Our Gluten Free Tabouli or Tabbouleh recipe is a super easy fresh tasting side dish. It is perfect for gatherings and potlucks. Our Parsley and Quinoa Tabouli is vegan, dairy free, and top 9 allergen friendly.
- Why We Like This Recipe
- The Ingredient Low Down
- Instructions/ Directions and Tips
- Low Food Waste Tips
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- Variations /Adaptations
- Storing Quinoa Tabouli Instructions
- How to Send Gluten Free Tabouli as Leftovers for Lunch
- Top Tip
- What To Serve With
- Other Recipes You May Enjoy
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Why We Like This Recipe
Tabouli, Tabbouleh, no matter how you spell this iconic middle eastern dish it is one of our favourites. It is one of those salads we have when we get tired of the usual lettuce salads and around this time of year. It is such a fresh taste with all the parsley and lemon juice that it is one of those side dishes that is perfect for not making you feel overfull.
We know that there will be people who do not like us adapting a very traditional salad, but we have to. Usually tabouli is made with bulgar wheat and being top 8 and gluten free we absolutely cannot have the bulgar wheat so we instead use quinoa. Other than very specific changes for health reasons our recipe is a pretty traditional one. Lots of parsley, so much so the salad is a super green one. You may hear a lot of people from the middle east say that if the salad isn’t predominantly green it isn’t tabbouleh.
The undertones and some of the ingredients may change based on regional influence as well. We are used to it without cucumbers as we favour a lebanese style where cucumbers are rarely used. Other areas though use persian cucumbers to add a cooling taste to the dish. Some areas use 7 spice and others use allspice, like Israel. In the end it comes down to figuring out what kind you are used to and going with that.
Just like some of our European recipes, variations are really common due to what is available and tastes of that region. If you see another recipe with some of those differences, they are not wrong, they are just how they grew up with the recipe.
- White Quinoa
- Lemon Juice
- Olive Oil
- Green Onion
- Cucumber, diced (optional)
- Lemon Zest
- Allspice or 7 Spice Mix
See recipe card for quantities.
The Ingredient Low Down
We prefer using white quinoa because it looks more like the traditional bulgar wheat when the dish is all combined. You can use other kinds such as mixed, black or red. Be sure to rinse the quinoa really well before boiling it and pick through it for small stones, if needed.
Quinoa is an ingredient that may be processed in the same plant other allergens. It is really important to check with the manufacturer as ‘may contain’ statements are not regulated in most countries.
Lemon Juice, Zest, and Olive Oil
Freshly squeezed lemon juice is best in this recipe. The bottled kind could be used but there is usually no benefit for our family to move to a product that has many ingredients and is processed. It is one more ingredient we have to check rather than just using the fresh fruit.
The lemons are needed for the zest anyway so using fresh lemons is often easier, though the bottled juice is easier. Before juicing the lemons remove any wax on the citrus skin.
Parsley and Mint
These are best really fresh and not limp. We buy our parsley from a middle eastern produce market where the bunches are nice and big as well as supple. Flat or curly can be used in this recipe. Personally, we prefer curly as it is what the middle eastern store stocks. It makes for a really high volume salad.
Mint is also best fresh. Growing it in a kitchen garden will help to save costs.
The Green onions are also called scallions, or spring onions depending on where you live. If you don’t have access to green ones, you can use a yellow pr white onion very finely diced.
We prefer a field or hot house tomato but roma tomatoes can be used. Make sure to core and remove all the seeds. The seeds will water down the salad and add too much moisture to the gluten free tabouli.
Cucumber, diced (optional)
Cucumber is completely optional as not all areas of the middle east use cucumber in their versions for tabouli. It is an optional ingredient. If possible use Persian cucumbers, as they have tiny seeds. If not, use an English one that has been seeded and peeled.
Salt, and Allspice or 7 Spice Mix
Check all spices for cross contact in the processing and packaging of them. Dried spices are best in this recipe. The spice should augment the flavours but not over power nor should the tabouli taste of 7 spice or allspice.
You can use either spice as they are regional ingredients. The 7 spice is usually allspice, black and white pepper, cinnamon, ground cloves and coriander. If you don’t have a premixed 7 spice this recipe from The Feel Good Foodie has a great 7 spice (or Baharat) blend or you can just use allspice as it has similar notes and flavours.
Instructions/ Directions and Tips
1- Put the riced white quinoa and the water in a medium pot and heat it until it boils. Let it boil for 15 minutes.
2- Drain the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse it until cooled under cold water. Once cooled, let the quinoa drain completely in the sieve.
3- Once drained in a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa, lemon juice and olive oil. Stir with a spoon. Set aside and start prepping, chopping, and measuring the other ingredients.
