathon in the fall

  26. I love kale and tabbouleh, but I have never put them together. Definitely trying this.

  27. Love the story! I’ve gone through the couch to 5k program a few times and still just can’t fall in love with it. I get through the whole thing, then go back to the couch lol I’m determined to figure out what the secret it — I thought I liked it the first time through couch to 5k, and then I realized it was watching Desperate Housewives on Netflix that was my true love once I finished the series.

    • joanne says:

      For me, at least, the key is to keep setting new goals for myself…new races to train for, etc. It’s definitely much more motivating than just running endlessly!

  28. I like your disclaimer, Joanne: you are not a doctor… yet! But you will be! Times 2! πŸ˜‰
    I love getting to know the stories behind bloggers and it is definitely inspiring to know you came from ground zero.

  29. I am not a runner…and I guess I will never be…bah..have to live with that.
    Your tabbouleh looks green and super, Joanne.

  30. sandra says:

    Thanks for telling your experiences. It is really inspiring to hear. I too was never the one who would go to the gym but now I am fairly active, and running 20 minutes a day. So true about going in small increments – makes the whole impossible thing become possible.

  31. Kate says:

    I love your story. So surprising to me – I would have never guessed where you came from based on where you are now.

  32. Shannon says:

    I still remember the day in grad school I ran three miles straight! I was so excited. still am, every day i’m able to get out there πŸ™‚

  33. What a good new take on tabouli. This is so healthy for you and it sounds so delicious.

  34. Loved this post, and this tabbouleh sounds delicious. Love the sour cherry addition!!

  35. Sour cherries are such a great addition here!! I loved reading this post! πŸ™‚

  36. Such an inspiration, girl. Running still terrifies me, but reading your story makes me want to start, even if it is a slow start.

    And this tabbouleh…I die. Seriously, I die. Love the use of kale here and the addition of sour cherries was brilliant!!

  37. What a great inspiration πŸ™‚ Real stories of people who weren’t born with the Ironman on their brain help so many people believe THEY can do it too. Love this!

  38. Meg says:

    Your running story is very inspiring! Though I absolutely hate the gym (and, well, all forms of exercise . . . despite lots of trials with everything from elliptical runs to treadmills to Zumba), you make running sound achievable. πŸ™‚ Even with my aversion to sweating, I do take health very seriously and love my leafy greens. This dish looks fabulous!

  39. This recipe looks awesome! Do you think quinoa would work nicely?

    I totally relate to your story. Okay, so there won’t be any marathons in my future, but I was the girl who hated gym class with a passion (and I probably still would), but now running is one of my favorite things to do.

  40. I was on the track team in high school… not because I was good at running, per se. More because I had long legs and was fast. I was a hurdler πŸ˜€ Then I gave it up until I got pregnant with Haley! (I was 34.) Started slow, like you said, I think like 15 minutes a day. Now I run 4+ miles a day. “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” as they say. Great post, Joanne! And I love those pictures!

  41. Corina says:

    I’ll have to try sour cherries one day. Your post has also made me miss my running. I will get back to it once the baby has been born but I know from last time that it takes a long time to build up fitness again.

  42. Thanks for sharing your running journey, Joanne! As I am always saying I’m not a “runner,” this is motivation for me to get my bum up and out there on the trail and take it one step at a time (well, after I have this baby, that is ;)).

  43. Oooh I need to try this next time I get some kale.

  44. What a lovely post Joanne! So glad you shared this with us all!
    I myself was the big kid who was picked last too. I would always dream of going to all those races and competitions where all the cool kids went. I would have never imagined that I’d be the one running hal-marathons, winning prizes and training for my first 26.2!

    By the way, this salad looks amazing! I love how nourishing it is : )

  45. Katie says:

    I can relate completely to being the non-athlete growing up. Maybe I might dig out the trainers again and give it another go.

  46. Susan says:

    Fun to read about how you got started running, Joanne! I love the treadmill because it’s easier on my joints than hard pavement πŸ™‚

    What a vibrant and delicious kale tabbouleh!

  47. trisha says:

    I’m really trying to get into kale and healthy eating. AND running. I think the Kale will be a lot more achievable.. haha. This recipe is something to get me started. thanks! x

  48. I love the sour cherries in this. I have been a runner for years and I love the way running makes me feel. I have a few accumulated injuries so now I only jog/ walk only a few miles but it is such a quick way to burn calories.

  49. This was such a fun post to read! I love getting a little look into how people started running. Also, love this freaking salad!! Kale tabbouleh?? Love it!

  50. P says:

    I hated P.E. as a kid as well! I think if I were to tell “me” from ten years ago that hey, running is actually pretty fun, “me” would think I turned out to be one crazy chick πŸ˜‰

  51. You almost convinced metro start running…. almost. I’m more of a sexy speed walker with gusto! I swear running always gives me killer shin splints and a migraine. My triathlon conquering sister has tried to convert me to no avail. I will however devour this salad and go climb a mountain! Deal?

  52. Megan says:

    I am the queen of the run/walk intervals. It’s definitely a great way to get yourself to run, even if just a little. I can keep my walk/runs going for an hour sometimes, and that feels good to me. I don’t think I’ll ever do a marathon! This tabbouleh sounds great for a pre- or -post run meal.

  53. That is awesome. I run for my workout sometimes but I don’t see myself doing it for marathons. I don’t have the discipline for it. You go girl πŸ™‚ Great salad. This recipe is right up my alley. Very unique and yummy combo.

