It's easy to make an authentic Gluten Free Tabouli recipe simply by replacing the bulgur with quinoa. This recipe is incredibly fresh and flavorful! It's easy to make and can be served as a side dish or part of a Mediterranean bowl.
Tabouli is a fresh and delicious salad, originally from Lebanon. It traditionally contains fresh parsley and mint along with tomatoes, bulgur, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
In order to make this light and flavorful recipe gluten free I replaced the bulgur wheat with quinoa. As a side bonus, this also increases the amount of protein in the salad!
The flavors are incredibly bright and refreshing! And the simple plant based ingredients offer a number of nutrients making this a healthy and delicious go-to dish.
This recipe can be enjoyed as a side dish or mixed into a number of bowl recipes. You can also mix in extra protein with chickpeas, chicken, or shrimp to make it a healthy and filling meal on its own!
Prep this gluten free tabouli salad ahead of time for easy lunches or dinners throughout the week. Or bring it along to picnics and potlucks all summer long!
- Cooked quinoa - click the link to learn how to cook quinoa on the stovetop, in a pressure cooker, or in a rice cooker. Prepping the quinoa in advance will save you time when you're ready to make the tabouli.
- Tomatoes - freshly diced Roma tomatoes are ideal due to their lower moisture content. Other varieties such as cherry tomatoes or plum tomatoes will work as well, just make sure not to skip the draining step.
- Parsley - look for flat leaf parsley instead of curly parsley. Remove the leaves from the thick stems before finely chopping them. Since this is the star of the show, you definitely do not want to substitute with dried parsley.
- Mint - as with the parsley, you will want to remove the fresh mint leaves from the stems, then finely chop the leaves. Again, do not use a dried herb instead, the flavors will not be the same.
- Onion - red onion is preferred for the traditional flavor. You can substitute with other onions or shallots, but note that the taste will change slightly.
- Olive oil - using a high quality extra-virgin olive oil will contribute to the flavor of the dish, so it's best to choose an olive oil that you enjoy the taste of on it's own. You can also use another mild oil such as avocado oil or sunflower oil.
- Lemon Juice - freshly squeezing your own lemon juice will give you the absolute best results. In a pinch you can use bottled lemon juice.
- Salt - feel free to adjust to your taste preferences or dietary needs. Use less salt to reduce the sodium.
- Black pepper
Step by step instructions
Start by preparing the quinoa. You can use an Instant Pot, rice cooker or boil the quinoa on the stovetop in a saucepan. This post on how to cook quinoa 3 ways will teach you how to use each of these methods to make perfect quinoa every time!
After the quinoa is cooked, allow it to cool while preparing the rest of the salad.
- Prepare the tomatoes. After chopping the tomatoes place them in a colander over the sink. Gently press down on the tomatoes to drain any additional liquid. Excess moisture will create a watery salad.
- Prepare the herbs. Remove the parsley and mint leaves from any long, thick stems, then add them to a food processor.
- Chop the herbs. Pulse the herbs in the food processor until they're finely chopped. If you don't have a food processor, you can also finely chop the herbs on a cutting board with a large knife.
- Toss the salad. Combine the tomatoes, parsley, mint and red onion in a large bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil and lemon juice, and stir to coat the veggies. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over everything, add the cooked quinoa, and mix until everything is incorporated evenly.
Enjoy! You can either serve this dish immediately, or cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to chill. This tabouli can be served cold or at room temperature.
Frequently asked questions
- How long will it stay good in the refrigerator? This gluten free tabouli salad will keep for up to 4 days. Seal it in an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator.
- What's the difference between tabouli and tabbouleh? There is no difference, both are simply different spellings of the same dish. Other ways to spell the name of this recipe also include tabouleh, tabbouli, or taboulah.
- What can you substitute for bulgur that is gluten-free? Quinoa is a popular gluten free replacement for bulgur. Rice, amaranth, teff, cauliflower rice and buckwheat are other good gluten free options.
Add protein to the salad
Each serving of this quinoa tabouli salad recipe contains 6 grams of plant-based protein. It's easy to mix in extra ingredients to pack in more protein.
I love to top the salad with ¼ cup feta cheese crumbles, which adds a quick 2 grams of protein per serving. You can also add beans, chicken or shrimp for even more protein and to make a more filling salad.
- Plant-based options
- Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are a great way to boost the protein content while keeping this recipe vegan. Adding 1 cup of chickpeas will increase the protein to almost 10 grams per serving. Feel free to drain and rinse a can of chickpeas and add them in to the salad with the quinoa.
- You can also add a scoop of the chickpea-based dip, hummus, to add flavor and protein to the salad. A ½ cup of Spicy Sriracha Hummus will add 6 grams of protein to the salad.
- Meat-based options
- Grilled chicken is a great addition to this salad. Just one cup of cooked, diced chicken will bring each serving to over 15 grams of protein. Try adding this Greek Marinated Chicken for extra flavor and protein!
- Shrimp is another great option for adding meat-based protein to this salad. Mixing in 1 cup of shrimp will bring the protein up to 14 grams per serving. Try adding in this Mediterranean Shrimp for a scrumptious shrimp salad!
What to serve it with
The freshness of this Gluten Free Tabouli Salad goes well with so many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors! Make it the star of the show, include it in other bowl recipes, or serve it as a side dish.
- Serve with gluten free pita bread.
- Pair with gluten free falafel for a filling and delicious meal.
- Use it in healthy Greek Chicken Bowls. Swap out the quinoa and tomato cucumber salad in the bowl with this tabouli salad.
- Spoon it into lettuce wraps to enjoy as an appetizer.
- Make grilled veggies or meat seasoned with Shawarma Seasoning to go along with the salad.
More salad recipes
Be sure to also add these easy, vegan salad recipes to your weekly menu!
Gluten Free Tabouli Salad
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 4 firm roma tomatoes diced
- 7-8 cups fresh flat leaf parsley finely chopped with the thick stems removed
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves stems removed, finely chopped
- ¼ cup red onion finely chopped
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- If you don't already have cooked quinoa, start by cooking the quinoa on the stove, in an Instant Pot or in a rice cooker.
- Chop the tomatoes, then place them in a colander over the sink to drain any additional juice. Gently press down on the tomatoes to make sure and get all of the juice out, or it will water down the salad.
- Finely chop the parsley and mint with a sharp knife, or in a food processor.
- In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, parsley, mint and red onion.
- Drizzle in the olive oil and lemon juice, then toss to coat.
- Add the salt, pepper and cooked quinoa, gently toss all of the ingredients together.
- Serve immediately or cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The salad can be served cold or at room temperature.
- Leftover tabouli salad will stay good in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Do not substitute dried herbs for the fresh herbs in this salad. Parsley is the main ingredient in this recipe, so you will not get the same results from dried herbs. Always use flat-leaf parsley over curly parsley.