Quinoa tabbouleh is a fun spin on the classic Middle Eastern salad. It’s bright lemon and fresh herb flavor shines as a healthy side dish.
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley (I like a combination of flat leaf and curly parsley)
- 5 green onions, thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
- 1/4 cup high-quality extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- pinch of cayenne pepper, optional
- Cook the quinoa: Start by rinsing the quinoa using a fine mesh strainer for 1- 2 minutes. Tap off excess moisture. Add the quinoa to a medium saucepan with 2 cups of water and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Allow the quinoa to simmer (just barely bubbling) for about 18 – 20 minutes, or until the water has been completely absorbed. Turn off the heat and allow the quinoa to sit with the lid on to steam for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
- Allow the quinoa to cool: Cool the quinoa to room temperature. If you’re in a hurry, you can spread the cooked quinoa on a freezer friendly baking sheet or dish and pop it in the freezer for 3 – 4 minutes. You can also cook the quinoa ahead of time.
- Prepare the remaining ingredients: While the quinoa is cooling, chop the parsley, mint, tomatoes, and green onion. Zest and juice the lemon(s).
- Make the dressing: Whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne (if using). Make sure you taste your dressing and adjust the flavors to your liking.
- Assemble: In a large bowl add the cooled quinoa, chopped herbs and tomatoes, and dressing. Toss to coat and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready.
Quinoa needs to be rinsed very well to remove any bitterness from the grain. Do not skip rinsing the dry quinoa before cooking.
Cool the quinoa prior to assembling or it will heat the herbs and turn everything brown. If you’re in a hurry, cool the quinoa quickly by spreading it on a freezer-safe dish and popping it into the freezer for 3 – 4 minutes.
Taste as you go! Only you know how you like recipes to taste. Adjust the amount of herbs and salt and pepper as needed at each step to make sure your quinoa tabbouli is seasoned exactly how you like it.
You can make tabbouli ahead of time, which will give time for the flavors to develop and blend fully. Store quinoa tabbouleh in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve. It can be served at room temperature or cold.
Curly parsley and flat leaf parsley have very different flavors. I normally exclusively cook with flat leaf parsley because of the mild flavor, but curly parsley adds great texture, volume, and a more authentic flavor to tabbouleh. To get the best of both, I like to use a combination of flat leaf parsley and curly parsley in my quinoa tabbouleh. Feel free to experiment and use whichever kind of parsley you prefer.
There are so many variations and additions you can make to your quinoa tabbouleh to give it your own personal touch. Here are just a few ideas:
- Add 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Add 1 cup of finely diced cucumbers
- Add 1 cup cooked and drained garbanzo beans
- Substitute 1 cup finely chopped seeded tomatoes for the cherry tomatoes
- Prep Time: 20 Minutes
- Quinoa Cool Time: 20 Minutes
- Cook Time: 20 Minutes
- Category: Side Dishes
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keywords: Tabouli, Tabbouli, Tabbouleh, Mediterranean, Lebanese, Greek, Side Dish, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Plant-Based, Vegan