Parsley: Sun-dried Tomato Quinoa Tabbouleh

Sun-dried Tomato Quinoa Tabbouleh_ForkFingersChopsticks

Parsley is one of my favorite herbs.

Growing up, however, the only time I remember parsley on my plate was as a green garnish that I pushed to the side. Then, years ago when I began eating Middle Eastern foods like tabbouleh, the herb found a regular place in my heart and garden.

I grow both curly and flat parsley and prefer the curly version for tabbouleh.

Parsley’s exact origin is uncertain but is believed to have been in the Mediterranean region, from Spain to Greece and its use has spread throughout the world for both culinary and medicinal uses.

There is also much folk lore surrounding its use – one particular belief was that the herb would only flourish in gardens where a strong woman presides over the household.  Snap!

The herb is a key ingredient in several cultures including those from the Middle East and North Africa. It’s essential in the refreshing salad tabbouleh (also spelled tabouleh, tabbouli, tabboule) that has its roots in Lebanon and Syria.

Traditionally the dish has parsley, mint, tomatoes, bulgar wheat, lemon juice, olive oil and seasonings such as allspice and cinnamon. It’s often eaten by scooping it up in lettuce leaves. In the Middle East, it is more of a green salad than a grain salad.

Over the last several decades the salad has grown in global appeal, which has led to a variety of interpretations – such as in North Africa where the cracked wheat is substituted with couscous – and, here in my Colorado kitchen, where this recipe uses quinoa. When I don’t have garden fresh tomatoes, as in now, I use sun-dried. My tomato plants are growing at a snails pace, or so it seems. I created this recipe for a local magazine spread and for those eating gluten free.

Tabbouleh makes a great snack, side dish or a complete meal with hummus or falafel.

Tidbits on Parsley:

  1. There are three common varieties of parsley: curly, flat (Italian) and Hamburg. Parsley is rich in vitamin C and iron.
  2. Parsley is related to carrots, parsnips, and celery.
  3. Parsley has an honored place in folk lore and history:  parsley was used in Greek and Roman ceremonies; it was sprinkled on corpses to abate stench, Greek athletes were crowned with parsley and during the Middle Ages it was credited with lethal powers – pulling parsley root from the earth while calling out an adversary’s name could cause death. It was also believed to promote menstruation, facilitate childbirth, and increase female libido.

Sources: “Parsley,” The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, Ed. Laurie J. Fundukian; Encyclopedia of Spices at; the Encyclopedia of Food and Culture

Parsley - Sun dried tomato tabouleh _ ForkFingersChopsticks

Sun-dried Tomato Quinoa Tabbouleh

Serves 4

For a more traditional tabbouleh use bulgar wheat, increase the parsley and omit the cucumber; you should also make another 1/2 batch of dressing. I like the moist crispness of cucumbers and make tabbouleh with or without depending on my mood.



1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt


1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 – 10 sun-dried tomatoes, re-hydrated (if oil-packed, remove excess oil), finely chopped

1 cup fresh curly leaf parsley, finely chopped

1/2 cup red onion, finely diced

2 to 3 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped

1/2 cucumber, diced small, optional


  1. Rinse quinoa and drain. In a medium stock pot over high heat, bring quinoa, water and salt to boil; reduce to simmer until quinoa grains become fluffy with germs separated and water is absorbed (about 15 – 20 minutes). Drain off excess water and set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, allspice, salt, pepper and garlic; whisk well. Add, cooled quinoa, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, onion, mint and cucumber. Mix well.
  3. Serve room temperature or chilled with Romaine lettuce leaves, pita bread triangles and/or hummus.
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10 Responses to Parsley: Sun-dried Tomato Quinoa Tabbouleh

  1. I haven’t eaten many middle eastern foods, but always hear people raving about them. This looks like a great recipe!

    Andrea (FFC): This is a refreshing salad, perfect for summertime. It has plenty of texture and flavor.

  2. This sounds good, although I just finished eating my quinoa, corn and black bean salad for the fourth day in a row. Am glad it’s finally gone! I think your sun-dried tomatoes in this sound like a winner.

    Andrea (FFC): Apparently, I’m on a sun-dried tomato kick. Remember my chubs. When my heirloom tomatoes come in I’ll also be making this quinoa tabouleh with garden fresh tomatoes. You could make half a batch to feed one person.

  3. yumkid says:

    This looks yummy! I am going to try it this weekend.

    Andrea (FFC): Thanks for visiting Yumkid. Hope that your kiddos enjoy!

  4. […] Visit link: Parsley: Sun-dried Tomato Quinoa Tabbouleh | Fork Fingers Chopsticks […]

  5. Food-G says:

    Quinoa and sun-dried tomatoes?! I adore those things, and love tabbouleh. Definitely going to give your version a try.

    Andrea (FFC): I am a tabbouleh fiend. I also make a non-quinoa version.

  6. We have LOTS of parsley in the yard. Wonder what that means. ;-) Love your commentary on parsley. I love it, too. And – it’s GREAT for improving dog breath, so my dog gets lots.

    When I started planting parsley, I actually noticed that the leaves looked an awful lot like carrot leaves and celery leaves… so it makes sense they’re related.

    Yummy looking post – and healthy looking, too!

    Happy day to you!

    Andrea (FFC): Thanks for the tip on using parsley for your perros’ breath.

  7. sippitysup says:

    I use parsley as palate cleanser, but with this fab “salad” I know I’d be cleansed just right. GREG

    Andrea (FFC): So Greg, do you nibble on the parsley garnish after/between your meal? For some odd reason I still don’t eat the parsley garnish.

  8. How interesting about parsley! I especially like the belief of it flourishing in gardens of a strong woman! :) Your quinoa tabbouleh looks wonderful with such beautiful presentation.

    Andrea (FFC): Tabbouleh is in constant demand during the summer. Just made a batch on Sunday and it was gone in 3 days.

  9. “There is also much folk lore surrounding its use – one particular belief was that the herb would only flourish in gardens where a strong woman presides over the household. Snap!”

    So that explains why it’s taking over my yard. ;)

    Andrea (FFC): I knew the ladies would like that one. It looks like you have the touch!

  10. Food-G says:

    Just had this for lunch and LOVED it Andrea. Followed your recipe to the T, and added some diced turkey to make it a main dish. Hubs and I kept saying yum yum! so good! I never would have thought of allspice– such a wonderful addition, especially with the sun-toms and quinoa. Bravo!

    Andrea (FFC): Thanks for coming back to share your thoughts. Glad you enjoyed!

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