Here’s a fresh and light quinoa tabouli recipe to serve as a side or as a healthy lunch. 

I love how protein-dense this citrusy salad is and that it leaves me feeling light and full of energy.

Quinoa Tabbouleh in a white bowl

Why you’ll love this quinoa tabouli recipe

  • It’s packed with nutrients: Quinoa is a high-protein grain that is rich in fiber, iron, and magnesium. Combined with fresh herbs, vegetables, and lemon juice, a quinoa tabouli recipe is a delicious and nutritious way to fuel your body.
  • It’s gluten-free: Traditional tabouli recipes are made with bulgur wheat, which is not gluten-free. By using quinoa instead, you can enjoy a gluten-free tabouli that is safe for those with gluten sensitivities.
  • It’s easy to make: Quinoa tabouli recipes are quick and easy to make. Simply cook the quinoa, chop the veggies and herbs, and mix everything together in a bowl.
  • It’s versatile: Quinoa tabouli can be served as a side dish, a salad, or even as a filling for wraps or sandwiches. It’s also great for meal prep, as it can be stored in the fridge for several days and makes a convenient and healthy meal or snack.

Ingredients and substitution notes

  • Quinoa: Quinoa is the main ingredient in this recipe and provides a high-protein and gluten-free base for the salad. If you don’t have quinoa, you can substitute it bulgur wheat for a more traditional tabouli.
  • Fresh herbs: Fresh parsley and mint are essential ingredients in tabouli, giving the salad its bright and zesty flavor. You can use curly parsley if you can’t find flat-leaf parsley, and you can substitute the mint with cilantro or dill for a slightly different flavor.
  • Tomatoes: Fresh, ripe tomatoes are a must in tabouli, adding juicy sweetness and a pop of color to the salad. You can use cherry tomatoes or Roma tomatoes, or substitute them with diced cucumber or bell pepper for a different texture.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic adds a pungent and aromatic flavor to the salad. If you’re not a fan of raw garlic, you can use roasted garlic or omit it altogether.
  • Green onion: Green onion adds a mild onion flavor and crunch to the salad. You can substitute it with finely diced red onion or shallots for a stronger onion flavor.
  • Olive oil: High-quality olive oil adds richness and depth to the salad dressing. If you don’t have olive oil, you can use another neutral oil, such as avocado oil or grapeseed oil.
  • Lemon juice: Fresh lemon juice is a crucial ingredient in tabouli, providing acidity and brightness to the salad. If you don’t have lemons, you can use limes for a similar effect.

Quinoa Tabouli Recipe variations and add-ins

  • Add chickpeas: For a protein boost, you can add a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas to the tabouli. This will make it more filling and satisfying as a main dish.
  • Use different grains: While quinoa is the traditional grain used in tabouli, you can use other grains for a different flavor and texture. Try bulgur wheat or even farro for a heartier salad.
  • Add roasted vegetables: Roasted vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, or bell peppers can add a delicious smoky flavor to the salad. Simply chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces, toss with olive oil and salt, and roast in the oven until tender.
  • Use different herbs: While parsley and mint are the traditional herbs used in tabouli, you can experiment with other herbs for a different flavor. Try using cilantro, dill, or basil for a unique twist.
  • Add nuts or seeds: Chopped nuts or seeds can add a delicious crunch to the salad. Try adding toasted pine nuts, chopped almonds, or pumpkin seeds for extra texture.

Top tips for making Quinoa Tabouli

  • Rinse the quinoa: Before cooking the quinoa, be sure to rinse it thoroughly in a fine-mesh strainer. This will remove any bitterness or residue on the quinoa and ensure that it cooks evenly.
  • Use cold water to cook the quinoa: When cooking the quinoa, use cold water instead of hot water. This will help the quinoa cook more evenly and prevent it from becoming mushy.
  • Let the quinoa cool before mixing with other ingredients: Once the quinoa is cooked, be sure to let it cool completely before adding it to the other salad ingredients. This will prevent the herbs and vegetables from wilting and ensure that the salad has a fresh and vibrant flavor.
  • Finely chop the herbs: To ensure that the salad has a consistent flavor throughout, be sure to finely chop the herbs, especially the parsley and mint. This will also make it easier to eat and give the salad a more delicate texture.

Make ahead of instructions and storage

Make ahead instructions: 

Quinoa tabouli can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To make ahead, cook the quinoa and chop the herbs and vegetables as directed. Store the cooked quinoa and chopped ingredients separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, mix the quinoa and chopped ingredients together and dress with olive oil and lemon juice.

Storage tips: 

Store leftover quinoa tabouli in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. If the salad has already been dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, it may become slightly soggy over time. You can refresh the flavors by adding more fresh herbs, lemon juice, and olive oil to the salad before serving.

Serving suggestions 

I love serving soup, salad and bread trio and this tabouli goes really well with my vegan potato kale soup

It’s also great just on its own as a salad or as a side to this vegan roast turkey or my one-pot cherry tomato and basil pasta


Can I use other grains instead of quinoa in tabouli? 

Yes, you can substitute other grains for quinoa in tabouli if you prefer. Some common alternatives include bulgur wheat or even rice. Keep in mind that cooking times may vary depending on the grain you choose, so adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Wrapping it up 

This bright and breezy dish is perfect for a warms summer’s day. Its honestly SO healthy and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you.

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Quinoa Tabbouleh in a white bowl

The Best Quinoa Tabouli Recipe

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  • Author: Chef Ani


Here’s a fresh and light quinoa tabouli recipe to serve as a side or as a healthy lunch.


  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mint, chopped
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • salt to taste


  1. Rinse quinoa under running water.
  2. In a skillet, toast rinsed quinoa on medium heat until golden in color.
  3. Transfer the quinoa to a saucepan, add water, and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 10-15 min.
Set aside to cool.
  4. Combine all the fresh ingredients in a bowl and add oil and lemon juice.
  5. Add cooled quinoa, gently combine, and salt to taste.