This gluten-free salad pops with fresh mint and lemon zest

Recipe: Quinoa Chickpea Tabbouleh Salad
Photo by Jennifer Ward Barber

Quinoa is not a grain at all but actually a seed or a “pseudo cereal."  It contains all essential amino acids and is particularly well endowed with the amino acid lysine, which helps with tissue growth and repair. Light, refreshing and summery, tabbouleh salad is typically made with bulgur wheat. We’ve dressed up this healthy, gluten-free version with fresh mint and a pop of lemon zest for extra layers of flavor, and chickpeas for a protein boost. Feel free to keep this dish vegan, or enjoy a sprinkle of feta cheese on top.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes, plus time to cook quinoa
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 4-6


-2 cups cooked light colored quinoa
-1/3 cup fruity olive oil
-3 Tbsp lemon juice
-1 Tbsp raw honey or agave nectar
-1 tsp chopped garlic
-sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
-½ cup chopped parsley
-2 Tbsp chopped mint leaves
-1 Tbsp chopped oregano leaves
-zest of 1 lemon
-½ cup finely chopped red onion
-1 cup cherry tomatoes; cut into halves or quarters lengthwise
-1 cucumber, seeded and cut into ¼ inch dice
-1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
-½ cup feta cheese, optional


1. Place quinoa in large bowl. In a small bowl or glass jar with lid, combine olive oil, lemon, honey or agave nectar, garlic salt and pepper and whisk or shake.

2. Toss quinoa with dressing. Add parsley, mint, oregano, lemon zest, red onion, tomatoes, cucumbers, and chickpeas and combine.

3. Top with crumbled feta cheese if desired.

Nutritional information (per 1/6 serving, without feta cheese): 316 calories (177 from carbs, 36 from protein, and 103 from fat), 29 g carbohydrates, 9 g protein, 11 g fat, 4 g fiber.


Leslie Myers is the owner of Foodsense, Now; company devoted to the education and production of healthy cuisine. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Leslie teaches culinary classes in Southern California, is a frequent guest on San Diego Living, and writes about food and triathlons on her website When she is not cooking, Leslie can be found training and racing for triathlons (Ironman is her favorite), shopping at farmers' markets, or at the Del Mar dog beach with her dog, Tempo.