Tabbouli Salad (with Quinoa, Bulgur, or Couscous)

Couscous Tabbouleh recipe

Quinoa tabbouli (alternately spelled tabbouleh) is a recipe that seems to be gaining over its more traditional counterpart, made with bulgur. Both ways are good, though I prefer it with quinoa, which is higher in protein, and gluten-free as well. That being said, whole-grain couscous works, too! A Middle Eastern classic and one of my favorite salads, this is delicious served with hummus and fresh pita bread, a variety of olives, and rice-stuffed grape leaves.

Serves: 6 to 8

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, bulgur, or whole grain couscous
  • 3 medium firm, ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 to 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • Several fresh mint leaves, to taste, thinly sliced, optional
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

If you use quinoa or bulgur, combine the grain with 2 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. If you’d like a more tender grain, add 1/2 cup additional water and continue to simmer until the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool to room temperature.

If  you use couscous, simply combine the uncooked grain with 2 cups boiling water in a heatproof container. Cover and let stand for about 10 minutes, or until the water is absorbed, then fluff with a fork.

Couscous tabbouleh

Whichever grain you have used, transfer it to a serving container and allow to cool to room temperature. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and let stand for an hour or so before serving if time allows.


– If not serving hummus with this, add  a 15- to 16-ounce can chickpeas (drained and rinsed) to make this a more substantial salad.

– Likewise, if not serving a variety of olives as suggested in the headnote, you can add about  1/3 cup sliced pitted black olives (such as Kalamata) to this salad.

– Add about 1/4 cup minced red onion if you don’t mind the flavor of raw onions.

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