Fresh lemon, herbs, and veggies along with quinoa and a dash of olive oil come together to create this Quinoa Tabbouleh salad that is absolutely delicious! It's healthy, filling, and completely gluten-free.
If you are looking for a filling salad that is easy to make, full of flavor, and can be eaten as a main dish or side then quinoa tabbouleh is the perfect choice. It is fantastic on its own or the perfect side dish to go along with my Vegan Falafel to make a complete Middle Eastern meal.
And what makes this salad stand out is that it is refreshing and bright with a touch of tang. The dressing is full of fresh lemon that compliments all the herby notes of the parsley and mint. The cucumber and tomato add texture and the olive oil rounds it all out. It's the perfect marriage of balanced flavors. And while traditional tabbouleh is made using bulgur wheat, quinoa was used in this recipe to make an amazing gluten-free version.
This salad is definitely one of my favorites! But not something I grew up with. Tabbouleh is something I first had in my 20's and it opened the door to my love of Middle Eastern food.
In fact, the first time I had tabbouleh was at a family owned basement cafe in an office building. This was many years ago. But to this day I still remember being completely intrigued by the idea of a salad full of herbs.
At that point in life, I hadn't gone to culinary school yet. Most of my knowledge about food was based on what I was accustomed to and my travels to Southeast Asia. Back then the Food Network had just started to take off. I'm totally aging myself here! But it was not the foodie culture that we have today full of recipes all over the internet or TV channels devoted solely to food.
So I had never really seen or heard of tabbouleh. Yet, on that day after just one taste I was in love! And from that point on Middle Eastern food became something I wanted to learn more about.
You only need 10 easy to find ingredients to make quinoa tabbouleh! In fact, you can find them all in almost any market.
- Quinoa- I used standard white quinoa, but any color will work.
- Cucumber- English cucumber was used in this recipe, but Persian cucumbers are another great option.
- Roma Tomato- Cherry tomatoes can also be used.
- Green Onions- Also called scallions.
- Garlic- One small clove will be plenty. More than that and the garlic starts to overpower the salad.
- Parsley- Fresh Italian flat leaf parsley is the best choice for this recipe.
- Mint- Make sure to use fresh mint.
- Fresh Lemon- Fresh is best as lemon concentrate often times tastes more acidic than is does of fresh lemon.
- Olive Oil- A higher quality extra virgin olive oil will produce the best flavor.
- Salt- I used fine grain sea salt.
How To Make Quinoa Tabbouleh
This recipe is really easy to make and only requires a few simple steps.
To begin, you will want to prepare the quinoa according to the package directions. Then once cooked, you will need spread the cooked quinoa out on sheet pan to cool for a few minutes.
While the quinoa is cooking you can prep the cucumber, tomato, scallions, and garlic. Cut the cucumber and tomato into a medium size dice that are equal in size. Now, thinly slice the scallions and mince the garlic. If you have a microplane you can also use it for the garlic if you prefer. I love my microplane an use it all the time!
Once the vegetables are prepped, add the cucumber, tomato, and scallions to a medium size bowl with ½ teaspoon salt and toss to combine. Then set aside for now.
Next, prep the parsley. But before you do, make sure that it is as dry as possible or you could end up with mushy herbs. Place the picked off leaves of the dry parsley into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until finely chopped, but not mush. You will want to do this in two batches and be extra careful to not overprocess the delicate herbs. You can also do this step by hand with a sharp knife.
Now, add the cooled quinoa to a large bowl along with the parsley, mint, garlic, prepared vegetables, lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil. Then toss the mixture together. Finally, taste for salt and season to your liking. For the best flavor allow the tabbouleh to sit for about 10-20 minutes before serving.
And there you have it! A delicious gluten-free tabbouleh salad.
Can I use curly parsley?
You can use any type of parsley you like, but I prefer Italian flat leaf parsley for this recipe or any recipe for that matter. It has a more aromatic flavor and a better texture in my opinion. Curly parsley is more grassy in taste, can get bitter over time, and is typically only used for decorative purposes.
How long will the tabbouleh keep?
Tabbouleh salad is best when eaten within the first 2 days. However, it will keep in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days before the vegetables begin to break down.
Can you make this a day ahead?
Yes, you can definitely make tabbouleh the day before. In fact, the flavors will have melded together even more. My suggestion would be to make it the night before the day you plan to serve it for the best results. The other option is to make the salad ahead of time, but wait to add the tomatoes until right before serving.
This Quinoa Tabbouleh will become your new favorite recipe because it's...
- Bright, refreshing, and filling
- Perfectly balanced lemon and herb
- Totally gluten-free and healthy
- Quick and easy to make
If you try this recipe please let me know how it turns out by leaving a comment and rating. You can also hashtag #danceswithknives with a photo of your creation on Instagram where you can find me @dances_with_knives.
More Easy Salad Recipes
- Vegan Cobb Salad with Coconut Bacon
- Curried Israeli Couscous Salad
- Vegan Ceviche with Hearts of Palm
- Yummy Thai Peanut Noodles
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Easy Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
- ½ cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
- 1 english cucumber, deseeded and medium dice (about 1 cup)
- 2 roma tomatoes, deseeded and medium dice (about 1 cup )
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 small garlic clove, very finely minced (or use a microplane )
- 2 large bunches Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped (needs to be totally dry before chopping)
- ¼ cup mint, chopped (needs to be totally dry before chopping)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 to 3 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 to 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Cook the quinoa according to package directions in salted water. When done spread on a sheet pan to cool. The quinoa must be cooled before making the salad.
- Toss the diced cucumber, diced tomato, and sliced green onion in a medium bowl with the ½ teaspoon salt and set aside.
- Dry off the parsley as much as possible. Pick the top leaves off the parsley bunches leaving out the thick stems. Now, you can chop the parsley by hand with a knife or you can place the parsley leaves into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it's finely chopped. If using the food processor you will need to do this in 2 batches doing each bunch separately. Make sure to pulse as you don’t want to puree the leaves, you just want to chop them up finely. Once chopped, place the parsley into a large bowl.
- When the quinoa is cooled add it to the large bowl with the chopped parsley along with the tomato, cucumber, and green onion mixture.
- Add the minced garlic to the mixture. You can also add the garlic by grating it into the bowl with a microplane.
- Add the mint, lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil. Toss to combine making sure to coat well.
- Taste for salt and add more if desired. You may also add more lemon for a zestier taste or more oil for a less zesty taste.
- Let the tabbouleh sit for 10-20 minutes to let the flavors meld together before serving.