Quinoa Tabbouleh

5 from 128 votes

This Quinoa Tabbouleh recipe is a re-make of a classic Lebanese salad, but swaps out the bulgur for nutrient-dense quinoa. It's light, lemony, and refreshing!

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Overflowing with vibrant parsley and mint, juicy tomatoes, and zingy lemon, this Quinoa Tabbouleh takes classic tabbouleh and gives it a modern twist by swapping out the bulgur for quinoa. Plus, this quinoa tabbouleh recipe is fast to make, full of protein, and, unlike traditional tabbouleh, it’s entirely gluten-free! 

Close up shot of the quinoa tabbouleh on a plate with a spoon and fork
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I love making my traditional Lebanese tabbouleh salad (tabouli salad). Whenever I share it on social media, I get asked “can you make tabbouleh with quinoa?” The answer is, oh yes

Traditionally, bulgur is used in tabbouleh, a grain made from cracked wheat. It’s very popular in Mediterranean recipes, but it can be hard to find in some grocery stores. So, I love offering this vegan quinoa tabbouleh recipe alternative!

This easy quinoa tabbouleh salad recipe embraces the nuttiness of the quinoa, highlighting the flavors with the vibrant parsley and mint along with fresh tomatoes and scallions. The zesty lemon and olive oil dressing is the clincher!

Recipe At a Glance

Cuisine Inspiration: Lebanese
Primary Cooking Method: Stovetop
Dietary Info: Gluten-free and vegan
Key Flavor: Lemony and refreshing
Skill Level: Beginner


  • Naturally gluten-free: Quinoa tabbouleh is perfect for those who can’t eat the bulgur in traditional tabbouleh recipes because of its gluten content.
  • Packed with nutrition: Quinoa is a superfood with twice the protein of bulgur, plus fiber, various vitamins, and minerals. Parsley and mint are rich in antioxidants and vitamins, especially vitamin A.
  • Brimming with fresh herbal flavors: There are different styles of tabbouleh and many interpretations of this recipe. But in Lebanon, we prefer a greener tabbouleh where the parsley dominates the bulgur (or, in this case, the quinoa). The abundance of mint and parsley makes this vegan quinoa tabbouleh so refreshing!
  • Pairs well with other dishes: While quinoa tabbouleh makes an excellent light lunch all by itself, it also complements grilled meats, can be used in wraps, and makes a great side for just about any meal.

Ingredients to Make Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

Cooked quinoa in a small pot
  • Quinoa: This grain alternative is not only gluten-free but also rich in protein and fiber. It provides a nutty taste and pleasant texture.
  • Parsley: Freshly chopped parsley adds color, freshness, and a slight peppery flavor to the salad. I always use curly leaf parsley in my tabbouleh recipes. However, flat-leaf Italian parsley works, too.
  • Mint leaves: Mint gives the tabbouleh its signature refreshing touch. Always opt for fresh mint for the best results.
  • Green onions: Using both the green and white parts provides a gentle oniony bite without overpowering the salad.
  • Tomatoes: Seeded and chopped, tomatoes add juiciness, sweetness, and nice flavor to vegetarian quinoa tabbouleh.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: This forms the rich and smooth base of the dressing.
  • Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds zest and tanginess while balancing the richness of the olive oil.
  • Salt and pepper: Essential for seasoning, salt and pepper elevate the overall flavor profile of the dish. Adjust according to your preference.
  • Go low-carb. Use grated cauliflower and/or hemp hearts to make a low-carb version of tabbouleh.
  • Boost the protein. Add some crumbles of feta cheese for some added protein and a salty, creamy flavor boost. Roasted chickpeas are another great choice for a heartier tabbouleh with some crunch.
  • Mix up the veggies. Cucumbers add an extra crunch and refreshing bite. Halved cherry tomatoes are an easy swap for diced tomatoes. If you’re craving a more pronounced onion flavor, swap out the green onions for finely chopped red onion.
  • Brighten with pomegranate seeds. The juicy arils add a sweet burst of flavor and a ruby-red pop of color. If you need help getting the seeds out of your pomegranate, check out my tutorial on how to cut one!

How to Make Quinoa Tabbouleh

There are just a few simple steps to making this easy quinoa tabbouleh recipe. First, cook and cool your quinoa. While the quinoa is cooling, mix together the simple dressing. Next, prepare the vegetables by finely chopping the parsley, mint, and green onions. Seed your tomatoes and dice them, then add everything to a big bowl and toss it all together.

Make the Dressing

  1. Add the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a bowl.
  2. Whisk together until combined.
Collage of two images showing the quinoa tabbouleh assembly: parsley, mint and tomatoes

Cook the Quinoa and Assemble

  1. Dry-roast the quinoa by adding it to a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Toast, stirring frequently, until it begins to pop, turns somewhat golden in color, and smells nutty.
  2. Add the water and bring it to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until the quinoa is tender.
  3. Uncover, fluff the quinoa with a fork, and let it cool to room temperature.
  4. Add the chopped herbs and veggies to a large bowl with the cooled quinoa.
  5. Pour the dressing over the top.
  6. Stir gently until combined. Taste and add more salt and pepper if you like.
Collage of two images showing the quinoa tabbouleh assembly: parsley, mint and tomatoes, then quinoa and the dressing

Tips for Making the Best Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

  1. Chop the parsley finely. It’s important to chop the parsley by hand to get the best texture. I would recommend that you avoid using a food processor because it can wilt the parsley and ruin the texture.
  2. Fluff your quinoa. After your quinoa has finished cooking and resting, make sure to fluff it with a fork so that it does not clump in the salad.
  3. Chill the ingredients. With the fresh herbs and vegetables in this salad, it’s ideal if you can chill it in the fridge for half an hour before tossing and serving. This helps give it that refreshing flavor.
  4. Mix the salad immediately before serving. Like all salads, it’s best to toss the dressing right before serving. This is especially true for quinoa tabbouleh because of the amount of finely chopped parsley in it, which can become soggy if it soaks in the dressing for too long.
spoon stirring tabbouleh in a bowl

What to Serve With This Easy Quinoa Tabbouleh Recipe

How to Store & Refresh Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

To maintain its freshness and flavor, transfer quinoa tabbouleh to an airtight container and place in the refrigerator. If you’ve made this salad in advance, consider storing the dressing separately. This will help prevent the quinoa and herbs from becoming too soggy.

Before serving, stir the salad well to redistribute the flavors. The flavors might meld differently over time in the fridge. Taste the salad and adjust seasonings if needed.

How Long Will Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad Last in the Fridge?

When stored properly in the refrigerator, tabbouleh with quinoa should stay fresh and delicious for 3-4 days.

Can I Freeze Tabbouleh with Quinoa?

Due to the fresh ingredients, I do not recommend freezing quinoa tabbouleh. The process of freezing and thawing would alter the flavors and textures of the salad.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my quinoa too mushy or too crunchy?

If your quinoa is too mushy, it might have been cooked with too much water or for too long. Next time, ensure you measure the water accurately and keep an eye on the cooking time. On the other hand, if it’s too crunchy, it might not have been cooked long enough or with enough water.

The salad tastes bland. How can I fix it?

Tabbouleh relies on fresh ingredients for flavor. If it tastes bland, try adding a little more lemon juice, olive oil, salt, or fresh herbs. Adjust according to your taste preference.

I don’t have fresh mint. Can I skip it?

While fresh mint adds a unique flavor to the tabbouleh, you can skip it if unavailable. The parsley will still provide a fresh taste, but if you have dried mint, consider using a small amount to compensate.

Is quinoa a grain or a seed?

When it comes to cooking, quinoa is treated like a grain, and you’ll find it in the grain section of most grocery stores. But technically, quinoa is a seed. Part of the amaranth family, quinoa is related to spinach, beets, and chard.

Plate of the of final quinoa tabbouleh recipe garnished with green onions

This quinoa tabbouleh takes only 30 minutes to make and provides a healthy boost of protein and nutrients. It’s a great way to enjoy the popular Middle Eastern salad when bulgur isn’t available or doesn’t meet your dietary requirements. Not only is it gluten-free, but quinoa tabbouleh is also vegetarian and vegan. This light and lemony salad is one you’ll enjoy any time of the year!

My Other Tabbouleh Recipes:

For More Mediterranean Salads, Check Out:

If you try this feel good Quinoa Tabbouleh recipe or any other recipe on Feel Good Foodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. We would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots, share it on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!

