There’s such a fresh simplicity about this gluten free tabouli recipe (tabbouleh). More than anything, it’s just a whole lot of parsley! It’s made by adding chopped tomatoes, lemon juice and bulgur wheat to the predominant ingredient – fresh parsley.
In the few months between college graduation and getting my first real job, I waited tables at a popular Lebanese restaurant in our area.
After my shifts, the owner would let me sit in a back booth and choose whatever I wanted to eat. Sometimes she would even sit and chat with me.
This tabouli salad with quinoa (tabbouleh) is the closest I could get to how I remember it.
What’s in Tabouli?
A short list of simple ingredients is all you’ll need to make this quinoa tabbouleh salad:
- Flat leaf parsley. The fresh parsley takes the lead role in this salad, and it’s important that you use the right kind. Flat leaf, also called Italian, parsley is what you want to use. Curly parsley is far less flavorful than flat leaf parsley and it also has more volume – meaning it takes less curly parsley to make the same amount of tabouli that flat leaf parsley makes, further watering down the flavor.
- Fresh tomatoes. We’re chopping the tomatoes finely for this quinoa salad, so any kind you want to use is fine. It’s easier to chop a larger tomato, so avoid small ones like cherry tomatoes.
- Lemons. Fresh lemon juice is key to this recipe.
- Scallions (green onions)
- Extra virgin olive oil
What is Quinoa?
Technically speaking, quinoa is a seed rather than a grain. Nutritionally speaking, quinoa is a whole grain that is also naturally gluten free. It has a consistency and mouthfeel of buckwheat or bulgur, making it super satisfying.
Quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse, rich in vitamins, minerals and plant-based protein. Unlike other grains, quinoa considered a complete protein because it has all nine essential amino acids that our bodies need. Pretty cool!
How to Make this Gluten Free Tabouli Recipe
I’ll be up front – chopping 2 cups of the fresh parsley for this tabouli salad is harder than you’d think. You need a lot of parsley to equal two cups! Be sure to grab two whole bunches of it. But if you have a food processor, it will make the chopping part a breeze.
(Of course the masochist in me has always chopped the parsley by hand. I find it…. meditative?)
Then, simply combine all of your ingredients and boom – tabouli salad.
How to serve Tabouli (Tabbouleh)
- Use it to accompany grilled meats, poultry and seafood
- Put a few spoonfuls on top of rich pastas or potato dishes
- Heap it onto gyros and other pita sandwiches
- And, of course, it’s most at home on a mezze platter with hummus, tzatziki and falafel.
Serve this tabouli salad slightly chilled or at room temperature.
Variations on this gluten free tabouli recipe
Here are some fun twists to try with this quinoa tabouli salad:
- Grain Substitutions: Try using brown rice in place of the quinoa to keep this healthy salad gluten free. If you don’t mind the gluten, go for the classic bulgur wheat that’s used in traditional tabbouleh recipes. Other whole grains like couscous or farro can also be used.
- Vegetable Additions: Try adding fresh vegetables like diced English cucumbers, bell peppers, red onion or radishes to enhance the crunchiness and add a burst of color.
- Protein Boost: To make tabouli salad a satisfying main meal, try adding an extra protein. Chickpeas are a great addition, along with grilled chicken, shrimp or feta cheese.
- Herb Variations: While herbs like parsley and fresh mint are the traditionally used in tabouli salad, you can get creative by incorporating other fresh herbs like cilantro, dill or basil.
Is Tabouli Salad healthy?
This Tabouli Salad with Quinoa is super healthy! Naturally vegan and gluten free, it’s high in fiber and extremely low in fat and cholesterol.
Not to mention all the good vitamins and minerals you get from parsley and tomatoes. So get in there and grab that second helping!
Can this gluten free tabouli recipe be made ahead of time?
You can and should make this gluten-free tabouli ahead of time to give the flavors a chance to marry. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
I love to meal prep this healthy salad on Sundays so that we can pair it with various proteins all week long.
How to store this gluten free tabouli salad
Store this tabouli salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for 5-7 days.
When you make this gluten free tabouli recipe, I’d love to hear about it! Drop a rating or leave a comment below. Enjoy!
For more gluten free recipes, try these:
For more vegan recipes, try these:
Tabouli Salad with Quinoa (Tabbouleh)
- 2 cups chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
- juice of 2 lemons
- 1/3 cup chopped scallions
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
- 5 small tomatoes Roma or vine, seeded and diced
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Place all ingredients in a large bowl and gently fold to combine. Season with salt and peppe