Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Quinoa Tabbouhleh ~ A Vibrant, Refreshing Salad of Parsley, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Lemon and Mint

Lots of fresh organic parsley, small seedless Lebanese cucumbers, ripe cherry tomatoes, scallions and a scattering of quinoa are tossed together and dressed with olive oil, lemon and mint. Think of it as a Middle Eastern chopped salad. It's healthy, refreshing, light and easy. 

Traditional tabbouleh is made with cracked wheat. In the traditional preparation of the dish, the tomatoes are diced very finely. But I kept this salad easy and rustic. 

I decided to use quinoa(pronounced Keen-wah) instead of wheat for its high nutritional profile. It's a gluten free seed, originally from South America. It has a mild, slightly nutty flavor and makes a terrific substitute for the cracked wheat in this salad. It's an exceptional source of protein an contains all eight amino acids making it a great choice for vegetarians and vegans. It's also a good source of dietary fiber and B vitamins. It's very versatile and easy to prepare.

I like using scallions in this tabbouhleh because they're milder than onions, but you can use red onions if that's what you prefer.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Recipe

Some Notes: 

If serving more than 4 people, I suggest you double the recipe. This makes an entire medium-sized bowl full. You can make the quinoa a day ahead and keep it in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it in this salad. If you're not using pre-washed quinoa, you must rinse it well before cooking to remove the bitter coating. 

I like to serve it with warm pita and my Restaurant Style Hummus;

If you'd like to bump up the protein and make it more of a whole grain dish, just toss some crumbled Greek feta into it or cheese of your choice and add more quinoa. 

It's delicious served with olives and pita or alongside roasted or grilled chicken, fish or steak. 

You must use dried or fresh spearmint, not peppermint, in this recipe. Peppermint is used for baking.         

You'll Need:
  • 1 1/2 pints of cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half or quartered, depending on their size. I used local, organic.
  • 1-2 large bunches of flat leaf parsley(again, depending on the size of the bunch.) Chop the leaves into small pieces.  I used 2 large bunches of organic parsley for this recipe. Do not use curly parsley. Do not put it in the food processor to chop. 
  • 6-8 scallions, diced (you can also use diced red onions)
  • 6-8 small, seedless cucumbers, chopped into small pieces. If you use other small cucumbers or regular ones with lots of seeds, remove the seeds. Remove the skin on regular cucumbers too.
  • 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling. I used an  unfiltered olive oil from California.
  • 1/2-1 cup of cooked quinoa. I used organic, pre-washed quinoa.
  • 1 large lemon or two medium, a couple of good squeezes of fresh lemon juice 
  • Kosher or sea salt to taste
  • Some fresh chopped mint leaves or 3 teaspoons dried spearmint, rub it between your fingers to release the flavor. (see notes)
The Rundown:

Place everything, except the lemon juice in a bowl and toss to combine. Add a few squirts of lemon juice. Taste and adjust the salt and lemon juice. Serve immediately.

If you're not going to serve it immediately, toss everything together except for the salt and lemon and refrigerate, add the salt and lemon before serving. Drizzle with more olive oil. Enjoy!


  1. Jilly, Love your page. Do you have a FB page too? Robin from Knead to Cook.

    1. Hi Robin, Yes, I just started one today. I'm new to all of this. I have to link this blog to my facebook page soon. Learning as I go. Thanks for popping by! My page is Jilly Inspired