quinoa tabbouleh

That’s “keen-wah tab-ooh-lay”. Don’t let the name scare you away from this simple salad.

I’m obsessed with tabbouleh and have been since the first time I had it. It’s full of texture and tons of super fresh, vibrant flavors. I like to eat it plain or stuff it into a pita with some tzatziki. I really can’t get enough of it! There are a million ways to make tabbouleh, and this is just one (my favorite way, of course).

I decided to replace the traditional bulgur wheat in this tabbouleh recipe with quinoa because lately I’ve wanted to experiment with quinoa. Let me just tell you, I think I’m in love with quinoa. Not only is quinoa a nutritional powerhouse, but it has the most amazing texture! It’s like tasty little beads that burst when you bite them. Fun!

Bulgur is a less expensive option, or you can even use couscous. All three items cook quickly and are usually available in bulk bins so you can buy just the amount you need. Hint: bulk bin scoops are usually pretty close to one cup in volume! ;D

The amount of salad that this recipe makes will vary quite a bit depending on the size of your tomato, cucumber, and parsley bunch. Also, make sure to use curly leaf parsley as it has more volume and will give the salad body. My salad yielded about 8 cups, but you could even add a second bunch of parsley if you want to stretch it out more. It will “shrink” as it refrigerates. The salt will slowly wilt the vegetables causing it all to collapse a little, but the flavor will get better as it does!

Quinoa Tabbouleh

quinoa tabbouleh

4.7 from 10 votes

Quinoa Tabbouleh

This quinoa tabbouleh has all the familiar flavors of traditional tabbouleh, but with nutrient rich quinoa instead of bulgar.

Total Cost $8.11 recipe / $1.01 serving
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa $1.36
  • 1 large tomato $2.39
  • 1 large cucumber $0.99
  • 1 bunch curly leaf parsley $0.99
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 1 large lemon $0.69
  • 1/4 cup olive oil $1.32
  • 1 tsp salt $0.05


  1. Rinse the quinoa under cool running water. Place the rinsed quinoa in a pot with 1.75 cups of water. Put a lid on top, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat. Allow the quinoa to cool before making the salad or else the heat will wilt the parsley and vegetables. To cool it faster, spread it out on a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. While the quinoa is cooling, prepare the rest of the salad. Cut the tomato and cucumber into a small dice. Rinse the parsley well to remove sand and grit, then chop well. Add the cucumber, tomato, and parsley to a bowl.
  3. To make the dressing, squeeze the juice from the lemon into a bowl (about 1/4 cup). Mince the garlic and add to the lemon juice along with the olive oil and salt.
  4. Once the quinoa is cooled, combine it with the chopped vegetables and the lemon dressing. Stir well and then serve!

quinoa tabbouleh

Step By Step Photos

rinse quinoa
The first thing you’ll want to do is rinse the quinoa well. Quinoa is naturally coated with a substance called saponins that have a soapy flavor. Rinsing the quinoa will remove it and make the quinoa taste a LOT better.

quinoa close upIf you’ve never seen quinoa, here’s a close up view. It’s used like a grain, but technically it’s a seed. It is one of the few plant sources of complete proteins, plus it has all sorts of other good stuff (fiber, vitamins, minerals). Not to mention, it’s easy to cook and delish!

quinoa and water
Place the rinsed quinoa in a pot with 1.75 cups of water. Usually people use a ratio of 1:2 quinoa to water, but I wanted to make sure the quinoa was a little on the firm side for this salad, so I used a little less water.

simmer quinoa
Place a lid on top and bring the pot up to a boil. As soon as it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes.

cooked quinoa
After 15 minutes, the quinoa will have soaked up all of the water. Allow the quinoa to cool before making the salad because you don’t want the heat to wilt the parsley or vegetables. To make it cool faster, spread the quinoa out on a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator. It should cool significantly in 30 minutes.

tabbouleh ingredients
And this is just about all you need to make this amazing salad (plus olive oil and salt).

diced vegetables
I actually cooked my quinoa the day before, so it was cool and ready to go today when I made my salad. Cut the tomato and cucumber into a small dice. Place them in a bowl with the cooled quinoa.

chopped parsley
Wash the parsley off well and then shake off as much water as possible. Chop it up good and add it to the bowl. I didn’t even bother removing the parsley leaves from the stems, I just chopped them up together. Stir everything together.

Lastly, make the dressing. Squeeze the juice from the lemon (about 1/4 cup). To get the most juice, microwave the lemon (before cutting it) for about 30 seconds. Also, roll it around on the countertop with moderate pressure to help soften it up. Mince the garlic and add it to the lemon juice along with the olive oil and salt.

finished tabbouleh
Drizzle the dressing over the salad and stir well. Ta-da! You’re done. Super easy.

quinoa tabbouleh
I could eat this all day!!