Being strictly gluten-free means that the bulgar wheat traditionally used in tabouli is a no for me. But in walks quinoa, the perfect substitution. This version of quinoa tabouli is influenced by my grandmother, who came from Syria. The addition of some ground cumin and fresh mint are the flavors that give it her Middle Eastern flair.
There are many versions of tabouli. The Greek version is much heavier on the parsley and usually includes feta cheese. My grandmother made it much lighter on the parsley and included dried mint and cumin without the feta. I base my quinoa tabouli on those flavors.
Mint – This quinoa tabouli recipe includes dried mint. I also like to add some fresh chopped mint when I serve the dish. Fresh mint turns brown very quickly when chopped so wait until the last minute to chop it.
Onion – Tabouli often is made with onion but I am onion-free too. Feel free to add some chopped green or red onion if you prefer.
The dressing is a very simple combination of lemon, olive oil cumin, dried mint and salt.
Cucumber and tomato – Both of these have a high water content in the seed pockets so it is best to scoop them out and discard. If you leave the seed portion in, the salad will become very watery and the flavors will not be as intense.
How to Cook Quinoa
Quinoa is so easy to cook. I find it to be much less tricky than cooking rice although the cooking method is identical. If you can boil water and set a timer you will find this pretty easy. Instructions for cooking quinoa are included in the recipe card below but I also have a blog post and video with a great tutorial on How to Cook Quinoa.
For more quinoa dishes, check out:
- 3 cups cooked quinoa see cooking method in instructions
- ¼ c olive oil
- ¼ c lemon juice
- 1 tsp dried mint
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ c diced cucumber seeds removed
- ½ c diced tomato seeds removed
- ¼ c chopped parsley
- salt to taste
- fresh mint leaves
- Cook the quinoa
- In a 2-3 quart pot, put 2 cups water, 1 cup quinoa and 1/2 tsp salt.
- Place on the stove over a high flame. As soon as the water boils (usually around 3 minutes) put a lid on the pot and set a timer for 12 minutes.
- When the the time is up, carefully lift the lid. Is there water bubbling up to the top? Cook another 2 minutes. If not, use a fork to gently push aside some of the quinoa in the middle of the pot. Is there still water on the bottom? If so, cook another minute or until that water is absorbed.
- Once all the water is gone the quinoa is done!
- While the quinoa is cooking get the remaining ingredients ready.
- Prepare the Cucumber and Tomato
- Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds from the middle.
- Cut the tomato in half length wise (cut from the stem to the bottom) and scrape out the seed pocket. A grapefruit spoon works great for this task.
- Assemble the Quinoa Tabouli
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, dried mint, cumin and salt together.
- Add the parsley and cooked quinoa and stir until the quinoa is coated with the dressing.
- Stir in the cucumber and tomato. The flavor gets better if you can wait a few hours or even overnight. Serve with fresh mint