Simple ingredients come together in this flavor packed Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with Chickpeas. A hearty, portable, and make ahead zesty quinoa salad for lunches, picnics, light dinners or for sharing at potlucks. This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and gluten free | Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. All opinions are my own.
A Perfect Meal Prep
Do you meal prep on Sunday? Having a hearty salad prepped and ready to go on Sunday helps me ease into the work-week ahead. I’m not scrambling at the last-minute to pack lunches or to find something healthy to eat come lunch time… it’s right there waiting in the fridge, ready to go.
Rob appreciates zesty quinoa salad recipes like quinoa tabbouleh salad tucked into his lunch box, whether it’s a full size portion or snack size, fresh quinoa salads are among our favorites.
Quinoa tabbouleh salad with chickpeas is also ideal for impromptu picnics, and lazy alfresco dinners on the porch – two summertime favorites. So, having this salad on hand means lunch is ready for the work week or a lazy summer dinner is at our fingertips!
What is Tabbouleh?
Tabbouleh is an Eastern Mediterranean salad traditionally made with bulger (cracked wheat), parsley, cucumber, onions, tomatoes and mint. It’s finished with a lemony-olive oil dressing and I always add a good dose of garlic. Traditionally tabbouleh does not include chickpeas.
I first tried tabbouleh at a Lebanese-American restaurant my dad used to take the family to when I was a kid. It was all I wanted to eat, along with the fresh hummus and pita. Fast forward 20 years later, I’d forgotten about it until after Rob and I moved to Whidbey Island.
On one of our many trips to Seattle, I rediscovered tabbouleh but it was made with quinoa instead of bulger. I loved the idea of quinoa tabbouleh salad since quinoa is a favorite grain(ish). Somewhere along the way, I started adding chickpeas to turn this lemony quinoa salad into a main.
How to Make Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
Simple ingredients and easy preparation make this tabbouleh salad ideal for meal prep and crave-worthy weekday lunches. In summary, here’s how to make this quinoa salad (see recipe card for details):
- First, cook and chill the quinoa.
- Meanwhile, chop the cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions, mint and parsley.
- Next, whip up the dressing by mixing lemon juice and zest, olive oil, garlic and salt.
- Last, assemble the salad by gently tossing all the ingredients, including the chickpeas and dressing in a large mixing bowl.
Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad can be made up to two days ahead of when needed. It makes a fabulous weekday lunch!
Quinoa: The Perfect Salad Base
I’ve been a fan of Bob’s Red Mill ingredients for as long as I can remember because choosing the very best ingredients is important to me. Bob’s Red Mill is a brand I trust to provide key ingredients in my recipes to fuel my days and to share with family and friends. I’m super excited to be partnering with them again, bringing you a new recipe using their fabulous quinoa!
This time of year with farmer’s markets in full swing, it’s a perfect time to get creative with salads. Bob’s Red Mill Organic Tri-Color Quinoa offers a blank canvas of whole grains to create something special using the freshest veggies and homemade dressings. Quinoa has an earthy flavor, with a fluffy-like yet chewy texture, it’s naturally gluten free and offers all 9 essential amino acids. Best of all, it only takes 15 minutes to prepare.
It’s an ingredient I keep in my pantry because of its versatility and healthy benefits. And because I can whip up a zesty Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad in no time!
RELATED: Do you Love Meal Prep Ready Salads? Find more like this salad on my 10 Salad Recipes to Try this Summer post!
A Few Quinoa Tabbouleh Recipe Notes
- To soak or not to soak: Some recommend soaking quinoa at least 8 hours, others say it’s not necessary. If you choose to soak, the cook time will be reduced slightly from 15 minutes to about 8. I do however always rinse quinoa under cool running water through a fine mesh strainer. This helps reduce the bitter taste of the saponin coating on its outer hull that can remain after processing.
- About the mint: Opinions vary on this but I sometimes find mint to be overpowering in Mediterranean tabbouleh salad recipes. I’ve included 2 tablespoons in this recipe, which yields a mild hint of mint. Adjust to taste and add a tablespoon at a time if you prefer more mint.
- The tomatoes: I love cherry tomatoes in this recipe, but have also used Roma when cherry tomatoes are not available. If opting for Roma, choose three firm tomatoes and dice them small.
- Meal Prep: Quinoa can be cooked and stored in the refrigerator up to two days in advance. Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad itself can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.
More Quinoa Recipes to Love
- Black Bean Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad with Smoky Pepitas
- Market Quinoa Salad with Fresh Mozzarella
- Quinoa Mango Black Bean Salad
- Roasted Stuffed Poblanos with Smoky Quinoa, Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans
Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with Chickpeas
- 1 C (190g) Bob's Red Mill Tri Color Quinoa
- 2 C (472g) Water
- 1 1/2 C (220g) Cooked Chickpeas, from one can, drained or home cooked from raw
- 2 C (350g) Cherry Tomatoes sliced in half, some quartered. Roma tomatoes may be subbed, about three, diced small.
- 2 C (240g) Slicing Cucumber diced in small cubes, skins on if organic, about one large or two small
- 3/4 C (40g) Curly Parsley chopped fine, about one big bunch
- 2/3 C (35g) Green Onions / Scallions sliced thin, white and green parts
- 2 Tbs Mint* see note, chopped fine
- Fresh Ground Pepper
For the Dressing:
- 1/3 C (65g) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Lemon, zested
- 1/3 C (70g) Fresh Lemon Juice about 1 1/2 lemons
- 1 1/2 tsp Garlic minced
- 3/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- Soak the quinoa over night covering it in at least 2" of water (if desired). Otherwise, simply rinse the quinoa through a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear, then cook as directed. In a medium sauce pot add the soaked (or unsoaked and rinsed under running water) quinoa and 2 C water. Stir in a pinch of salt and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn heat to medium-low, and simmer until tender and the 'tails' are showing. Soaked quinoa will take about 8 minutes and need to be drained while unsoaked quinoa takes about 15 minutes to cook (no draining needed). Drain any excess water and spoon into a large mixing bowl. Set in the refrigerator to cool, for at least 20 minutes.
- To the large mixing bowl with the quinoa, add the chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, onions and mint. Add plenty of fresh ground pepper to taste. Pour dressing (see below) over the ingredients and gently toss to incorporate. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve with extra lemon wedges.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour prior to serving. Store in a lidded container for up to three days.
For the Dressing:
- In a small lidded jar, add the oil, zest, juice, garlic and salt. Shake until an emulsion is formed. Store at room temperature until ready to use.