An easy vegan Lebanese-inspired oil-free Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with flavorful tomatoes, parsley, and lemon. We love serving this tasty, ultra-fresh dip with our favorite crackers! (Gluten-free.)
What is Tabbouleh?
Traditional tabbouleh (also spelled tabouli) is a Lebanese tomato, herb, and bulgur wheat salad.
It is considered a national dish of Lebanon, and is popular in Middle Eastern cuisine.
However my version swaps out the traditional bulgur for quinoa to make it gluten-free. The result is incredibly refreshing and light.
Ingredients for Oil-Free Quinoa Tabbouleh
For this recipe you will toss together in a large bowl:
- White quinoa: Quinoa is a whole grain (though technically it's a seed) and it contains all nine essential amino acids making it a complete protein.
- Fresh parsley: I use flat leaf parsley but curly parsley works as well.
- Ripe tomatoes
- Green onion (scallion)
- Fresh lemon juice: You will need about 1 1/2 lemons for this recipe (and optional lemon zest if desired).
- Garlic clove
- Salt and pepper to taste
Many families have their own variations of classic tabbouleh.
It is a versatile, forgiving recipe, so have fun playing around to find your favorite style.
Some popular alternate versions include fresh mint leaves, cucumber, olive oil, etc.
Fresh parsley: For me, the highlight of tabbouleh is the abundance of fresh parsley. (It seems like a lot but go with it!)
Food processor: I use my food processor to help quickly chop, but simply hand chop if you'd prefer.
Fresh produce: Finding fresh, ripe tomatoes is also very important. In winter, you may want to opt for grape or cherry tomatoes for more flavor when tomatoes are out of season.
How to Serve
This quinoa tabbouleh is a versatile dish. Try it:
- As a dip with crackers next to hummus (our favorite)
- In lettuce wraps
- With pita bread or naan bread
- As a side dish with falafel, Mediterranean-style or Middle Eastern meals
- Or add chickpeas or white beans for a more substantial dish
You can eat immediately, but it is best served after chilling for a few hours or overnight.
This makes it a great make-ahead option for picnics, potlucks, gatherings, or meal prep.
- 1/2 cup white quinoa (or 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa)
- 1-2 large bunches fresh parsley (lots!)
- 2 cups ripe tomatoes, finely diced
- 3-4 green onions
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 1/2 lemons)
- 1 clove garlic
- Salt to taste
Other possible additions:
- Fresh mint, lemon zest, cucumber, chickpeas, red onion, balsamic vinegar, cumin, dash of cinnamon
- Cook quinoa: Rinse quinoa well. In a small pot over medium-high heat, add quinoa with 3/4 cups water. (Or vegetable broth for more flavor.) Bring to a light boil. Then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until liquid has absorbed.
- While quinoa is cooking, prepare the rest of the ingredients: Finely dice tomatoes. (Remove some excess liquid if they're extra juicy.) Thinly slice green onions. Mince garlic. Then place tomatoes, onions, and garlic in a large bowl.
- Finely chop the parsley, thick stems removed. (I use a food processor since there's so much, but feel free to hand-chop.) Add to bowl.
- Juice the lemons and add 1/4 cup lemon juice to bowl.
- Let the cooked quinoa cool a bit before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. After quinoa is added, toss well to combine. Salt to taste.
- Can serve immediately, but it really tastes best after it chills for a few hours/overnight to let the flavors combine.
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
If you are enjoying this (vegan, gluten-free, and oil-free) Quinoa Tabbouleh, also check out:
- Curried Orange Rice Salad
- Mexican Quinoa Salad
- Quinoa Chickpea Salad with Dill Dressing
- Asian-Style Chopped Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette