Quinoa tabbouleh is a low-calorie Middle Eastern side dish packed with plant protein, fresh vegetables, and herbs in each serving. This healthy salad is drizzled with a simple homemade lemon garlic dressing.
Quinoa tabbouleh is a vegetarian side dish that features grain-like seeds that pack an extra protein punch. Tabbouleh is hands down my favorite Middle Eastern appetizer. The finely chopped parsley and mint, with tomatoes, onions and cracked wheat bulgar make this salad undeniably refreshing.
My recipe features fresh vegetables, herbs, and quinoa, then tossed in a pungent olive oil and lemon dressing. A simple and flavorful salad with nutritional properties. That’s a win-win right there. If you are looking to incorporate more vegetables into your day, or try a different spin on a Middle Eastern mezze, this recipe needs to be added to your weekly meal rotation!
Health Benefits of Quinoa
Besides being cute little spheres of wholesomeness, what is quinoa? Quinoa is a plant native to Bolivia, Chile, Peru, and parts of Mexico from the goosefoot species which has edible seeds. Quinoa provides significant health benefits:
- Protein: It contains all nine essential amino acids making it a complete protein. Based on the USDA nutrient database, 1 cup of cooked quinoa (185 g) contains approximately 8 grams of protein and 220 calories.
- Nutrients: Quinoa also contains nutrients such as fiber (5 grams per cup), iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, and B-vitamins.
- Gluten-Free: It is a seed, so it’s a safe alternative for those looking for a gluten-free substitution to wheat, barley, rye and other gluten containing grains.
- Cooking: Quinoa is cooked just like rice using a boiling and simmering method that only takes about 20 minutes to prepare. One cup of dry quinoa yields about 3 cups cooked quinoa.
- Taste: Quinoa has an earthy and nutty flavor. When cooked the seeds absorbs the liquid and become light and fluffy, similar to couscous but less dense since it does not contain wheat.
I love adding quinoa to any dish because it keeps me feeling satisfied without being overstuffed like other more refined grains. You can make Asian-inspired quinoa meatballs or even quinoa burgers! It’s a delicious and healthy substitution for bulgar traditionally found in tabbouleh recipes.
This quinoa tabbouleh salad is a flavor melting pot. It’s got super ripe mini cherry tomatoes, diced cucumbers for crunch, and aromatic chopped parsley, mint, and green onions. The combination makes for a wonderfully flavorful and fresh salad.
Don’t forget the dressing! All you need is some minced garlic, freshly squeezed lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. A little whisk, whisk, whisk and you’ve got a homemade dressing in minutes, yeah! Drizzle it all over the salad, and then it’s time to eat!
This quinoa tabbouleh can be a stellar vibrant salad to serve with other tasty dishes like grilled salmon or Greek chicken skewers with hummus. Eating a satisfying and nourishing meal can be easy with just a few wholesome and seasonal ingredients.
What is your favorite way to add quinoa to your meals? Do you simply serve it on the side like you would rice or potatoes, or make it the star of the dish? I’d love to hear your quinoa inspirations in the comments section below!
Wash and rinse the quinoa before cooking
Before quinoa is processed for consumption, there is a natural coating of bitter-tasting saponins, making it tough to eat. The seeds can be further treated to remove some of that bitter coating, but often some of the taste remains. It helps to rinse thoroughly and wash the quinoa under running water before cooking to remove the bitter flavor. Drain the water, and it’s ready to be cooked!