Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad Gluten-free

Many summers back we had an impromptu BBQ dinner with friends at our Taiwanese home. Our guests brought Pot Luck to our home, one of the dishes a fantastic Tabbouleh salad made with bulgur. My first attempts to remake Tabbouleh was disappointing since then I learned of my mistakes such as not squeezing hard enough to remove all liquid.

While parsley is the main herb ingredient, you can easily make adaptations with other herb options. Based on this salad but creating a different taste is by adding 1 tablespoon of sun-dried tomato tapenade instead of tomato puree for a pronounced flavour.

A healthy dish with memories, running out of bulgur gave room for another twist by preparing this salad with Quinoa seed. With every bite, the seeds will pop a little giving it an extra dimension.


With no fresh lemons available nor bottles of lemon juice, I substituted with Chinese rice vinegar and adjust seasonings for the olive oil based dressing. The same reason I tried Apple vinegar which would be my last resort since it has a higher acidity you need less. So start with just one tablespoon and increase with half if needed.

Last summer our youngest came back from her holiday in Morocco with student peers. She brought Aragan oil purchased from a local vendor in a small village. There’s a reason why it is called Moroccan liquid gold as one of the rarest oils in the world.

The nutty taste and fragrance is absolute heaven! I am not an exaggerating type but Aragan oil really does give an extra dimension to salad dishes. If not available you can replace with walnut oil, olive oil will work but has a different end taste.

Liquid gold, it is an unequalled and understandably rare commodity outside of Morocco. A food gem in my kitchen cabinet for as long as the treasured food gift last.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad, Power food

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

Quinoa is a basically a powerhouse full of nutritional value and a good choice on the menu. A super grain high in protein and fibre, an ancient seed re-ignited as a super food. If Aragan oil is gold liquid than the mother grain of the Inca’s are gold nuggets. Apparently, NASA sent astronauts into space with Quinoa on the menu as the power food.

Today’s Tabbouleh version has no parsley, instead, it is prepared with fresh mint and coriander. You can serve the dish for lunch with bread, dinner or barbeque as a side dish.

For other salad inspiration, try our Red Beet Salad with Orange, Feta Cheese, Mint recipe or Yum Nua Thai Beef Salad recipe.

Quinoa Tabouleh Salad

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad, gluten free

By RongHua Ching Published: April 9, 2014

  • Yield: 3 cups (4 Servings)
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Ready In: 35 mins

A vegetarian salad with Quinoa seeds, healthy option which easily mixes with other herbs and ingredients.


  • 1 cup Quinoa substitute bulgur
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice substitute with Chinese rice-vinegar or apple vinegar (1 tbs first)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic depending taste
  • ½ cup olive oil or argan oil
  • 1 large cucumber peeled (or leave skin on), de-seeded and cubed
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes de-seeded, cut in cubes or 1 small punnet cherry tomatoes cut in halves
  • ⅔ cup parsley chopped finely
  • ½ cup mint chopped finely
  • handful coriander optional, chopped finely
  • 2 stalks scallion green onion or 1 small red onion/2 shallots diced finely
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree/paste or substitute with sun-dried tapenade
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • optional mushrooms ½ punnet cut in quarters


  1. Boil 1¼ cup water add ½ tsp salt, add Quinoa and cook till rolling boil, reduce to medium-low cover and simmer approx. 8-10 min. Remove from stove with lid on, let it steam for 5 min more before fluffing with a fork.
  2. Squeeze lemon juice, garlic and sun-dried tapenade mix together. Start whisking and gradually add in olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer Quinoa into a big bowl, for authentic tabouleh add in all herbs, cucumber, tomatoes, scallion and mix together. Drizzle 2/3 of dressing and toss again, pour the remainder add salt & pepper to taste and serve. In the featured Quinoa salad, the dish has tomatoes, cucumber, mushrooms and scallions without the parsley, mint but a bit of finely sliced coriander. For the the dressing I used aragan oil, the nutty aroma pairs fantastic with the mushrooms. Toss everything together add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
  4. If any leftover Quinoa salad, transfer to an airtight container for lunch next day. The flavors will have developed more and even make it taste better.

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