Quinoa Tabbouleh with Lentils

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This Quinoa Tabbouleh with Lentils is packed with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, fresh herbs, quinoa, and lentils for a hearty meatless meal or side dish and a fun twist on the classic Middle Eastern salad.

209 CAL 32g CARBS 5g FAT 10g PROTEIN 6
1 Comment

This Quinoa Tabbouleh is the perfect side dish, lunch, or dinner salad and is packed with flavor from lots of lemon juice and fresh herbs. It takes the classic Middle Eastern tabbouleh salad and replaces the bulgar with quinoa for added protein. 

Tabbouleh may be of the best salads out there - the fresh herbs, earthy bulger wheat, lemon juice, and crunchy veggies - get me every time. I love it. It is so good on falafel or these vegetarian shawarma bowls.

Lately, I have been thinking about ways to make this salad more of a main dish without adding meat and decided to give it a go with quinoa and lentils. The quinoa acts as a substitute for the bulger wheat and adds a ton of extra protein and fiber.

The lentils are just an added bonus, adding flavor, even more protein, and a delicious earthiness that works with the dish. 

The other thing I love about this quinoa tabbouleh is that it is amazing for meal prep. The veggies and grains keep really well in the fridge and they can be served as a side dish with some cooked chicken or fish. It is really tasty with these Chicken Kofta Bowls.

It can also serve as a whole meal, perhaps on a bed of greens. It's also delicious wrapped up in some pita bread with a sprinkling of feta cheese and olives. 

Ingredients for quinoa tabbouleh including parsley, quinoa, lentils, cucumbers, tomatoes, mint, and lemon.

What You'll Need for Quinoa Tabbouleh

  • Quinoa: This recipe uses quinoa in place of the traditional bulgur wheat used in taboulleh. Quinoa is packed with protein, easy to cook, and adds a great nuttiness to the recipe.
  • Lentils: The addition of fiber filled lentils in this recipe adds a great texture and earthy flavor to the salad. To make things easy, this recipe calls for canned lentils but you could also cook your own lentils or buy precooked lentils. 
  • Cucumbers: This salad needs some crunch and cucumbers are provide that and add some nice freshness. For the best crunch, try to use Persian or English cucumbers. Cucumbers aren't always traditional in tabbouleh, so you can leave them out from something more traditional.
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes add some acid to this recipe as well another nice textural component. For best results, remove the seeds and pulps from the tomatoes or salt them first to remove some liquid. This is an especially important tip is prepping this in advance. Any tomatoes will work.
  • Fresh Herbs: The fresh herbs are what makes this salad really shine. You need a lot of fresh parsley, the curly parsley kind is best, although flat parsley works as well. I also love the addition of some fresh mint. 
  • Green onions: If you don't have any green onions on hand, you could swap in some red onion. The green onion has a milder flavor, which ensures it doesn't over power the other ingredients.
  • Lemon, garlic, and olive oil: Taboulleh uses a really simple dressing of fresh lemon juice, quality olive oil, and garlic. Then just add kosher salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe Ideas

There are so many ways to customize this tabouleh recipe and make it your own.

  • Add olives and feta: Take this salad in a Greek direction and add some fresh crumbled feta cheese and sliced olives.
  • Add chickpeas: Bulk this salad up even more with some canned chickpeas.
  • Make it spicy: For a spicy element, add some red pepper flakes to the dressing or a touch of harissa. 
  • Make it creamy: Serve this salad with a dollop of some homemade tzatziki or hummus for extra flavor.
  • Add even more protein: If you want to add even more protein, add some chicken, tofu, or even Turkish meatballs to the salad.

Tabbouleh made with quinoa, lentils, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, and mint on a plate with wooden utensils.

What to Serve with Quinoa Tabbouleh?

Taboulleh is a Middle Eastern salad that is traditionally served with all types of dishes. Here are some favorites:

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the questions we hear most often from our readers.

This recipe works best with curly parsley since it doesn't get soggy against the weight of the other ingredients. The volume and texture works really well in the salad. With that said, both flat and curly parsley work fine.

Taboulleh will last for 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container. If you know you will be making it ahead of time, make sure to cut the seeds and pulp out of the tomatoes so the salad doesn't get soggy as it sits.

Lentil and quinoa tabbouleh with parsley, lemon, mint, cucumbers, and tomatoes
The Recipe
Quinoa tabbouleh with lentils, cucumbers, tomatoes, and parsley served on two plates with lemon.

Quinoa Tabbouleh with Lentils

209 CAL 32g CARBS 5g FAT 10g PROTEIN 6
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  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 19 oz canned lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (or more)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Pepper to taste
  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2/3 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mint, chopped
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

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Place the quinoa in a medium pot with 2 cups of water and 1 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the quinoa is fluffy. Drain any excess water if needed. Remove from heat. If you want a cold salad, spread out on a baking sheet to cool or make in advance.

Quinoa cooking in a pot on an induction burner.

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper.

Olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and pepper being whisked in a bowl.

Toss with quinoa and lentils. Add remaining ingredients and toss together.

Wooden tongs tossing together quinoa tabbouleh with lentils.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 209
Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 378mg
Total Carbohydrate 32g
Dietary Fiber 9g
Sugars 3g
Protein 10g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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1 Comment
On Quinoa Tabbouleh with Lentils
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Jennifer J. Rathjen
May 7, 2023 - 00:34
Add a Rating:
Tabbouleh...my favorite !
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