When I was invited to a friend’s potluck a few weeks back, I was unusually stumped as to what to bring. While I don’t have any dietary restrictions, the host is vegan, meaning my go-to potluck choices, like taco dip, slow-cooked chili and macaroni coleslaw, were off the table.
But I didn’t have to search far for a great alternative, thanks to this refreshing (and oh-so-easy!) quinoa tabbouleh salad from Logan Levant and Hilary Hattenbach, authors of the cookbook The Kitchen Decoded. “We love this recipe because it’s super simple to whip up in a food processor,” says Logan and Hilary. “It’s light, packed with fresh flavors and perfect for folks on gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan diets.”
Keep reading for this simple, but flavorful, recipe, plus some tips from the authors and Taste of Home’s Test Kitchen.
How to Make Vegan Quinoa Salad
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 3/4 cup packed fresh parsley sprigs, stems removed
- 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped red onion
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup grape tomatoes
- 1/2 English cucumber, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Yield: 6 servings
Step 1: Prep the quinoa
In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil, then stir in the quinoa. Reduce the pan to a simmer, cover and allow the quinoa to cook for 12-15 minutes, or until all of the water has been absorbed. Once it’s done, remove the quinoa from heat, fluff it with a fork, transfer to a large bowl and cool it completely. If you’re new to quinoa, be sure to take a peek at our guide to everything quinoa.
Author Tip: “We recommend using red quinoa with this recipe,” suggests Logan and Hilary. “Red quinoa has a slightly earthier flavor and a pretty color.” You can get a bag from Amazon here.
Step 2: Prep the veggies and dressing
While the quinoa is cooling, add the parsley, mint, onions and garlic to a food processor and pulse until they’re finely chopped. Add the tomatoes and cucumber and continue to pulse until they’re coarsely chopped.
In a small, separate bowl, whisk together the whisk lemon juice, oil and seasonings until blended well.
Test Kitchen Tip: In need of a new food processor? Don’t buy blind. This is the brand our Test Kitchen found to be the best.
Step 3: Assemble
Add the veggie mixture and dressing to the cooled quinoa, then toss to coat. You can serve this salad right away at room temperature, or pop it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
Change Up the Flavors
This quinoa salad is inspired by Mediterranean flavors, but don’t be afraid to make it your own. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Mexican-inspired: Substitute the mint for cilantro, cucumber for chopped avocado and allspice for cumin for a salad that will take your tastebuds south of the border.
- Thai-inspired: Rather than assembling the dressing in this recipe, toss the salad with a few tablespoons of Watcharee’s Thai Peanut Sauce, trade the tomatoes for red bell pepper then sprinkle in some chopped peanuts for extra texture.
- Italian-inspired: First, swap the mint for fresh basil leaves then the allspice for dried oregano. Add in some chopped artichoke hearts, pepperoncini peppers and vegan parmesan to round the salad out.
Don’t stop there! These are our favorite quinoa salad recipes.