Easy Quinoa Tabbouleh Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 15 min. + standing Cook: 20 min. + cooling
We put a gluten-free twist on a classic Middle Eastern salad by using quinoa instead of bulgur. Our quinoa tabbouleh recipe features a protein-packed superfood, crisp veggies, fresh herbs and an easy lemon vinaigrette.

Updated: Apr. 23, 2024

Ready to take a break from a typical green salad? Try tabbouleh, an herbaceous Middle Eastern salad traditionally made with bulgur wheat. Here, we make our tabbouleh with quinoa, a so-called “superfood” that’s gluten free and a good source of plant protein. The light, fluffy, grain-like seeds have a similar texture to couscous. Used in salads, quinoa gives a refreshing, airy quality.

The flavors in our quinoa tabbouleh are as fresh as those in traditional tabbouleh recipe: juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, bright lemon juice and a ton of refreshing herbs. This recipe is a fantastic vegan main course or refreshing side dish for any summer cookout.

Ingredients for Quinoa Tabbouleh

  • Quinoa: Quinoa looks like a grain, but it’s actually a seed. White quinoa has the most delicate flavor and fluffiest texture. For nuttier notes, use red or black quinoa.
  • Veggies: Crisp cucumber, juicy tomatoes and aromatic green onions come together to give the salad a complex texture and refreshing finish.
  • Herbs: Fresh parsley and mint are essential ingredients for any tabbouleh salad, adding a punch of herbaceous flavor to every bite.
  • Tabbouleh dressing: We make a simple dressing with lemon juice for acidity and extra virgin olive oil for richness. High-quality olive oil makes a difference here, so opt for the best olive oil you can afford.


Step 1: Cook the quinoa

In a large saucepan, bring the water and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt to a boil. Add the quinoa, and reduce the heat. Cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes.

Editor’s Tip: If you’re new to quinoa, get more tips on how to cook quinoa.

Step 2: Cool the quinoa

Remove from heat, and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl, and let cool completely.

Step 3: Toss the quinoa with veggies and dressing

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Add the parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, green onions and mint to the bowl with the cooled quinoa. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, pepper and remaining 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Drizzle the dressing over the salad, and toss to coat. Let stand 30 minutes before serving. Refrigerate the leftovers.

Recipe Variations

  • Add feta cheese: Fold in crumbled feta cheese to give this tabbouleh salad a creamy finish and tangy flavor.
  • Make it spicy: Add a little heat to the salad with diced jalapeno peppers or crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Increase the herbs: Tabbouleh salad is a celebration of herbs, so don’t be afraid to add more! Increase the parsley and mint, or include other leafy herbs like cilantro or dill.

Can you make tabbouleh in advance?

Quinoa tabbouleh actually tastes better if you make it in advance. The quinoa has a chance to absorb the flavors from the lemon dressing when it stands for at least 30 minutes (or as long as overnight). You can leave quinoa tabbouleh on the counter for up to two hours. If you need more time, store it in a covered dish in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.

How to Store Quinoa Tabbouleh

Store quinoa tabbouleh in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Tabbouleh is good for up to one week, but the vegetables will only stay crisp for about two to three days.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Tips

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Is quinoa healthier than bulgur?

“Healthy” means different things to different people, so it depends on what you’re looking for! Both quinoa and bulgur are nutrient-dense ingredients that contain vitamins, protein and fiber. Tabbouleh with quinoa is a good option for anyone with wheat allergies or sensitivities, as quinoa is a gluten-free ingredient.

What do you serve with quinoa tabbouleh salad?

Quinoa tabbouleh can be served as a light side or main dish. Serve the salad in butter lettuce cups or endive leaves for a colorful appetizer, or pair it with pita bread and hummus as a snack. You can also add protein to tabbouleh for a heartier dinner option. Try pairing it with roast leg of lamb, chicken tzatziki, falafel or air-fried chickpeas.

Easy Quinoa Tabbouleh

Prep Time 15 min
Cook Time 20 min
Yield 8 servings.


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 3 cups chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup chopped English cucumber
  • 3 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 8 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper


  1. In a large saucepan, bring water and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt to a boil. Add quinoa. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed, 12-15 minutes. Remove from the heat; fluff with a fork. Transfer to a bowl; cool completely.
  2. Add parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, green onions and mint. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, olive oil, pepper and remaining 1/2 teaspoon sea salt; drizzle over salad and toss to coat. Let stand 30 minutes before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.

Nutrition Facts

3/4 cup: 160 calories, 8g fat (1g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 258mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 3g fiber), 4g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 fat, 1 starch.

Tabouli is a super fresh, mostly parsley salad with finely cracked wheat, juicy tomatoes, onion, fresh lemon juice, good quality extra virgin olive oil and a hint of fragrant mint. I added a little gluten-free twist to this recipe by replacing the cracked wheat with quinoa and then added some cucumbers for a nice crunch. For a delicious and colorful appetizer, serve in butter lettuce cups or endive leaves. —Nikki Haddad, Germantown, Maryland