Quinoa Tabouli for Dieters

Tabouli is a wonderful dish.  It’s delicious and healthy for you, textured with crunch and snap, and has a lovely smell, dominated by fresh parsley, green onions, and lemon.

Still, from a weight watcher’s perspective, tabouli has problems.  It can be heavy in carbohydrates if the ratio between quinoa and vegetables leans towards the quinoa.  And many recipes call for more oil than a dieter would want.

How, I wondered, could I make this more of a diet dish while still retaining the tabouli goodness?  My solution was to cut the oil dramatically and add new crunchy vegetables, snow peas and green beans, to the classic ingredients of tomato, cucumber, parsley, and green onions.  I’m now thinking that I could have also added baby bok choy; I’ll try that next time and let you know.

Printer-friendly recipe

Makes approximately 8 1-cup servings

Cooking tips:

  • First time cooking quinoa seeds? Use the same method as you do for rice: 1 part quinoa to 2 parts boiling water.  Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
  • Use the freshest ingredients possible.  Everything in this dish was bought the day I made it; I used real lemons for the juice; and I picked a handful a newly sprouted chives from my garden. (Hello, Spring!)
  • Two of the ingredients—the quinoa and green beans—need to be cooked ahead of time so that they are, at the very least, at room temperature.
  • You can use regular cucumber, peeled, or English cucumber.  I would only remove seeds if they were large and moist.


  • 1½ cups cooked quinoa seeds, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 cucumber, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • ½ cup tender celery stalks (from the center of the plant), finely sliced
  • ½ cup raw snow peas, finely sliced
  • ½ cup green beans, lightly steamed but still crunchy, cooled, and finely diced
  • 2 tbsp. mint leaves, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp. coriander, finely diced
  • 2-4 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. olive oil  (If the salad tastes great to you with just lemon, forget the oil.  However, I found the tiniest bit nicely mellowed the lemon tartness which pleased my husband.)
  • Handful of chives, diced finely (optional)
  • Salt to taste


  1. In large mixing bowl, add all vegetables and herbs and mix well.
  2. Add cooked quinoa and mix well.
  3. Add 2 tbsp. of the lemon juice and taste.  If you want more tartness, add extra lemon juice tablespoon by tablespoon until it suits your palate.  Mix well.
  4. Drizzle olive oil over salad and then mix well.
  5. Add salt to taste.
  6. Chill.

For Weight Watchers: Each 1-cup serving is worth 1 point in both the Points and PointsPlus plans.

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