4- Add parsley, mint, green onion, tomatoes, cucumber (if using), lemon zest, salt, and allspice or ground 7 spice blend to the bowl with the quinoa, lemon juice, and olive oil.
5- Stir well with a spoon to combine.
6- Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and let the salad chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours up to overnight.
Hint: The salad can be made the night before if trying to save time or prep ahead.
Low Food Waste Tips
1- Save the ends of the green onions and stick a toothpick through them perpendicular to the stalk. Cover the bottom with a bit of water using the toothpick to keep the cut end out of the water. In 3-4 days when roots start to form, the green onion ends in an indoor starter pot. Water when the soil dries out.
2- Use the stems of the parsley in the gluten free tabbouleh. They provide a ton of flavour and are not tough or woody when finely chopped.
3- Save the peels from the cucumbers and add to water to make a refreshing cucumber water.
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- Onions - The green onions can be switched for yellow onions, white onions, or shallots.
- Garlic - a finely grated or minced garlic clove could be added for a bit of flavour.
- Cauliflower - Instead of using quinoa for a gluten free tabouli grated or riced cauliflower can be used instead. If it is used it doesn’t need to be cooked first it can be simply soaked in the lemon juice and olive oil for 15-20 minutes before mixing with the rest of the ingredients. This is also a low carb option for keto diets.
Knife and Cutting Board for the cutting of ingredients, rather than a food processor for the parsley. A Large Bowl and a spoon are perfect to combine all the ingredients.
A Medium Pot and a Fine Mesh Sieve to cook the quinoa. Lemon Juice Extractor and Zester are great to have to get the most from the lemons. Zest them and then juice them to only need 1-2 lemons.
Storing Quinoa Tabouli Instructions
Gluten free tabbouleh can be stored in the fridge in a well sealing container or a bowl covered with plastic wrap for up to 48 hours. It will start to wilt after 2 days.
Do not freeze parsley and quinoa tabouli. It will not stand up to being stored in a freezer. The parsley will lose its freshness and the texture of the salad will not be the same.
How to Send Gluten Free Tabouli as Leftovers for Lunch
This salad needs to be sent in a well sealing container for school. We send it separately from any items that may go soggy if placed with the parsley based salad. Don’t forget to send a fork or spork.
Important! If your child has texture or is experiencing swallowing issues from conditions like EoE save the tabbouleh for at home where there is better supervision and more time to eat. Before trying high texture foods like this one consult your medical team.
We prefer to chop the ingredients with a suitable knife. Parsley can bruise and have the edges go black in a food processor. If making the day before it is best to avoid a food processor as it may increase the chances it will turn black around the cut edges.
Usually it is not gluten free as it is made with bulgar wheat which is a gluten containing grain. It is also not safe for those with wheat allergies. In our recipe we remove wheat as an ingredient and use quinoa which is a gluten free grain with high protein.
What To Serve With
Parsley and quinoa Tabbouleh is a perfect side dish for our falafel recipe. It is a great vegan side dish to bring to potlucks, for barbecues, picnics, or parties. Since this recipe is gluten free, vegan and allergen friendly it is great to make for large groups as it is appropriate for many different diets.
Other Recipes You May Enjoy
Have You Made Our Gluten Free Tabbouleh? Please Leave a Comment Below.
Rate our Recipe.
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- Knife and Cutting Board
- Large Bowl
- Medium pot
- Fine Mesh Sieve
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Lemon Juice Extractor and Zester
- ¼ Cup White Quinoa well rinsed (see notes)
- ⅔ Cup Water
- ⅓ Cup Lemon Juice freshly squeezed
- ¼ Cup Olive Oil
- 4 Cups Parsley fresh (see notes)
- ½ Cup Mint fresh and chopped finely
- ½ Cup Green Onion (see notes)
- ¾ - 1 Cup Tomatoes cored, seeded and diced
- ⅓ Cup Cucumber diced (optional, see notes)
- ½ teaspoon Lemon Zest
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Allspice or 7 Spice Mix ground (see notes)
- Put the riced white quinoa and the water in a medium pot and heat it until it boils. Let it boil for 15 minutes.
- Drain the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse it until cooled under cold water. Once cooled, let the quinoa drain completely in the sieve.
- Once drained in a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa, lemon juice and olive oil. Stir with a spoon. Set aside and start prepping, chopping, and measuring the other ingredients.
- Add parsley, mint, green onion, tomatoes, cucumber (if using), lemon zest, salt, and allspice or ground 7 spice blend to the bowl with the quinoa, lemon juice, and olive oil.
- Stir well with a spoon to combine.
- Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and let the salad chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours up to overnight.
- Contact the manufacturer of products, regarding cross contact and ingredients, to ensure they are safe for you
- Always check ingredients for allergens
- Do not use the same utensils on allergen free food, that previously touched allergens
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove