An easy 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! (Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free.)
This quinoa tabbouleh recipe is so fresh and tasty! It's made with simple, healthy ingredients and is easy to assemble.
Traditional tabbouleh (also spelled tabouli) is a Lebanese tomato, herb, and bulgur wheat salad.
It's 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 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. Parsley is rich in many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. This recipe is one of my favorites to enjoy an abundance of this wonderful herb.
- Ripe tomatoes: Most often I use tomatoes on the vine if they are available. Otherwise I opt for roma tomatoes, cherry/grape tomatoes, plum tomato, or other garden tomato. Just be sure your tomatoes are ripe and flavorful. (For the most bright and sweet flavor, use cherry or grape tomatoes.)
- Green onion (scallion): These are tasty in this recipe for mild onion flavor.
- Fresh lemon juice: You will need about 1.5 lemons for this recipe (and optional lemon zest if desired).
- Fresh garlic clove: Use one minced garlic clove, or even more if you love garlic.
- Salt and black pepper to taste
Many families have their own variations of classic tabbouleh. It's a versatile, forgiving recipe, so have fun playing around to find your favorite style!
Popular alternate versions: These often include fresh mint leaves, cucumber, olive oil, etc.
Other additions: You can also add garbanzo beans (chickpeas), white beans, lemon zest, red onion, vinegar, capers, Kalamata olives, ground cumin, a dash of cinnamon, 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 the parsley, but you can 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.
This quinoa tabbouleh is a versatile dish! A few ideas for serving include:
- 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
Tip: You can eat this tabbouleh immediately, but it's 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 slightly 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 tastes best after it chills in the fridge for a few hours or overnight to let the flavors combine.
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
If you are enjoying this oil-free quinoa tabbouleh recipe, also check out:
- Curried Orange Rice Salad
- Mexican Quinoa Salad
- Quinoa Chickpea Salad with Dill Dressing
- Asian-Style Chopped Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette