Quinoa Tabbouleh


By Freya Bellin

This take on tabbouleh, a Middle Eastern classic, is quite versatile. While herbs still remain the star of the show here, the recipe includes a variety of less traditional ingredients (olives, beans, nuts). During the colder seasons, you could try replacing the tomatoes with a variety of roasted root vegetables, like sweet potatoes or parsnips, or roasted squash. Anything roasted will add a nice smoky flavor too. As mentioned below, pretty much any leftover or vegetable will work.

Quinoa is a great substitute for the traditional bulgur; being very high in protein, it makes this salad a bit more filling. The lemon juice and scallions add a nice brightness. Since the herbs really are the main ingredient, try to get them as fresh as possible. The more fragrant, the better. I filled a pita with Quinoa Tabbouleh, hummus, roasted eggplant, and caramelized onions to make it a meal.  Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 40 minutes 

Tabbouleh is usually made with bulgur, but quinoa, the pleasantly grassy, slightly crunchy, high-protein grain from South America, puts a lively twist on it. Don’t be tempted, though, to turn this herb-and-vegetable dish into a grain salad—the grain is for texture, not heft. Instead, try experimenting with different raw or cooked vegetables. I’ve made some suggestions here, but use what you like and what’s handy, including leftovers. Some of my favorites: asparagus, peas, spinach, or eggplant, especially grilled.

1⁄2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained


1⁄3 cup olive oil, or more as needed

1⁄4 cup lemon juice, or more as needed

Black pepper

1 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley

1 cup roughly chopped fresh mint

1 cup cooked or canned white or pink beans, drained, optional

6 or 7 radishes, chopped

1⁄2 cup chopped scallions

2 ripe tomatoes, chopped

About 6 black olives, pitted and chopped, or to taste, optional

2 celery stalks (leaves included if possible), chopped

1⁄4 cup chopped pistachios or almonds, optional

1. Put the quinoa in a small saucepan with 3⁄4 cup water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and bubble gently until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, 15 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and let rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Toss the warm quinoa with the oil and lemon juice and sprinkle with pepper. (You can make the quinoa up to a day in advance: Just cover and refrigerate, then bring to room temperature before proceeding.)

2. Just before you’re ready to eat, add the remaining ingredients and toss gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more oil or lemon juice as needed, then serve.


Posted in Middle Eastern, Recipes


  1. HoneyBNutrition said...

    This is fantastic, I am so excited!! I love tabbouleh and this makes it even better. Even people who have trouble with grains can often tolerate quinoa.

  2. maxine lesline said...

    A “relaxed” recipe for quinoa tabbouleh is a pleasant departure from usual recipes… suggesting some innovation from the cook. Healthy and easy… thanks.

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