Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad is refreshing Middle Eastern salad with protein packed and gluten free quinoa, crunchy and juicy vegetables, fresh herbs and zesty lemon juice. It is a healthy party of flavours on your plate!
Tabbouleh with Quinoa
Fresh, crunchy, lemony and minty this quinoa tabbouleh is perfect for your next dinner side dish, complete meal lunch or a backyard party. Just like my Mediterranean quinoa salad and quinoa black bean salad, this tabbouleh with quinoa instead of bulgur is full of hearty quinoa, fresh veggies, herbs and simple seasonings. This quinoa salad makes Mediterranean diet proud.
What Is Tabbouleh?
Tabbouleh salad is traditional Lebanese salad made bulgur, tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, olive oil, lemon juice and lots of parsley. Bulgur is cracked wheat which is a whole grain. It is often soaked rather than cooked for a tabbouleh salad. Quinoa is a very good contender to bulgur as it is more widely acceptable, available and gluten free. That’s why we are using it. 🙂
Ingredients You Will Need
- Quinoa: You can use white quinoa, red quinoa or tri-colour quinoa. I have included my favourite methods for cooking quinoa. Of course, Instant Pot is one of them. For salads, I like quinoa to be al dente, in other words firm.
- Tomatoes and Cucumbers: The ripeness of tomatoes will affect the final taste. Ripe red tomatoes are the best.
- Parsley: Italian or curly parsley work. Unlike in most dishes I prefer flat leaf parsley, actually in tabbouleh salad curly one works a tiny bit better as it makes tabbouleh salad recipe more fluffy.
- Mint and Green Onion: If you don’t have mint, feel free to skip it. That’s when I would add a tiny clove of garlic. Finely chopped green onion is very mild zesty onion addition to a tabbouleh.
- Olive Oil, Lemon Juice and Garlic: Quality extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice (not from a bottle) make up the dressing. Garlic is not a traditional addition to a tabbouli but may I say Ukrainian in me almost never minds it?!
How to Make Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
- Cook quinoa al dente on the stove or in Instant Pot. For salads I like quinoa firm. I find when you cook rice, quinoa or lentils following the package directions, it comes out softer and could lead to a mushy mess in a salad. Majority instructions recommend ratio 1:2 = 1 cup of dry quinoa : 2 cups of water. I cook quinoa for salads using 1:1.25 ratio. And I do not rinse quinoa as it comes pre-washed.
- Chop and seed vegetables. I seeded tomatoes because they are quite watery. But I find for quinoa tabbouleh recipe not seeded cucumber works great as it makes salad more juicy and not mushy.
- Chop parsley very finely including stems as they contain a lot of flavour. You will need a sharp knife or you can do so quickly in a food processor.
- Season salad by adding good amount of quality extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Although not traditional but sometimes I like to add small grated garlic clove to a tabbouleh.
Serving Quinoa Tabouli
This quinoa tabbouleh salad would pair well with:
- Chicken like grilled lemon rosemary chicken, Greek chicken kebabs or Greek chicken.
- Sauce on a side like hummus or sweet potato hummus add extra sauciness to the salad.
- Salmon like baked salmon in foil makes it a complete meal.
- In summer serve with grilled shrimp skewers.
- Meal prep in glass jars for grab and go lunches.
How to Make Ahead and Store Leftovers
Make ahead: Add quinoa and all veggies to a large bowl and cover tightly. In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cover. Refrigerate for up to 2 days. Warm up dressing (to melt olive oil) on a counter for a few hours or in a bowl with hot water for a few minutes. Combine before serving.
Leftovers: Refrigerate covered for up to 24 hours.
More Protein Packed Salad Recipes
Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
- 1 cup quinoa dry
- 1 + 1/4 cup water
- 3 medium tomatoes seeded & diced
- 1/2 English cucumber diced
- 1 large bunch parsley finely chopped
- 1/2 cup mint leaves finely chopped
- 2 large green onion sprigs finely chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 1 large lemon juice of
- 1 tsp salt
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Cook quinoa on the stove: In a small pot, combine quinoa, water and a pinch of salt. Cover, bring to a boil on high heat, reduce heat to low and cook for 12 minutes. Remove from heat, let stand for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork.
- Or cook quinoa in Instant Pot. You can also use leftovers.
- Transfer quinoa to a large mixing bowl and add tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, mint, onion, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Gently stir salad with large spoon to combine.
- Serve cold.
- Store: Refrigerate leftovers covered for up to 24 hours.
- Make ahead: Add quinoa and all veggies to a large bowl and cover tightly. In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cover. Refrigerate for up to 2 days. Warm up dressing (to melt olive oil) on a counter for a few hours or in a bowl with hot water for a few minutes. Combine before serving.
- I know most quinoa packages say the ratio for cooking quinoa is 1:2 = 1 cup of dry quinoa: 2 cups of water. I cook quinoa for salads using 1:1.25 ratio. This way it turns out al dente.
- Chop parsley finely using a food processor - saves a lot of time.
- If you don't have mint, feel free to add small grated garlic clove. It is not part of original tabbouleh salad but tastes so good. Or just add it in any case.
- I do not rinse quinoa as it comes pre-washed. It is hard to remove the seeds from a colander. We do not find any saponin taste that we do not like.
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