This healthy quinoa tabbouleh salad is light, refreshing, and flavorful. It's quick and easy and takes only a few simple ingredients to make.
If you've never heard of tabbouleh before, it's a vegetarian salad dish that originates in Lebanon. It's traditionally made with bulgur, tomato, finely chopped parsley, and a few other simple ingredients. It's a salad I've tried many times before and loved!
But since I went gluten-free, I wanted to create my own version inspired by the traditional recipe, that used quinoa instead of bulger. Also, while not traditional, I added in some cucumber for an extra crunch. This grain salad recipe is naturally vegan and gluten-free and is the perfect side dish or light lunch recipe for summer.
Update: I've been making this recipe for years, and I've now updated the post with new tips, tricks, and images to help you perfect your quinoa tabbouleh salad.
How to Make Tabbouleh with Quinoa
While traditional tabbouleh includes bulgur or couscous, as I said I wanted to make a gluten-free version of this recipe so I could enjoy it with friends and family. So I went with my favorite grain, quinoa!
I love that quinoa adds a bit more protein to the salad. In addition, since quinoa is so fluffy, it makes the whole salad feel light and airy.
I think you'll love my twist on this delicious salad recipe!
Okay, so here’s the deal with this salad: it only requires 7 ingredients and less than 10 minutes if you have cooked quinoa on hand. Here's what you need:
- Cooked, cooled quinoa. You can use any variety of quinoa you like. Chill the grains before making the tabbouleh to keep this salad cool and refreshing
- Tomatoes. Choose the juiciest tomatoes you can find. I like cherry tomatoes, but any size will do! Chop them nice and small for the salad.
- Cucumbers. these add a ton of crunch and bright green color to the dish.
- Mint and parsley. these two herbs are must-haves in tabbouleh recipes. The mint is a bit sharp, while the parsley is super fresh-tasting and bright. This is really a time when you need fresh herbs, not dried.
- Olive oil. This helps round out the flavors and texture of the salad. The quinoa nicely absorbs the oil and really highlights the flavor, so use nice-quality olive oil if you have it.
- Lemon juice. For necessary acidity and brightness.
Spicy Quinoa Tabbouleh
I love adding a touch of spice to this herby salad. My favorite way to do this is with a dash of chili salt at the end. If you can't find chili salt but would still like a spicy quinoa tabbouleh dish, then add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.
You can make this grain salad ahead of time. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Because the base is quinoa you don't have to worry about the dressing making anything soggy. in fact, you may find that the longer it sits, the better it tastes!
You can turn this healthy quinoa tabbouleh recipe into a full meal by adding extra protein if you like. Try Crispy Baked Tofu, Crispy Chickpeas, or if you're not vegan or vegetarian, a different cooked protein.
More Healthy Quinoa Salad Recipes To Try:
- Herbed Spring Quinoa Salad
- “Caprese” Quinoa Salad
- Moroccan Quinoa Salad
- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Herbed Tahini Dressing
- Green Bean & Almond Quinoa Salad
Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
- Add quinoa, tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh herbs into a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, lemon, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over salad ingredients and toss to combine.
- Serve immediately or add in your favorite proteins (chickpeas, chicken, steak, shrimp, etc. would all be delicious).