This Cucumber & Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad is packed with freshness and nice citrus flavor from freshly squeeze Lemon. The traditional Tabbouleh is mostly made of finely chopped parsley, tomato, mint, onion bulgur and seasoned with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. In my version, I slightly tweak it a little bit, added more spices and substituted other traditional ingredients.
What is Tabbouleh?
Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern vegetarian dish traditionally made of tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, bulgur, and onion, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Tabbouleh is traditionally served as part of a mezze in the Arab world, almost like tapas in Spain. Nowadays, there several variations of Tabbouleh with the addition of more common ingredients in different locations.
What are the Ingredients to Make Cucumber & Quinoa Tabbouleh?
This Tabbouleh is a slightly different variation of the traditional Tabbouleh. Few ingredients were added, and some substituted.
- Quinoa – Instead of bulgur, this recipe uses Quinoa. I used tri-color Quinoa, but a regular white or brown quinoa will work just fine.
- Parsley – This remains to be the base of the Tabbouleh
- Mint – For more freshness. If you cannot find it, you can skip it. I’ve made this several times without the mint and it turned out good as well.
- Cherry Tomato– I wouldn’t suggest using the big whole tomato. I find this Cherry Tomato is the best for this salad
- Cucumber – This is a new addition. The cucumber adds nice crunch and texture, and a lot more freshness in the salad
- Onion or Shallots – Adds flavor, do not add too much as it could have strong taste
- Red Bell Pepper – This is a new addition and is totally optional. The bell pepper adds nice crunch and texture. I used the red bell pepper, any other color will work just fine
How to Make Cucumber & Quinoa Tabbouleh
Chop/Cut the Vegetables: Making a Tabbouleh is very simple, this mostly requires just chopping ( a lot!) and mixing. The most time consuming part for me is the chopping of parsley, sometimes I get kind of frustrated with this part especially if I am in a hurry. Once you past that part, all the rest is easy. You can start by chopping and cutting the vegetables. Chopped the parsley, mint and shallots as fine as possible. For the Cherry Tomato, I like to cut them in quarters, or half if you want bigger pieces. The cucumber have them in small dice, almost the same size as the bell pepper. I like the bell peppers quite small rather than chunky. Once done with the vegetables, you can move on in making the dressing which is super easy.
Make the Salad Dressing: I tweak the salad dressing a bit an added few more ingredients. The honey, mustard, Italian seasoning, Oregano and Thyme are new addition to the traditional salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon. The honey and mustard adds a nice taste and worked well with balancing the citrus flavor from lemon. Mix all ingredients in a jar, shake until combined then pour in the salad.
Chill before serving: I find that it is best to make this at least 1 hour before serving to allow the salad to absorb the flavor of the dressing. Chilling helps the salad rest to absorbs the flavor. So be patient, it is worth the wait.
- 1/3 cup Quinoa (measured while uncooked)
- 1 Bunch (1 1/2 cup) fresh Parsley – chopped
- 2 tablespoon fresh Mint – chopped
- 1/3 cup Cherry Tomato (around 9-10 pieces)
- 1/3 cup Cucumber – diced
- 1 tablespoon Onion or Shallots
- 1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper – diced
- 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
- Lemon Juice of 1/2 Lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon Thyme
- 1 teaspoon Mustard
- 1 teaspoon Honey
- Cook Quinoa as per package instructions.
- Vegetables: In a large bowl, add parsley, mint, cucumber, tomato, bell pepper and shallots.
- Make the Dressing: Mix olive oil, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, Oregano, Thyme, black pepper, salt, mustard and honey. Stir to combine.
- Mix: Pour the dressing to the salad, toss to combine.
- Chill for at least 1 hour to allow the vegetable to absorb the dressing.
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