Easy Tabbouleh Salad with Quinoa is a twist on a classic Middle Eastern salad typically made with bulgur or cracked wheat. Also spelled "tabouli" this salad is perfect for meal prepping as it lasts for days in the fridge and even gets better as it sits!
Parsley is the star of the show here and it packs a big nutritional punch! "Often labeled as one of the most powerful disease-fighting plants, parsley provides great nutritional value and offers many potential health benefits" Healthline
If you are a fan of quinoa, like me, you might want also to check out my Quinoa Stuffed Peppers which are also a great make-ahead meal! Or now about some crispy quinoa to use as a salad topper or to add to my Killer Grain and Seed Cereal.
I've kept the taste traditional except for the cucumber and the quinoa. If you want to bump up the protein in this salad you could add some chickpeas, which would not only be delicious but would also make it a complete meal. Crumbled feta cheese on top would top things off nicely! See the recipe card for quantities.
As you can see, parsley is the star of the show in this fresh salad! I'm usually "team-flat leaf parsley" but I chose curly parsley here to add a bit more fluff and bulk to the salad.
Cook the quinoa - My failproof method for cooking quinoa is to boil it like pasta rather than using the absorption method. This ensures perfectly cooked and separated grains every time!
Prepare the vegetables - Place the chopped tomatoes in a mesh sieve, sprinkle with salt, and let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. This removes most of the liquid so the salad isn't too wet.
Mix the dressing - Mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and remaining salt.
Mix well and let sit - Mix everything together and let sit, covered, in the fridge or at room temperature, for at least 20 minutes to let everything marinate.
- Quinoa - instead of quinoa, you can use the traditional bulgur (cracked wheat) or any other grain.
- Mint - if you aren't a fan of mint, or can't find any, omit it or use cilantro instead.
- Bump up the protein - Increase the protein and make this salad a meal by adding in some chickpeas, beans or lentils and top with crumbled feta cheese.
This recipe is naturally gluten-free and vegan.
Be sure to rinse the quinoa in cold water once it's done to stop it from cooking further. Drain well before mixing with the rest of the ingredients.
Tabbouleh (or tabouli) originally comes from Lebanon and Syria and is said to have originated in the middle ages.
Tabbouleh comes from the Arabic word "taabil" which means "to spice". To read more about the history of Tabbouleh click here.
There are many variations of this salad and today is enjoyed all over the world. The traditional salad is made mostly of parsley with some added bulgur (cracked wheat), tomatoes, onion, and dressed with fresh lemon juice and olive oil.
This salad makes a perfect side to dishes like:
- Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs
- Tomato Tuna Melts
- One-Pan Chicken and Artichoke Bake
- Crispy Pan Seared Salmon with Caper Vinaigrette
Easy Tabbouleh Salad with Quinoa
- ½ cup quinoa, rinsed well
- 4 Roma tomatoes, diced small
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 English cucumber, diced small
- 4 green onions, chopped fine
- 2 bunches curly parsley, washed and dried well
- ⅓ to ½ cup finely chopped fresh mint, about 30 leaves
- 4 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Romaine leaves to serve, optional
- Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil. Add quinoa, lower heat to simmer and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Taste after 10 minutes to check for doneness. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Meanwhile place the finely diced tomatoes in a mesh sieve over a bowl and sprinkle with ½ a teaspoon of salt. Stir and let stand while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- For the parsley, cut off the thicker stems. Place parsley leaves and finer stems in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Or finely chop by hand.
- Mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt.
- In a large bowl mix together the cooled quinoa, finely diced and drained tomatoes, finely diced cucumbers, green onions, parsley, and mint. Drizzle the lemon juice mixture over top and mix well to coat everything. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
- For best flavour, cover and let sit in the refrigerator, or at room temperature, for 20-30 minutes to let the ingredients marinate in the dressing.