If you are looking for a healthy and gluten-free side salad, then this quinoa tabbouleh without tomatoes is for you! A few ingredient and very healthy recipe that combines quinoa, vegetables and lots of fresh herbs with a honey garlic dressing. This tomato-free tabbouleh is vegetarian, gluten-free and a low histamine salad.
This tabbouleh makes the most of fresh herbs, and is so flavourful. We make it without tomatoes for those who aren't able to tolerate them, or just aren't a fan, and swap out red bell pepper instead. It gives a good crunch I think!
What is quinoa tabbouleh?
Traditional tabbouleh typically combines bulgar, tomatoes, cucumber, onion and lots of mint and parsley, and is of Middle East origin. It's fresh and light, and a really easy dish that is perfect in summer for lunches, picnics or as a side for BBQs.
This quinoa tabbouleh takes the same focus on fresh herbs, and parsley in particular, but uses quinoa in place of bulgar. Quinoa has a lovely nutty taste that I think works perfectly with the parsley and mint, and soaks up the flavours of the dressing so well. It is gluten-free and also a good source of vegan protein.
As this is a low histamine recipe, I make one other major food swap in this recipe - using red bell pepper in place of tomatoes. I really like the crunch that the bell pepper gives and it works so well with the other ingredients.
This quinoa tabbouleh uses fresh vegetables and lots of herbs, as well as a simple honey garlic dressing.
- Quinoa: I tend to use regular white quinoa, but you could also use a blend such as the Betterbody organic quinoa. Quinoa is particularly good for those on a vegan diet as it is a good source of protein and a 'complete protein' as well.
- Bell pepper: the substitute for tomatoes as this recipe doesn't use them (but of course do so if you aren't low histamine!). I really like the crunch they give, and the colour too!
- Cucumber: one of my most loved vegetables in summer as they are so refreshing and give a lightness to this salad.
- Parsley: a key ingredient of tabbouleh recipes, parsley is used in abundance for its flavour.
- Mint: the taste of summer I think! Adds a lovely light flavour to the salad.
Variations on ingredients
If you don't follow a low histamine diet then you can of course include the traditional ingredient of tomatoes, and a touch more vinegar in the dressing too.
I haven't tried it, but a friend swears by putting a bit of very finely diced kale in her tabbouleh and it sounds good to me! Perhaps give it a little massage with some oil first to soften it up a bit.
Want even more flavour? Then add as many herbs as you like. Some people like just a light sprinkle, others want a very green salad!
Step by step instructions
Making this quinoa tabbouleh without tomatoes is really very simple and has just four steps:
Cook the quinoa according to packet instructions, and then set aside to cool. It usually takes around 15 minutes (image 1). If it looks as though it needs it, you can 'fluff up' the quinoa with a fork to separate the quinoa.
Dice the cucumber and bell pepper (image 2).
Dice the herbs (image 3). You want them fairly finely diced so they distribute amongst the quinoa.
Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients and stirring (or whisking) well to combine (image 4). Do a taste test and adjust to preference.
To let the flavours develop and for the dressing to flavour the quinoa, it is nice to leave this salad to sit for a little while before serving. Personally I think it is better at room temperature if only for a short while as I find putting it in the fridge can make the quinoa go a little hard (perhaps that is just me though!).
However, if you follow a low histamine diet this may not be the best idea due to histamine formation if you are sensitive to it. The tabbouleh can be served immediately too!
More summer salads to try:
Quinoa tabbouleh (without tomatoes)
- ½ cup quinoa (dry weight)
- ½ small cucumber diced
- ½ red bell pepper diced
- large handful parsley diced
- small handful mint diced
For the dressing
- 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or white distilled vinegar optional
- 1 garlic clove minced, or finely diced
- 1 teaspoon honey
- pinch salt
- pinch black pepper optional
- Cook the quinoa according to packet instructions. This usually takes 12-15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Fluff up with a fork if required.
- Dice the cucumber, bell pepper and herbs.
- Combine the ingredients for the dressing.
- Add the quinoa, vegetables and herbs to a bowl and then drizzle on the dressing. Stir thoroughly to combine so all ingredients are coated in the dressing.
- Adjust the dressing to taste preference, with more honey, herbs or vinegar to taste.
- If lemon juice is suitable for you then you can use it in place of the vinegar.
- Fluff up the quinoa once it is cooked with a fork.
- Vinegar is a rather debated ingredient in terms of histamine. If you prefer to use a vinegar that scores 0 on the SIGHI list, then you may prefer to use white distilled vinegar. It should be noted that some people aren't able to tolerate any form of vinegar.
- black pepper, which scores 2. It is optional.
- garlic, which scores 1.
- apple cider vinegar scores 1.