This quinoa tabbouleh salad recipe was originally published January 8, 2019 and has been recently updated with new photography and step-by-step image collages to help make the recipe. The recipe remains the same with clearer instructions.

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Quinoa Tabbouleh

This Quinoa Tabbouleh recipe is a re-make of a classic Lebanese salad, but swaps out the bulgur for nutrient-dense quinoa. It's light, lemony, and refreshing!
5 from 128 votes
Servings 4 servings
Course Salads
Calories 356
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
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  • ½ cup quinoa
  • ¾ cup water
  • 3 bunches parsley finely chopped (3 cups)
  • ¼ cup mint leaves finely chopped
  • 4 green onions very finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes finely chopped
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  • Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa to a dry pan and toast it, stirring frequently until you start to hear the quinoa pop and the color becomes golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Add water, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook covered until the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes. Fluff and allow to cool at room temperature.
  • While the quinoa cools, make the dressing by stirring together olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  • In a large bowl, place the chopped parsley, chopped mint leaves, green onions and tomatoes. Add the quinoa and pour the dressing into the bowl. Stir gently to combine. Serve at room temperature or cold.


Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 2-3 days in the fridge, but the parsley may start to retain water after the first day.
Make Ahead Tips: I would highly recommend washing and drying the parsley a day or two days in advance of chopping it. This gives the parsley time to dry properly so that when you chop it, it doesn’t turn into a wet mess. To make this recipe ahead of time, I recommend storing the salad ingredients and the dressing separately, then tossing it all together right before serving. 
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However you can substitute the green onions for white or red onions. You can also leave out the mint leaves or substitute with ½ tablespoon dried mint.


Calories: 356kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 20g, Sodium: 325mg, Potassium: 586mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 4359IU, Vitamin C: 80mg, Calcium: 95mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Course: Salads
5 from 128 votes (121 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. lynn says:

    Can I substitute kale for parsley?
    How about adding some golden raisins?

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Definitely! It will taste less like tabbouleh and more like an earthy kale quinoa salad but I think it sounds delicious. Enjoy!!

  2. MOHAN says:

    Good recipe thank you 💯

    1. Yumna says:

      Happy you enjoyed it!

  3. JSunshine says:

    Great recipe! I accidentally purchased Italian parsley rather than regular parsley, and I think that’s why the dressing became soup-y. Had I used the curly stuff, I think the dressing amounts would’ve gone a lot further. Next time!

    1. Yumna says:

      Yes, it does usually provide much more volume!

  4. Vuthy says:

    I was comparing this with your bulgur version. Why does that one use 3 bunches of parsley and this one only 2?

    1. Yumna says:

      Good question! I actually recently retested and redeveloped this to fine tune it with different measurements (more parsley and more dressing) and I’m republishing it in April. Would you like me to email you the updated recipe?

  5. Kelly Montgomery says:

    This was a labor of love. I chopped all the ingredients by hand, theraputic cooking LOL! It was delish! I looked for authentic recipes so I could make my own Chicken Schwarma bowls(feel good foodie recipe as well) It was SO GOOD!

    1. Yumna says:

      Yay, so glad you loved this! I know what you mean about the labor of love, but doing it by hand makes all the difference.

  6. Mari says:

    This dish is so amazingly delicious! My husband was afraid the parsley would be overpowering but it wasn’t at all. It was a perfect balance of the ingredients. I followed the instructions completely. Thank you!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thank you so much! That’s perfect. This makes me so happy to hear!

  7. Kay says:

    This salad is delicious especially with summer picnics etc. Anyway, hopefully, we will get to have some. I am gluten intolerant but was hungry for Tabbouleh so tried this recipe. Sent rest of it home with college-age granddaughter. She loved it as did her Mother. I will send the recipe to each one of them. Keep up the good work.

    1. Yumna J. says:

      I’m glad you all liked it! Thank you so much for spreading the word about it!

  8. Dayna says:

    Could I use some couscous in place of some of the quinoa

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Yes absolutely!

  9. Margaret says:

    Would you use curly leaf parsley or Italian?

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      I always use curly leaf parsley in my tabbouleh recipes. However, flat leaf Italian parsley works perfectly still!

  10. Rose says:

    This sounds Amazing!! I think my Mom is going to make this for me ?. Your recipes always look & sound Great ???

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thanks so much Rose! You’re always so sweet!