More concept than “recipe,” this simple salad is infinitely adaptable. The essentials are quinoa, an aromatic (onion, shallot, scallion, and/or garlic), fresh herb (parsley, cilantro, basil, mint, dill), oil, and acid (vinegar, lemon or lime juice). Here quinoa takes the place of the traditional bulgur (wheat), making it gluten free. Experiment with your favorite flavor combinations.
Serve as a side salad (great summer side for grilled meat) or topping for greens. Add more protein (animal, dairy, or plant based) for a complete meal.
Basic Tabbouleh Ingredients
1 c uncooked quinoa
1/2 small red onion, minced
1 cucumber, diced
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped (Roma tomatoes are preferable because they have less water)
1-2 c parsley and/or cilantro, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice (or white wine vinegar)
1/2 c feta cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper
red pepper, diced or minced
sundried tomatoes, chopped
shrimp, boiled and peeled
toasted seeds or nuts (sprinkle on top right before serving)
If your quinoa is not pre-rinsed, you will need to rinse before cooking, otherwise it will be bitter. (Use a fine mesh strainer to drain).
In a saucepan, combine quinoa, 2 cups water, and a dash of sea salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook until the quinoa is fluffy, about 20 minutes. Spoon quinoa into a large bowl and set aside to cool.
Note: Although you can make this with leftover quinoa from the fridge, which I’ve done many times, the flavors meld more quickly when the quinoa is freshly made.
Whisk together oil, lemon juice/vinegar, and minced onions. Set aside.
PREPARE VEGGIES AND TOSS TOGETHER
Prepare the veggies. Add cucumber, tomatoes, and herbs to the quinoa. Pour oil and vinegar mixture over the top and toss until combined.
Add feta and toss. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Adjust lemon juice and oil as needed. (You may want to add more, depending on how many other veggies you mix in).
The tabbouleh can be eaten right away, but will taste better if the flavors have had at least an hour to meld.
The Kitchn’s quinoa tabbouleh
Serious Eats tabbouleh salad