Gluten free, plant-based eating is the latest craze. Everyone is jumping on board with healthier, more nutrient-dense choices. And, this is an ideal salad that packs nutrients and the Eight Foods You Should Eat Daily for improving health, weight loss and even running performance.
Tabbouleh is a traditional Middle Eastern Salad, typically prepared with bulgur wheat, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, and the tart of lemon juice. All are great ingredients, yet gluten-free is a required eating choice for many, and justly so, since it can be one of the offenders in creating good gut health.
Quinoa to the rescue! Quinoa is actually a South American seed, rather than a grain, making it gluten free. Quinoa is considered a Superfood by many due to its high nutritional content but low calorie count. I’ve detailed quinoa’s history, use, and preparation in one of my many quinoa recipes. Truly, there’s no limit to the uses for quinoa: to craft a salad, to add to soups or stews, to toast for added crunch, or to eat as a side dish, as a seasoned pilaf.
And, this recipe is no exception to the adaptability of this beautiful, golden seed. My recipe is simply a template, so please adapt it to suit your tastes. You really cannot “mess up” this recipe, and measuring is truly not required. Just cook your quinoa, chop some veggies, dump it all in a bowl, season and add oil, juice, and herbs, and let it sit. Truly the longer it sits, the better it tastes. Tuck the salad into a bell pepper, serve it with flat bread or on a long romaine lettuce leaf, or serve grilled fish or roasted chicken alongside. Either way, make this beautiful salad ahead of time to meld its flavors, and then enjoy a lazy meal with your family!
QUINOA TABBOULEH SALAD
Serves 4 main courses or 6-8 side dishes
Total Time: 20 minutes
- 3/4 cup golden quinoa
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1-1/2 tsp garlic, chopped (approx. 2 cloves)
- 3/4 lbs grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 English cucumber, quartered, seeded, (skin on) and chopped into bite size pieces
- 2 oz (approx 2) green onions, chopped
- 1/4- 1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped…reserve a few long sprigs to garnish
- 1/4 cup mint, chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 4 oz vegan feta cheese (or use organic, pastured feta), crumbled…reserve a small amount to garnish
- 1/4 cup pine nuts or pepitas, roasted, and salted
- Salt and pepper to taste (around 1/4 tsp each)
- Place quinoa in a colander and rinse several times under cool water. Allow to drain.
- Bring 1-1/2 cups water to boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add 1/4 tsp salt and rinsed quinoa. Reduce heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer until quinoa is soft and water is fully absorbed, approximately 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, chop garlic, cucumbers, onions, parsley, and mint.
- Once quinoa is soft and water absorbed, turn off heat and allow it to stand for approximately 5 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl or salad bowl. whisk olive oil and lemon juice. Then add (order doesn’t matter) garlic, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, cucumber, green onions, parsley, mint, feta, and pine nuts.
- Toss lightly to incorporate ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper (around 1/4 tsp each).
- Serve as a main or side dish.
**This salad is best prepared a few hours or one day in advance. It will keep well in the fridge in a covered container for 3-4 days.
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