Quinoa Tabbouleh with Lemon Garlic Dressing

4.65 from 56 votes
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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 with 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!

Cherry tomatoes, herbs, onions, and quinoa in a bowl with sliced lemon in the middle

Health benefits of quinoa

Besides being cute little spheres of wholesomeness, what is quinoa? 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 for wheat, barley, rye, and other gluten-containing grains.

Cooking quinoa

Quinoa is cooked just like rice using the boiling and simmering method and only takes about 20 minutes to prepare. One cup of dry quinoa yields about 3 cups cooked quinoa.

Taste of quinoa

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.

White bowl of quinoa tabbouleh with sliced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes on top

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!

Close up photo showing quinoa tabbouleh in a white serving bowl

This quinoa tabbouleh can be a vibrant stellar 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.

More quinoa recipes

Wash and rinse 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!

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Quinoa tabbouleh is a low-calorie Middle Eastern side dish packed with plant protein, fresh vegetables, and herbs in each serving.
4.65 from 56 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Course Side
Cuisine Middle Eastern

Ingredients  

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well and drained
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large english hothouse cucumber, or 2 Persian cucumbers, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup curly parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup mint, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup red onion, minced
  • ¼ cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • zest of 1 lemon

Instructions 

  • Bring quinoa, salt, and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender about 15 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and let stand, covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Transfer to a large bowl and refrigerate to cool.
  • Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil until a smooth emulsion forms. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Add cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, mint, red onions, green onions and lemon zest to a bowl with the quinoa, stir to combine.
  • Gradually drizzle and toss with dressing. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Notes

  • Serving Size: ¾ cup

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 8 servings
Calories 178kcal (9%)Carbohydrates 13g (4%)Protein 3g (6%)Fat 13g (20%)Saturated Fat 2g (10%)Polyunsaturated Fat 2gMonounsaturated Fat 9gSodium 152mg (6%)Potassium 277mg (8%)Fiber 2g (8%)Sugar 1g (1%)Vitamin A 900IU (18%)Vitamin C 23.1mg (28%)Calcium 30mg (3%)Iron 2mg (11%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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3 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Tiffany Hammonds says

    This was delicious! I made it with cauliflower rice instead of quinoa and served it with your lemon chicken. My husband loved it too!

  2. Elisa says

    I was a little bit intimidated by cooking quinoa, but with these instructions and this great recipe… not anymore! Turned out tasty and fresh – many thanks for the inspiration!