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quinoa tabbouleh in a white dish with a wood spoon
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5 from 1 vote

Gluten-Free Quinoa Tabbouleh

This twist on the classic Lebanese salad features gluten-free quinoa, fresh parsley, mint, and vegetables, and a fresh lemon dressing. Great for summer, this simple side salad comes together in just 30 minutes.
Prep Time30 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Servings: 8


  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup water, yes, even if your package says differently
  • 1 cup diced tomato, about 1 large vine tomato
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • ½ + ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 bunches curly parsley
  • 20 mint leaves, purchasing one bunch of mint is plenty
  • 4 green onions
  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized lemon


Making the Quinoa

  • Begin by cooking the quinoa. It is easiest to do this a few hours before you plan to make the tabbouleh, so that the quinoa can cool. Do this the night before or morning of to save you prep time later!
  • Measure out the dry quinoa and add it to a fine mesh strainer. Rinse under cold water for about 1 minute. This will clean the quinoa and remove some of the bitterness from its outer coating. 
  • Add the rinsed quinoa to a small saucepan with the water. The key here is to not listen to the package instructions. For perfect, non-mushy quinoa, you want a 1:2 dry quinoa to water ratio. Add the water to the saucepan and then turn the heat up to a boil. Do not cover the quinoa. Lid off while on the heat. 
  • Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer, uncovered, until the water is absorbed. This will take about 10-12 minutes. 
  • When there is no more water in the pan, turn the heat off, remove the pan from heat, and then place the lid on to cover and steam for about 5 minutes. 
  • After 5 minutes, fluff with a fork and you'll see how light and fluffy this quinoa is. No mushy quinoa here! Set aside to cool completely, and if you're making the quinoa the night before, cover in an airtight container (once cooled) and place it in the fridge.

Making the Tabbouleh

  • Begin by dicing the tomato and cucumber. Place them in a fine mesh strainer on top of a bowl. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon salt over them and toss with a spoon. Set aside for about 15 minutes. This will allow the tomato and cucumber to release excess moisture before you add it to your tabbouleh salad. 
  • In the meantime, finely chop the parsley, mint, and green onions (the white and green parts). Place them in a large bowl. 
  • Thoroughly wash and dry the lemon. Using a microplane zester, zest the lemon into the large bowl of parsley. Try not to get any of the white pith, as it can be a bit bitter. Once zested, slice the lemon in half and collect the juice of both halves in a small measuring cup or bowl (about ¼ cup total). Add the olive oil and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and whisk to incorporate.
  • You should then see that the tomato and cucumber have released some liquid. Take a paper towel and gently press down on them to release any more moisture through the strainer into the bowl. Then add the tomato and cucumber to the large bowl with the other ingredients.
  • Add the cooled quinoa to the bowl. Pour the dressing into the bowl, then toss to incorporate everything together using tongs or salad spoons. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
  • When ready to serve, transfer the quinoa tabbouleh to a serving dish. It is best served cold. Quinoa tabbouleh will keep in the fridge, covered, for up to 4 days. Enjoy!