  54. OK…. wait a second… an 8 minute mile for a FULL? WOW. On a good day I’m pulling 9 these days but it’s usually 10. I’m IMPRESSED.

  55. I love your story. It shows what a person can do if they put their mind to it.

  56. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a salad with sour cherries in before, Joanne, but I bet it works great … especially to balance out all those lovely greens. Loved reading about your running story. I think it’s wonderful that you combine a love of running with a love of food. Perfect combination!

  57. Eating this with pita sounds amazing. I love your story on running, it’s so inspiring! I’ve started back fitness after too many years of scoliosis, bed rest and just too many damn back injuries, and even though it burns it is liberating to know I’ve reached this far. Proud of you!

  58. Kelster says:

    This is making me want to get back out there and try to run again. I see another 5K training attempt in my future. Also, 8 minutes per mile?!! HOLY COW!

  59. I love this post Joanne – thank you so much for sharing it. I have a similar running story in a way, although I was the weak lanky uncoordinated kid in school πŸ˜› I am yet to run a half at an 8 minute / mile pace, never mind a full marathon, but I share your joy in discovering running and agree there is no better high – especially when you never thought you’d be a runner at all.

    I also love sour cherries and kale so this dish calls to me, loudly πŸ™‚

  60. Hotly Spiced says:

    It’s good to hear how you got started and it’s an encouraging story because you clearly started at the beginner’s beginning! I’m about to start training again for that 10km run I tried to run last year but had to pull out the day before due to stress fractures. I’m not keen on giving it another go, it’s just my 9-yr old needs an adult with him for the adult training – he can’t run without me so there you go. I’m hoping I’m going to enjoy it this year xx

  61. Hey J! Tabbouleh with kale and sour cherries! Genius! Such a bowl of health! Love this recipe and your story about how you got started. Very inspiring.

  62. Amy says:

    As soon as I saw this during my lunch break yesterday, I knew I had to make it right away. Luckily, it was a shopping day so I bought the ingredients and made it last night. So amazingly delicious! I loved it even more today after it had been chilled and the flavors had time to meld. It was a delicious vegetarian lunch today with chickpeas added in–great suggestion!

  63. Katerina says:

    This is such an inspiring a story Joanne and this kale tabbouleh looks absolutely mouthwatering!

  64. I honestly think my body is not meant for running. I suuuuck at it. I am more of a power walker. I totally give runners all the credit in the world! Get it girl! Also, I am loving all the green in this! It just oozes spring and health!

  65. Danguole says:

    Love your running story–how awesome for you! I lived with a runner roommate for a couple of years and honestly tried, but it just isn’t for me (or so I think–who knows if things’ll change). So I think I get it–the challenge, the addiction etc., even though I don’t feel it myself… I’m more of a hiker/swimmer/whateverlooksfun-er. I really should buckle down and get a routine in place!

    P.S. Kale yeah. That looks delicious!

  66. Joanne this is such an inspiring story. An 8 min mile marathon?! You go, girl! Loving this tabbouleh – you put such great flavors in here. I’m such a sucker for anything with kale!

  67. I love love love the red dress. It was really fun to look at it. No way am I going to run anywhere. But when my two little dogs got out and ran full out toward a busy road. I surprised my ‘older’ self
    how I managed to still lay it out! Yes, I caught them, but only because the neighbor was out walking his two little dogs and my dogs stopped to talk with them. But even though I don’t run, I can still enjoy this delicious dip. Ha!

  68. Kate says:

    I’m so impressed by your running abilities, Joanne! I might be able to pass as a runner, but I am absolutely not one. I don’t enjoy it and my knees protest every time I try. Cookie and I go on epic 5-mile power walks when it’s nice outside, though. I love this tabbouleh idea, so creative!

  69. Johanna GGG says:

    wow nice job of shoving more greens into a green dish πŸ™‚

    and interesting to hear you weren’t a born runner – I wasn’t either but I can’t see myself ever being a runner – my love is riding a bike which I do very casually but think maybe one day I will do some longer rides – though rainy weather like we have today makes the gym and the pool seem very attractive

  70. Hannah says:

    Such a refreshingly unique take on the classic. I love the sweet and sour interplay of flavors you’ve brought together here. πŸ™‚

  71. love this post–I remember when running for 20 minutes in high school was a challenge for me, and now that’s a warm up (okay some days 20 min is still hard ;)). Well said!!!!

  72. elly says:

    Loove tabbouleh and this sounds like a great twist on it! And great story – I am soooo not a runner and I have a really hard time believing I could ever actually LIKE to run, so it’s always great to hear stories like yours.

  73. Super creative combo of ingredients and I love it! It look so good. πŸ™‚

  74. […] how Joanne from Eats Well With Others ,a runner and creator of this recipe uses this tabbouleh for the nutritional needs enabling her to […]

  75. […] Onder het mom van kersen-anders’: tabbouleh met zure kersen. Lekker als spread of met kikkererwten erdoor een heerlijk […]

  76. Julie says:

    I just found this recipe and your blog…love both! I also relate to your athletics story, although I have not done marathons, but many other 5K, 10K and half marathons. I just made your kale salad and it turned out delicious! I am a big fan of kale, and have an abundance growing in my garden right now. I did make a couple of changes, however, as I used quinoa instead of bulgar, and craisins instead of the dried cherries. Excellent! Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *