Tabbouleh is traditionally made with tomatoes, onion, bulgur wheat, and lots of fresh parsley and mint. In this version, I include additional veggies and use quinoa in place of the bulgur wheat to make it gluten-free. It’s all tossed in a simple lemon and olive oil dressing and tastes as refreshing as it looks. This is a dish I make regularly as it’s easy, healthy, and satisfying. It’s nice to have a batch of it waiting in the fridge for me on those days I’m short on time. Sometimes I change the veggies depending on what I have on hand, but I always use lots of parsley, that’s a must! Try adding some diced radish, a little crumbled feta cheese, or a can of chickpeas for a tasty variation.
With the holiday season upon us, consider serving this at your next gathering for a healthy side dish that’s full of festive red and green color! While I enjoy the traditional holiday standbys just as much as everyone else, it’s nice to have a light and allergen free option amongst the endless amounts of rich, heavy fare that you’re sure to encounter at every get together this time of year. You’d be surprised at how many times I’ve brought something like this to a party and there’s usually someone who really appreciates it because they always feel somewhat left out because for one reason or another they can’t or choose not to eat typical party food.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with this. Have you ever been the odd man out at a party that just started a new diet you’re trying desperately to stick to but everything around you makes it nearly impossible? Was there a dish that stood out to you as your savior in that situation? Perhaps you’re the person who brings that beacon of hope that saves the day for someone struggling to resist temptation. Or maybe you think tradition shouldn’t be tampered with and you can’t stand when people bring healthy dishes to a party. Let me know in the comments below!
Tabbouleh Style Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped mint
- 1 cup diced cucumber
- 1 cup diced tomato
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- juice of 1 whole lemon
- zest of half a lemon
Rinse and drain quinoa before cooking to reduce bitterness. Combine quinoa with 2 cups fresh water in a saucepan on the stove and heat to boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and cook 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed and white germ is visible. Remove from heat, fluff lightly with a fork and allow to cool slightly, but not completely. Leaving the quinoa slightly warm will help the dressing absorb and adhere to everything. While quinoa is cooking, prepare the other ingredients. Combine parsley, mint, cucumber, tomato, pepper, scallion, and garlic in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together black pepper, salt, olive oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add quinoa to the veggie-herb mixture, then pour the oil-lemon mixture over top. Stir everything until well combined and evenly coated in dressing. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftovers in a tightly sealed container. Should keep for 3-5 days.