Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad is a gluten-free version of the classic Lebanese dish. This lemony herb salad is loaded with fresh parsley and mint, along with tomatoes and green onion. It's really easy to make and a healthy part of a plant-based Mediterranean diet.
What is Tabbouleh?
Traditional Middle Eastern Tabbouleh is made with cracked wheat or bulgur, parsley, mint, tomatoes, onion, lemon juice and olive oil. In addition, you may see it made with couscous instead of bulgur in some places like Israel.
However, the lemon and herbs are the true stars of this dish.
Although when I discovered I had a gluten sensitivity, I was sad that I would no longer be able to enjoy some of my favorite dishes, such as this one.
But now I can have it whenever I want, thanks to quinoa!
And if you love learning about the origins of different foods like I do, check out A Brief History of Tabbouleh, Lebanon's National Food.
Quinoa is easy to find in most supermarkets these days due to the popularity of this healthy pseudo-cereal grain.
I find the texture works very well in a variety of recipes calling for cracked wheat or couscous.
And since it's naturally gluten-free, it's suitable for most people.
Plus it's high in fiber, protein, B vitamins, magnesium, and other nutrients, and it tastes great.
Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad Ingredients
You only need a handful of ingredients to make this flavorful appetizer or side:
- quinoa (any color you prefer)
- fresh parsley
- fresh mint leaves
- green onions
- lemon juice
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
And these foods are all part of a healthy plant-based Mediterranean diet.
Tips for making the perfect Quinoa Tabbouleh
This salad is very easy to make. Once you've made the quinoa and chopped the herbs and vegetables, it's a breeze.
But it never hurts to have a few helpful tips up your sleeve before you make Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad.
- Cook the quinoa according to the package directions OR use an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. The latter is my go-to method for perfectly cooked quinoa. You can read the step-by-step directions in the recipe for Cilantro Lime Quinoa.
- You can make the quinoa in advance so it has time to cool before you want to make this salad. This salad is served chilled or at room temperature, so we don't want the grains to be warm. You can place the cooked quinoa in a mesh strainer and run cold water over it to quicken the cooling process.
- Wash the herbs after you purchase them and store them covered in the refrigerator. This way they are ready to go when it's time to make the Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad. And it's easier to chop dry herbs.
- If possible, use fresh lemon juice instead of bottled. It tastes better and you can garnish the salad with some extra slices or wedges. But a good quality bottled juice will work in a pinch.
- Taste the salad right before serving and adjust the seasonings, as needed. Sometimes a squeeze of lemon or a sprinkle of salt can make all the difference.
What can I serve with Tabbouleh?
Since it's delicious served at room temperature, I love including Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad as part of a spread of light fare or summer dishes.
You can pick up some store-bought olives and marinated vegetables, hummus, and stuffed grape leaves to stick with a Mediterranean theme.
Or try it with other recipes like these favorites:
- Vegan Tuna Salad
- Tofu Ricotta Crostini
- Mediterranean Cucumber Salad
- Cannellini Bean Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Moroccan Carrot Salad with Oranges
Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad Recipe
While the famous Lebanese grain salad is typically made with bulgur or couscous, quinoa is a fantastic gluten-free substitute. Tabbouleh is often served as an appetizer with other mezze such as hummus, stuffed grape leaves, raw vegetables and nuts. Once you try this homemade Mediterranean salad, you'll want to incorporate it into your regular menu of sides and starters.
This recipe can be made in advance and stored covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars!
Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad (Gluten-Free)
- ½ cup quinoa, any color
- 1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped (about 2-3 cups)
- ½ cup mint leaves, finely chopped
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. Allow to cool.
- Combine the cooked quinoa with the rest of the ingredients. Toss well to coat.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature. Enjoy!