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Quinoa Tabbouleh Recipe | Healthy Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is one of my favorite hearty cold salad ingredients, and using it in my Americanized version of tabbouleh makes an easy, healthy quinoa recipe.

Whether you are trying to eat more meatless meals, eat more veggies, or find delicious gluten-free recipes, this healthy quinoa salad is it. You can eat it on its own in a big bowl, or serve it alongside hummus and veggies (or pita), grilled chicken, or any more of your favorite Mediterranean dishes (feta, olives, and kibbeh are mine).

Traditionally, tabbouleh is made with bulgur instead of quinoa. However, bulgur is kind of hard for me to find at my local stores, and it contains gluten, which can be a problem for some of us. Traditional tabbouleh is my favorite by far, but quinoa tabbouleh is also really delicious and easy to make for my gluten-free friends and family.

quinoa tabbouleh

Healthy Recipe with Quinoa

This quinoa salad is loaded with vegetables, has flexible ingredients, and is fairly budget-friendly because you can make an entire meal out of it without any meat. It’s also dairy-free, gluten-free, and plant-based.

Just take your favorite summer veggies – cucumbers and tomatoes – and toss them in a bowl with chopped parsley (so many health benefits in fresh herbs!), quinoa, and some seasonings, and you’re done.

Ingredients in Tabbouleh Quinoa Salad

Quinoa

Loaded with protein and carbs, quinoa is a gluten-free food that is easy to make and fairly easy to find in grocery stores in my area. We use it for all kinds of recipes, but a hearty, plant-based salad is my favorite.

If you can’t find quinoa, try using couscous or bulgur.

Tomatoes

You can use any kind of tomatoes here. I used rainbow cherry tomatoes in the photos, so they were all kinds of colors. If you use a large tomato instead of cherry or grape, you probably want to remove the seeds and juice so the salad doesn’t turn out watery.

If your family doesn’t care for tomatoes, feel free to leave them out! It will still be delicious without them.

Cucumbers

English cucumbers are delicious here and easy to use because you don’t have to remove the seeds. But you can use a regular cucumber and just scoop the seeds out before dicing.

Parsley

There’s no substitute for this. Parsley is the star ingredient in tabbouleh. You can get away with less than the recipe calls for if you need to. However, if you want to make a salad with similar flavors but without parsley, try my Mediterranean Quinoa Salad here.

Mint

Skip this ingredient if you need to, but it’s delicious and you should absolutely try it if you have mint growing in your backyard or something.

Onion

Mince this up really small, and if you don’t have green onions, use red onions or scallions instead. If you use red onion, try macerating them like in this recipe to take the bite out of them.

Garlic

Use 1 clove minced fresh or jarred, or 1/4 tsp garlic powder if you don’t have any minced.

Olive oil

Really important to use olive oil here and not other oils in order to get the right flavor.

Lemon juice

Fresh is best, but I usually use bottled.

Salt and pepper

Nothing special here, but of course, we recommend Real Salt.

quinoa tabbouleh ingredients

Healthy Quinoa Side Dish

Tabbouleh is a healthy quinoa salad you can use as a side dish or a full meal. We serve it alongside grilled chicken, Greek instant pot beef roast, or other plant-based side dishes to make a Mediterranean platter.

We especially like to make this quinoa salad for plant-based meals, meaning we’re avoiding meat but we want something filling, hearty, and full of protein. Quinoa is a great source of protein, it’s shelf-stable, and it’s very easy to make.

Healthy Quinoa Salad

Here are a few tips to make your quinoa salad even better:

Rinse the Quinoa before cooking

Before you cook the quinoa, pour it into a fine-mesh strainer and rinse it under cold running water for a full minute. If you skip rinsing your quinoa first, it turns out very bitter-tasting. Don’t make that mistake! Rinse your quinoa.

In a rush?

If you don’t have time to wait for the quinoa to cool, spread your freshly cooked quinoa onto a baking sheet in a thin layer. Pop the baking sheet and quinoa into the freezer for 2-3 minutes. It will cool right down and be ready for your tabbouleh!

Some simple substitutions for quinoa Tabbouleh:

  • Of course, this recipe tastes best with fresh lemon juice, but you can use bottled too.
  • Out of garlic? You can skip it if you need to, or use ¼ tsp garlic powder and stir it up with the olive oil and lemon juice first.
  • If you don’t have green onions, try finely diced red onions or scallions.
  • If you don’t have an English cucumber, use one whole regular cucumber instead. You probably want to scoop the seeds out before you dice it. Adding all the juice might make the tabouleh watery.
Quinoa Tabbouleh

Quinoa Salad Kids can Make

If your kids have basic knife and cooking skills, this is an easy recipe for kids to make themselves! Quinoa salad is a perfect opportunity to practice chopping a wide variety of ingredients – leafy parsley, juicy tomatoes, fresh cucumber, and garlic cloves.

You can even cook the quinoa ahead of time and then let them assemble the salad themselves later.

Leftover Quinoa Salad

Tabbouleh tastes best when it sits for a few hours. If you have any leftovers, just know that it tastes even better when the flavors finish melding.

Feel free to add leftover quinoa salad to bowls of regular salad, veggie-loaded sandwiches or wraps, or serve alongside hardboiled eggs.

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quinoa tabbouleh

Quinoa Tabbouleh Recipe

  • Author: Stephani Jenkins
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Salad
  • Cuisine: Salad
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Quinoa is one of my favorite hearty cold salad ingredients, and using it in my Americanized version of tabbouleh makes an easy, healthy quinoa recipe.


Ingredients

UnitsScale
  • 1 c. dry quinoa
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. olive oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase)
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper, to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 c. finely chopped flat parsley (2 bunches)
  • 1/41/2 c. chopped fresh mint (optional but really good)
  • 3 green onions (green and white parts), diced very small
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped, or 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 English cucumber

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Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. You can either make it ahead of time and let it cool down in the fridge or if you’re pinched for time, spread it on a baking sheet and pop it in the freezer for a few minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!), lemon juice, garlic, salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase), and pepper. Pour the cooled quinoa into a large bowl and add the parsley, optional mint, onions, tomatoes, and cucumber. Pour the dressing over the top and give everything a good stir. For the best flavor, cover and refrigerate several hours before serving.
  3. Serve with: grilled chicken, greek roast, hummus, pita.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 234
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 256mg
  • Fat: 13g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 28g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: summer salad, leftover quinoa, vegan meals

What are your favorite quick summer recipes?

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

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