Gluten Free Quinoa Tabbouleh

by Pamela

Tabbouleh with Quinoa Quinoa Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh is a dish whose ingredients focus on Mediterranean flavors like parsley, mint, tomatoes, onions, lemons and olive oil.  If you’ve ever eaten tabbouleh, you’ve probably had it with the grain bulgur wheat.  (That’s a traditionally used quick cooking grain.)

We really like tabbouleh at our house.  I make it all summer long for several reasons.  First and foremost, it uses up lots of herbs (which tend to overrun my backyard in the summer) and tomatoes that I can’t keep up with either.  It also works as a great base for salads or meats and it’s one of those dishes that tastes better after being in the refrigerator for a day or two.  You gotta love a dish that tastes better as it ages, not just because it can host a bacterial strain that may cure male pattern baldness someday.

The other thing that I like about tabbouleh is how it still surprises me with a bold burst of lemon in each and every fork full.  It doesn’t look like it would be lemony.  In fact, it looks like it would taste like a salad of some sort or maybe like a big bowl of grass.  There’s a lot of chopped parsley and mint in the stuff.  Sometimes you’ll get it at a restaurant and you see more green than anything else, but you still get that bright lemony taste.

This tabbouleh recipe not only has that “surprise” burst of lemon, but it’s also got an added surprise of being made with quinoa.  As I don’t normally have bulgur wheat in my cupboards, I do have quinoa.  Quinoa gives the tabbouleh a bit more of a protein burst than the bulgur wheat, plus it’s gluten free for those who have a problem with gluten.

Relationship Advice

Surprises are a good thing — most of the time.  I thought I’d give you a short list (for him and for her) of some good surprises and some not so good surprises.  It seems that sometimes the obvious isn’t quite so obvious to the opposite sex.

Good Surprises For Her

  • Come home early and make her dinner – this includes cleaning up the kitchen.
  • Book a weekend getaway for the two of you.
  • Buy some massage oils and give her a head to toe massage on Saturday morning when she wakes up.

Bad Surprises For Her

  • Buying her a vacuum cleaner for her birthday. (If the house isn’t clean enough, hire somebody to take care of that – see, that would be another one of those good gifts.  You like how I turned that around?)
  • Buying her clothes that are a size too small. (If you think she’s fat, tell her and then run like hell – don’t think you’re being all cute and secretive with this subliminal message, we’re not stupid)
  • Giving her a gift certificate to a restaurant, even a really nice one. (Nothing says I love you, but your cooking sucks more than a gift like this – oh, I suppose the un-asked for gift of cooking lessons would also apply here.)  If it has anything to do with a nice restaurant, you better be getting dressed up and taking us there.

Good Surprises For Him

  • Tell him to go ahead and invite the guys over for the big game and make him all the food that they’ll need, even if it’s really fattening.
  • When you’re in the middle of doing it, whisper in his ear that you want to do “that thing” that he’s been wanting to do with you.
  • Give him one night of not complaining about anything or asking him to do something.

Bad Surprises For Him

  • Showing up at his work wearing nothing but a trench coat (What’s he going to do with a naked you at his work besides get fired for banging you at work?)
  • Showing up at his work unannounced. (This will only lead him to believe that he’s either a) done something really wrong b) you’re going to tell him your pregnant, and not in a good way or c) you’re breaking up with him and you thought by doing this at his work there would be less of a scene – you would be wrong with that thought btw)
  • Showing up at his work to see some other guy. (Clearly you have already broken up with him and just neglected to tell him – prepare for ensuing scene that will most likely involve the police.  hopefully you didn’t show up only wearing a trench coat.)

Makes 4 Servings


  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 4 Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 1 Cup Flat Leafed Parsley (chopped fine)
  • 1/4 Cup Mint (chopped fine)
  • 1/2 Cup Tomatoes (diced)
  • 1/2 Cup Cucumber (small dice)
  • 3 Green Onions Including Greens (chopped)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper


Combine water and quinoa in a medium pot and bring to a boil.  Quinoa is done when water is absorbed and the grains are transparent and the the germ has separated (the germ will look like a small white broken circle).  Add more water if the quinoa absorbs all of the water before it’s done.  Remove from heat.

In a small bowl combine lemon juice, olive oil and garlic.  Whisk to combine.

Add parsley, mint, tomatoes and cucumbers to cooked quinoa.

Pour dressing over quinoa mixture and stir to thoroughly combine.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.


Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks June 19, 2010 at 1:30 pm

I made a sundried quinoa tabouleh for my girlfriend who’s gluten sensitive and she loved it. She actually preferred it to the bulgar version. I agree quinoa with it’s protein punch is a great base for summer salads.

Pamela June 20, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Andrea – truth be told, I actually prefer the quinoa version too.

Reeni June 18, 2010 at 2:13 pm

I’m probably the only one in the world who hasn’t eaten taboulleh! It looks like something I would love – eating it right from the fridge is a big plus – and using up my fresh herbs is another.

marla {family fresh cooking} June 18, 2010 at 12:31 pm

I love tabbouleh…….great use of quinoa. Like the fact that it is a complete protein & not just carb. The idea of the flavors marrying and not getting icky in the fridge is a great thing isn’t it 🙂

Lentil Breakdown June 17, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Does “that thing” involve the tabouleh? That’s the kind of kinky I could get behind! I make quinoa all the time but never thought to do this with it. Love it. Can’t wait to put on my trench coat and start cooking!

Kristi Rimkus June 17, 2010 at 10:16 pm

I love the use of quinoa. I hadn’t thought to use it in Tabbouleh!

pegasuslegend June 17, 2010 at 2:43 pm

wow this is gorgeous! and healthy amazing “

Dorothy from Shockinglydelicious June 16, 2010 at 8:18 pm

This is the MOST gorgeous photo of tabbouleh I have EVER seen!
I have a ginormous bag o’ quinoa from Costco (don’t ask), and I am sooooo making this.

Thank you for the inspiration!

Pamela June 16, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Thanks Dorothy! You just made my day! I’m pretty familiar with what can happen at Costco. At least your ‘problem’ is edible. I have enough paper towels to wallpaper 3 rooms in my house. There’s only 2 of us here & I’m pretty sure these will last us well into old age. Damn warehouse stores and their seductive ‘deals.’

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