Quinoa tabouli salad

Quinoa Tabouli

Quinoa tabouli Sara Stanley 300x200 - Quinoa Tabouli


Naturally gluten-free, high in protein, magnesium, potassium, folate, fiber and more, quinoa is gaining in popularity as never before.


Including quinoa in your diet is easy. Although it’s really a seed, you cook it like a grain and it can be substituted in most recipes where other grains are used like quinoa pudding instead of rice pudding or like in tabouli instead of couscous.


Tabouli, a mid-eastern salad, try it with quinoa for a delightful new taste.

Quinoa salad

By now, you’ve likely heard of quinoa. It’s enjoyed the superfood spotlight for as long as kale has. But you might be wondering, what is quinoa?


Quinoa is one of the world’s most popular health foods. It’s an edible seed that is naturally gluten-free and is relatively rich in protein compared to grains such as rice, oats, barley, etc. It’s one of the few plant foods that contain sufficient amounts of all nine essential amino acids.


It’s also high in fiber, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and various beneficial antioxidants (phytonutrients).


One cup (250 ml) of cooked quinoa has:

  • 222 calories
  • 40 g carb
  • 5 g fiber
    • 35 g net carbs
  • 3.6 g fat
  • 8 g protein
  • 78 mcg folate
  • 2.8 mg iron
  • 120 mg magnesium
  • 280 mg phosphorus
  • 318 mg potassium

Also, wondering how to cook quinoa?

  1. Rinse the quinoa. Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer. Rinse thoroughly under cool, running water. Rub and swish the quinoa with your hand while rinsing. Drain.
  2. Transfer to a pot, add liquid and bring to a boil. Stir in the water or broth and the salt. Bring to a rolling boil.
  3. Lower heat and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and let stand for 5 more minutes, covered.


How do I make quinoa less bitter? Nearly, if not all, of the natural bitterness of quinoa’s outer coating, can be removed by a vigorous rinsing in a mesh strainer.


Tabouli also spelled tabbouleh, is a Levantine vegetarian salad made mostly of finely chopped parsley, with tomatoes, mint, onion, bulgur, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Some variations add garlic or lettuce or use semolina wheat instead of bulgur wheat. This version will have a lot more protein because of the quinoa.


Parsley is a flowering plant native to the Mediterranean. The two most common types are French curly-leaf and Italian flat-leaf. It’s widely used as a fresh culinary herb or dried spice. It’s bright green in color and has a mild, bitter flavor that pairs well with many recipes.


Historically it’s also been used for health benefits including the treatment of conditions like high blood pressure, allergies, and inflammatory diseases. Parsley is loaded with vitamins K1 (not vitamin K2, a different form of vitamin K), and C.


One cup (the amount in this recipe) of chopped parsley has:

  • 22 calories
  • 3 g carbohydrate
  • 2 g fiber
  • 80 mg vitamin C
  • 985 mcg of vitamin K1
  • 91 mcg folate
  • 330 mg potassium
  • rich in beta carotene


Try this new version of tabouli (or tabbouleh), you won’t be disappointed. It’s got the flavour you know and love but with a significant nutrition boost from the quinoa.

Quinoa Tabouli

Course Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword antioxidants, fiber, grains, protein, quinoa, tabouli
Servings 4


  • 2 cups quinoa cooked
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 2 Tbsp fresh mint or 1 Tbsp dried mint
  • 1 garlic clove pressed
  • 1/4 cup olives slices
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Lettuce leaves whole


  1. Place all ingredients except lettuce and olives in a mixing bowl and toss together lightly.
  2. Chill for 1 hour or more to allow flavors to blend.
  3. Wash and dry lettuce leaves and use them to line a salad bowl.
  4. Add tabouli and garnish with olives.

Doug Cook RDN is a Toronto based integrative and functional nutritionist and dietitian with a focus on digestive, gut, mental health.  Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.



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