Quinoa Avocado Tabbouleh

Quinoa Avocado Tabbouleh on TheShiksa.com #healthy #recipe #glutenfree

Lebanese tabbouleh salad originated in the mountain region of Zahlé, according to Claudia Roden’s The New Book of Middle Eastern Food. In the Bekáa Valley of Lebanon during the 1920s, open-air cafés served various local mezze to tourists from all over the Middle East. Tabbouleh became a regional favorite. Originally, it was made with lots of bulgur wheat and bits of fresh herbs. Over time the preference shifted, and bulgur became a side note as fresh green herbs took over. Today, tabbouleh is more often made with lots of fresh parsley and mint, with bulgur and other additions like tomatoes included as mere accents.

In this modern take on tabbouleh salad, I’ve lightened up on the chopped herbs and replaced bulgur with quinoa. Inspired by a salad I enjoyed at Le Pain Quotidien café, I’ve added ripe avocado and grated cucumber to the mix. Toasted pine nuts and a creamy dairy-free basil dressing take this salad from tasty to entrée-worthy. It’s a seriously satisfying meal, packed with protein, healthy fats and lots of flavor. It’s my new favorite lunch recipe!

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Quinoa Avocado Tabbouleh

Salad Ingredients

  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes (12 oz. total), diced
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1 Persian cucumber, peeled and grated
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley, fresh basil or mint
  • 4 cups salad greens (arugula, spinach or spring greens work well)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp honey or agave nectar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

You will also need

  • saucepan, salad bowl, blender
Total Time: 1 Hour
Servings: 4 entree portions, 8 side portions
Kosher Key: Pareve

For Salad

  • Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a mesh strainer, then cook according to package directions. Fluff with a fork, transfer to a large salad bowl, and allow to return to room temperature. Stirring the quinoa every few minutes will help it to cool faster.
  • Gently stir in the avocado, grated Persian cucumber, toasted pine nuts and chopped herbs. Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste.

For Dressing

  • In a blender or food processor, combine the chopped basil leaves, lemon juice, mayonnaise, honey and salt. Cover the blender. Pulse a few times till the ingredients are chopped and combined. Scrape the sides of the blender with a spatula. Put the lid on, open the pour spout, and turn on the blender. Drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil very slowly, pausing to scrape the sides of the blender as needed, till the dressing is creamy and emulsified.
  • To serve, place a portion of salad greens on each serving plate to create a bed for the salad. Scoop the salad onto the top of the greens. To mold the salad as seen in the picture, gently pack the salad into a measuring cup or small bowl, then unmold onto the top of the salad greens. Drizzle with dressing to taste. Serve.
  • Quinoa Avocado Tabbouleh on TheShiksa.com #healthy #recipe #glutenfree

Other Great Recipe Ideas

100 Days of Real Food: Lime-Cilantro Quinoa Salad

Simply Recipes: Cucumber Salad with Grapes and Almonds

Kalyn’s Kitchen: Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Comments (52)Post a Comment

  1. Never heard of Persian cucumbers. What kind can be substituted? Regular, pickling, baby, European/English?

    1. If you can’t find Persian cucumbers, you may substitute half of an English cucumber—those are the long thin ones wrapped tightly in plastic. Avoid using regular fat cucumbers, as they are coated with wax and prone to bitterness.

  2. We have stopped using pine nuts for several reasons: price has become outrageous; recently many people are having bad reactions to them (mouth stinging, sometimes swelling) that last for days; coming from countries whose agricultural practices are not monitored for safety. So, do we just leave out the nuts, or would you suggest a substitute. Perhaps slivered almonds for texture (not roasted to avoid overwhelming the relatively mild flavors. Also, I think the pickling cucumbers work fairly well when I can’t find or can’t afford the Persian.

  3. Does this store well, or do the avacado chunks get brown and mushy? I’m the only person in my household who will eat this, so if the avacado doesn’t hold well, I’ll add it to my portion right before I plate it.

  4. Thanks, Tori. I made the quiona last night. I’m going to grab some herbs from my herb garden and assemble this salad. I can’t wait for lunch!

  5. I just love this recipe Tori. I’ve always loved quinoa but recently it seems to be upsetting my tummy. I wonder if this would work with farro. I may have to test it out. You always make healthy look amazing. Hope you’re enjoying your summer. xx

    1. I think farro would work nicely if it was well cooked, or perhaps couscous. You could of course use bulgur too (which is what is traditionally used in tabbouleh). Great to hear from you Kim!

  6. If quinoa has started upsetting your tummy, it’s possible that it needs more rinsing. I bought a special double layered strainer to rinse mine because otherwise, I lost of lot of it down the sink. Some brands are pre-rinsed, others aren’t, and even if they are, rinsing may be advisable if you have become sensitized. On the other hand, I love the idea of farro. I made a farro salad for Shabbat recently and we all loved it. Nice and chewy.

  7. I just made this. At first I was thinking no I don’t like this but as I ate it, the taste got better and better. When do you add the dressing? After you plate the quinoa or do you add the dressing to the whole quinoa bowl. And I didn’t add the olive oil at the last minute, I just blended it all together. BAD ME!

    1. Hi Helene! I usually drizzle the dressing over the top of the salad before eating. Adding the olive oil as directed allows the dressing to emulsify and thicken, which gives it a more creamy taste. :)

  8. I’m a big fan of your blog and your recipes. That said, I’ve made this dish twice and although the ingredients are wonderful, the dish is very bland. I added a few things to spice it up, but they kind of disappeared. Does it need lemon, cumin, another ingredient, what?

    1. Hi Malka, I’m sorry to hear that. Did you make the dressing? I find the dressing quite flavorful, but if you serve it without the dressing it would indeed be bland. You could try doubling the amount of dressing. Or, instead of using the dressing here, you could try balsamic vinegar over the top, or this sauce, which is quite flavorful: link to theshiksa.com

  9. Amazing recipe! I substituted Balsamic dressing since I did not have fresh basil at home and added some chickpeas for extra protein.

  10. Looks delicious. I made your other quinoa tabbouleh for rosh hashana and it was gobbled up.

    What could I use instead of mayonnaise? Maybe Tahini?

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