This salad is bursting with fresh herbs and therefore phyto-chemicals (plant nutrients). We all know how amazing green vegetables are, and herbs have the added bonus of also smelling delightful and having a strong flavour. Which basically means they have triple the goodness compared to plain old lettuce! If you want a green boost then eat lots of herbs, I can't get enough of them!


  • 3/4 cup quinoa or use bulgur wheat see note below
  • large bunch of fresh parsley- flat leaf or curly - finely chopped
  • handful fresh mint finely chopped
  • 1 to mato or 6 smaller tomatoes diced
  • 2 spring onions thinly sliced
  • juice of 1 - 2 lemons
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly cracked pepper


  • Optional - pre-soak the quinoa for 8 - 12 hours in 2 cups warm water with 1 tablespoon cultured whey (the opaque liquid strained from unsweetened natural yogurt) or apple cider vinegar. This helps to unlock nutrients like calcium and magnesium and reduce anti-nutrients such as phytic acid, while improving the digestibility of the seed. Drain and rinse well in a sieve, shaking out as much water as possible.
  • In a saucepan bring 1 1/4 cups water to a boil (1 1/2 cups if quinoa is un-soaked). Add the drained quinoa, cover with a tight fitting lid and bring back to the boil. Once boiling turn down the heat and simmer for 12 - 15 minutes until the water is absorbed and tunnels appear in the quinoa. Remove from the heat and leave to steam, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and tip into a bowl to cool.
  • Prepare the herbs, tomatoes and spring onions. Fold these through the warm quinoa, squeeze over the juice of one lemon and drizzle generously with olive oil. Don't hold back on the lemon and olive oil you want the salad to be well-dressed. Season well and check flavour adding more lemon and oil if needed. Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve.


To prepare bulgur wheat: Place 3/4 cup bulgur wheat into a bowl. Pour over 1 1/2 cups boiling water, cover with a plate, and leave to steam for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

I still clearly remember the first time I tasted real tabbouleh. It was while living in Canada and I was visiting a friend in Whistler. One of his roommates (flatmate) was Lebanese who loved to cook his traditional cuisine. One of the nights I was staying they had a good old kiwi-style potluck (I love how we take our traditions everywhere we go!). Included in the food selection was the most amazing salad I had ever eaten. Fresh lemony flavour, bursting with herbs, little pops of sweet tomato and chewy grains. I ate little else and was soon grilling my friends roommate on the ingredients.

The trick he told me was LOTS of fresh parsley and mint, more than you would think, the salad should almost be half grains and half herbs. Plus it must be well-dressed with loads of lemon juice and olive oil so the salad is virtually dripping in dressing. And don’t forget to season well… I have never forgotten that conversation and often make this salad through summer and autumn when we have all the ingredients abundant in the garden. I always make a large bowl to last several dinners and eat it for lunch in between too.

I have made one change to the recipe using quinoa rather than traditional bulgur wheat. Quinoa is seed rather than a grain so is highly nutritious with a good boost of complete plant-based protein. Although it is pricey a little goes a long way, tripling in volume from dry seed to cooked. Of-course you can also use bulgur wheat (preparation instructions below), and cooked millet or buckwheat also work well.

Quinoa Tabbouleh | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

Quinoa Tabbouleh | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

P.S. I was on television yesterday! Watch my Preserving segment on TVOne’s Whānau Living HERE.

Nicola Galloway Whanau Living

Join the Conversation

  1. Hi I love the sound of the tabbouleh salad using quinoa instead of bulgur wheat, but didn’t understand your reference to “1 tablespoon cultured whey of apple cider vinegar”. Could you please elaborate? Thanks

    1. Hi Fran, if you are soaking the quinoa in water to make it more digestible then adding a little acid such as apple cider vinegar, lemon juice or cultured whey (this is the opaque liquid strained from unsweetened natural yogurt) it will help to unlock nutrients. You can skip this step and the quinoa will still be as delicious but it just helps to make it more digestible and nutritious. I am always looking at ways to get the most nutrition from my food and soaking whole grains, seeds and nuts before eating will unlock goodness that is otherwise difficult for the body to obtain. Fermenting grains before eating is traditionally very common, the most obvious example is sourdough bread which is risen slowly with water an an acidic (lactic acid) sourdough starter. I hope that helps explain 🙂

      1. Hi Again Fran, sorry I have just noticed the typo (I’m a bit slow today!). It is meant to read ‘cultured whey OR apple cider vinegar’. I have updated the recipe 🙂

  2. Hi Nicola Appreciate you taking the time to reply. It’s really helpful knowing why things are done, so I found that extra information useful. Thanks for so many great recipes:)

  3. Hi Nicola
    Made this salad tonight and it was delicious. Didn’t have much parsley so threw in some rocket as well. Thanks for this recipe…will be great to take some to work for lunch in the future.

    1. Thanks Viv, rocket would be a lovely addition and will also provide a phyto-chemical punch with its pungent taste. Enjoy!

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