A Fresh Herb Salad to Make All Summer Long

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If you are looking for a pure bite of summer, this fresh tabbouleh salad is the best recipe to enjoy anytime you need some sunshine in your life. It’s loaded with freshly chopped parsley and mint, hearty grains, crisp green onion, and vine ripe tomatoes, drenched in a lemon and olive oil dressing. This is a summer BBQ crowd-pleaser salad that everyone will ask you to bring again and again!

Of all my recipes, quinoa tabbouleh salad is one of the most requested by family and friends. Tabbouleh salad is a traditional Lebanese dish made with parsley and bulgur wheat. I’ve made this dish with a few different grains (bulger, couscous, and quinoa) but usually tend to make mine with white or red quinoa, as it's always something I keep on hand in my pantry. My husband first made tabbouleh salad for me when we started dating, and I was absolutely blown away by the flavors and the perfect simplicity of this dish. Ever since, it’s been a staple salad on our table year-round, but is always best in the summer when the mint is fresh and the tomatoes have just been picked from the garden.

My favorite thing about this salad is that parsley is the shining star ingredient. No longer relegated to being a garnish, parsley steals the show with it’s bright and earthy flavor. Add in the mint, lemon, olive oil, garlic, and onion … and you’ll have the best-tasting side dish at the party. This is no boring iceberg salad; there is brilliant complexity in every bite (sorry, iceberg).

This salad is relatively easy to make: chopping the parsley takes the longest amount of time. You can use a food processor or chop by hand. I prefer chopping by hand as I get the right texture every time, whereas the food processor can pulverize your herbs if you’re not careful. Save your parsley stems too as they are amazing in green smoothies. And I like to cook my quinoa in the rice cooker so I can multitask while it’s steaming, but feel free to cook it on the stovetop or pressure cooker if  you have one. Or buy a ready-cooked quinoa pouch — anything that saves you time!

This quinoa tabbouleh recipe will be on our menu a lot this summer as we head out to parties, gatherings, and potlucks again, and I encourage anyone else to give it a try! This vibrant dish tastes fantastic next to anything coming off the barbecue or grill, and allows amazing summer herbs to shine. 

Fresh Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad Recipe

Serves: 10

For the Tabbouleh Salad:

  • 3 large bunches of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 pint tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, or substitute bulgur wheat, couscous, or riced cauliflower
  • 1 cup fresh mint, chopped

For the Dressing:

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (juice of 2 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, add the chopped parsley, cherry tomatoes, green onion, cooked quinoa, and mint. Toss well to combine.
  2. To make the dressing, add all the dressing ingredients into a mason jar with an airtight lid, and seal. Shake well for 1-2 minutes until all the ingredients are well combined.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Serve immediately.
  3. If making ahead for a party or BBQ, make the salad as instructed above, but add an additional ¼ cup olive oil and ¼ cup lemon juice again before serving, as quinoa can absorb the dressing.

Dietary Modifications

This recipe is vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free if you are using quinoa or riced cauliflower.  
To make this recipe paleo or Whole30-compliant, use riced cauliflower instead of the quinoa.

Tags: Healthy Recipes, Salads, Vegan Recipes, Quick Recipe Ideas, Summer recipes

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Written By

Kelly Jensen

Kelly is a librarian, homesteader, recipe creator, and beekeeper. See Full Bio

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