This post was updated in June of 2021 with new images, notes, recipe card and FAQs!
I looked at the weather map when I was reading the newspaper this morning and it was RED (meaning hot) practically all over the US of A. Summer is upon us and here in Cape Cod that means hot, muggy days and the occasional (blessed) thunderstorm. And it’s on these days that we crave light and cool dinners like this tabbouleh (or tabouli) with quinoa. Naturally gluten-free, quinoa is an excellent substitute for the more usual bulgur in this salad. This dish is packed with fresh ripe tomatoes and cucumbers, fresh herbs including parsley and mint, and drizzled with a bright and garlicky dressing. Luckily it keeps well too and tastes even better the next day!Jump to Recipe
Why Tabbouleh Made with Quinoa is the Perfect Summer Meal
Nobody likes to heat up the kitchen in summer, and often times I find myself whipping up a cool but hearty tabbouleh with quinoa salad, and passing a plate of something to grill over to the capable grill master. So it was last weekend–a simple, fresh and filling meal eaten outdoors for dinner one night, and again for lunch the following day.
It also makes great use of the tomatoes, cucumbers and mint that seem to take over the summer garden. As with every salad, try to find the freshest possible ingredients. If you don’t grow your own tomatoes, pick some up at the farmers’ market.
How to Make Tabbouleh with Quinoa
I love tabbouleh and before going gluten free I ate the wheat version made with bulgur frequently during the hot months. I wondered how it would taste if I used a mixture of red and white quinoa instead of bulgur in my tabbouleh and it was perfect!
Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:
- Quinoa (white or red or a mixture)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- English cucumber
- Cherry tomatoes
- Chopped fresh mint
- Flat-leaf parsley chopped
Consider adding some fresh feta cheese, grilled chicken or cooked chickpeas for added protein!
Frequently Asked Questions about Tabbouleh
Traditional tabouli or tabbouleh is made with a gluten-containing cracked wheat called bulgur. Quinoa is a seed and naturally gluten-free. While quinoa does contain more calories than bulgur, it is more nutritionally dense, with more protien.
Yes! It’s packed with veggies including tomatoes and cucumbers, fresh herbs, extra virgin olive oil and a lemony garlic dressing.
One of the best things about tabbouleh salad is that you can definitely make it ahead. I think it tastes even better the next day! you can store tabbouleh made with quinoa, tightly wrapped in the refrigerator, for up to four days.
Looking for More Hearty Main Dish Salads?
- Zesty Artichoke Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese
- Not Just Another Salade Nicoise
- Deli Style Italian Spaghetti Salad
Did you make this recipe? Be sure to leave a comment and star rating below (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐) and post a picture and tag us on Instagram using the hashtags #agirldefloured #deflouredrecipes! Thank you!
- Medium Saucepan
- 1 cup quinoa white or red or a mixture, rinsed and drained
- 1¼ cups water
- 2 lemons
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 english cucumber seeded and cut into a half-inch dice
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved (or 1½ cups of diced tomatoes)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
- 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley chopped
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Bring 1¼ cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the salt and the quinoa, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered for an additional 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a serving bowl.
- While quinoa is cooking prepare the dressing. Whisk the juice from one lemon with the garlic. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, while whisking, until the dressing is completely emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle half of the dressing over the hot quinoa and set aside the remainder.
- After quinoa mixture cool to room temperature, add the cucumber, tomatoes, mint and parsley and toss well. Drizzle over the remaining dressing and toss again. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary. I usually add the juice from one additional lemon at this point, because I prefer my tabbouleh on the tart side. Do it to your taste. Serve at room temperature or cold.