Quinoa Tabouli

Quinoa tabbouleh recipe! #vegan - cookieandkate.com

This summer, my A/C window units are failing miserably in their fight against the relentlessly hot weather and the heat produced by my kitchen appliances. Every time I turn on the stove, I sweat up a storm and curse the heat, but I’m not about to give up and go out to eat for every meal. I’ve adapted by seeking out recipes that either don’t require cooking at all, or recipes that require minimal cooking and make great leftovers, like this one. It yields about six cups of salad, which I’ll ration out over the next few days.

Tabbouleh, a classic Middle Eastern dish, is one of my all-time favorite salads. I order it every time I spot it on a menu. I’ve found that some more Americanized versions skimp on flavor by cutting back on the herbs and vegetables, but my recipe is about as flavorful as tabbouleh can be. Packed with summer produce, tabbouleh would be a terrific potluck dish for Independence Day!

Traditional tabbouleh is plenty good for you, but quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) provides more protein, amino acids and minerals than bulgur wheat. Quinoa, unlike bulgur wheat, isn’t actually a grain. According to Power Foods, one of my awesome new cookbooks, quinoa is the seed of a plant related to chard and spinach. Combined with greens, lots of vegetables, and healthy fat, quinoa tabbouleh as nutritious as it is delightful.

I used black quinoa for this salad, but red or a tri-color blend would be delicious as well. I don’t like white quinoa—it’s bland in taste and blah in color. The dark shade of this quinoa contrasts with the brightly colored vegetables and herbs, which produces a striking salad. Feel free to top it with feta cheese!

Healthy quinoa tabbouleh - cookieandkate.comhealthy tabbouleh made with quinoa

Quinoa Tabouli
5.0 from 2 reviews
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 6
Healthy tabouli made with quinoa that is loaded with flavor. Delicious as a side dish or light meal!
  • 1 cup black or red quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 bunch curly parsley, chopped
  • 10 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • one small red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice of two lemons
  • ¼ cup olive oil (more to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • splash of white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar (optional, add if you think it needs a little extra kick)
  1. To make the quinoa, first rinse one cup of quinoa in a mesh colander under running water. That washes away the bitter saponins on the surface.
  2. Dump the rinsed quinoa into a medium sized pan on the stove. Add two cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Cover and simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes, until the water is absorbed. Once it’s done, remove from heat and fluff the quinoa with a fork.
  4. Let the quinoa cool, then toss in the rest of your ingredients.
  5. Add more olive oil, salt or pepper, and/or vinegar to taste.
  6. If you have time, cover and let the salad chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, to let the flavors blend together.

For more quinoa recipes, check out this post on quinoa for breakfast, and my recipes for cherry, arugula and quinoa salad and roasted tofu with steamed veggies. You might also like my colorful chickpea salad recipe. Enjoy!


  1. says

    Beautiful salad! Love the dark colour…
    I am right now trying to eat more salads and soup and basically cut down on heavy foods… I am sure I am going to try this recipe :)

  2. says

    your blog is SO gorgeous!! i found it through your smoothie recipe (banana+flax) and i can’t wait to try it, along with your whole wheat banana bread.

  3. says

    That looks fantastic! I bet it’s so nice and refreshing. I know exactly what you mean, trying to limit how much heat I put into the house, but I want to cook! And eat! :D
    This salad looks gorgeous!

  4. Victoria says

    This is fantastic! I didn’t have peppers, and I left out the mint (making it for some friends who don’t like it), and it still came out incredibly delicious. I also cooked the quinoa in veggie broth, which really gave it a nice flavor.

    Thanks for this recipe. I’ve been looking for a gluten-free option for tabbouleh.

  5. says

    Kate – I made this quinoa tabouli for a church pot luck in the SOUTH. Guess what? It was gone! I am sure that is not a surpirse to you, but among the BBQ chicken, hot dogs, cheesy cheesy mac and cheese and taste-less salads (I am sure you can envision this…), this “red-seed-looking-things -and-vegetables” was a huge hit. I was making a risky move bringing this…thanks for the awesome recipe. (BTW, I added a bit too much red wine vinegar/apple cider vinegar so I drizzzled in some agave to take the edge off the tang).

    • says

      Yes! So happy to hear this. I want to give you a high five for taking kale and quinoa to a Southern potluck! I know exactly the type of food and “salads” you mentioned. Great idea to counter the sharpness of vinegar with agave. So glad you liked it, thanks for the comment!

  6. Rachel says

    I love your recipes. I think they look super healthy and tasty, I cannot wait to try them out. However, would you be able to post the calorie content for each recipe? It would be super helpful for those who are trying to stick to a diet. Thanks!

    • says

      Hey Rachel, I’m sorry, I don’t provide nutrition details. They vary widely depending on serving size, actual ingredients used, etc. I would hate to provide inaccurate information to my readers.

      You can look up the recipe on myfitnesspal.com if you’d like to see their estimates. If you do, please feel free to share your results in the comments section for the recipe!

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