Quinoa Tabbouleh

~ Quinoa Tabbouleh ~

I love a good tabbouleh. For the uninitiated, tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern salad chockablock full of grains tumbled together with fresh herbs and diced vegetables coated with olive oil and lemon juice. It’s infinitely satisfying – hearty and fresh at once. It’s also agreeably flexible, allowing for a variety of ingredients, including the choice of grain. Traditionally, tabbouleh is made with bulgur or couscous, but quinoa is a tasty and gluten-free alternative. I like to serve tabbouleh as a side to grilled meat and fish, or as a light vegetarian meal accompanied by pita bread and hummus.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Quinoa is a South American grain, originating in the Andes. It is complete in protein, rich in phosphorous, magnesium and iron, with a nutty flavor. Quinoa is a healthy alternative to rice, couscous and bulgur – and it’s gluten-free. When cooking quinoa, be sure to cook it long enough for the germ or tiny tail to release from the grain. Serves 4.

1 cup quinoa (I used a combination of white and red quinoa)
1 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1 red or orange bell pepper, seeded, membranes removed, finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 red jalapeno or serrano chile pepper, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
Juice of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, or to taste
1 bunch mint, chopped
1 bunch cilantro (or parsley), chopped

Combine quinoa and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until liquid is absorbed and the germ, or tail, is released from the quinoa, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Stir in olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Cool to room temperature. Add remaining ingredients except for the mint and cilantro. Toss to combine. Taste to adjust seasoning. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour or up to 4 hours to allow flavors to develop. Before serving, stir in the mint and cilantro.

19 thoughts on “Quinoa Tabbouleh

  1. I love the assortment of flavors and colors in this dish. It looks so fresh and crispy, and even offers a bit of kick! Gorgeous! And I have to tell you – I made the figs again this weekend (added a new twist this time), and we’re loving it. I’m so glad that you posted that recipe.

  2. Wow, what colours! A beauty to look at and I’m sure so tasty. Quinoa is so good for you; I’ve been using it in Tabbouleh for a while…love it!

  3. I love quinoa. I think it is a very versatile grains (and I didn’t even realize it was glutenfree..) This looks beautiful with all those colorful veggies!

  4. I’m not sure if quinoa is the same as cracked wheat, but I’m amazed seeing tabbouleh being changed in so many different ways.
    Rufus puts lots of mint in his, and you do it with quinoa, and I’ve seen many more different versions of it, but I still make the “traditional” tonne of parsley one… 🙂

  5. I was thinking of how I miss tabbouleh since we’ve discovered my daughter’s gluten intolerance, and I thought, “I’ll bet I could use quinoa.” I knew I couldn’t have been the first person with this idea. Glad to find your blog. It looks like I’ll visit a lot!

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