Love Tabbouleh but Can’t Eat Gluten?

photography by Lisa Groves

There is just something about Tabbouleh that is so refreshing and healthy. I feel so healthy when I eat it! What about you? Have you tried this wonderful Mediterranean dish? If not, you’re in for a treat.

The traditional way to make Tabbouleh (pronounced taboolee) is with bulgur wheat, garlic, onions, parsley, tomatoes, cucumbers, lemon juice, and olive oil. But several of those ingredients are foods our family has sensitivities to, so I changed this dish to make it safe for us.

You’d think that eliminating the tomatoes and garlic would make a big difference, but we don’t miss them as much as we thought we would. The other change to this dish was to substitute quinoa for the bulgur wheat. It was delightful mixed with the other ingredients.  One last addition is the sliced Greek kalamata olives, which blend so well with the other flavors. The strong flavors of the chopped parsley, onions, kalamata olives, cucumbers, and lemon with olive oil beautifully support this dish on their own.

This dish is great on its own or used as a great base for meats or fish. It’s great room temperature or as a cold salad. I try to always have some made and ready to use.

I like to add freshly ground pepper for a little kick. Due to our need to watch salt, I go light on salt, especially since the Kalamata olives are salty. If you don’t have to watch your salt intake, feel free to salt to taste.

Surprising health benefits

An extra plus for this dish is how good parsley is for you. We have kidney disease in our family and parsley is very supportive for kidney function. Parsley is rich in antioxidants, great for bones, cancer, eyes, and the heart. It also has antibacterial properties.

Lemon is very purifying and refreshing. It’s also a good source of antioxidants, skin, heart, skin, kidneys, cancer, and increases iron absorption.

Cucumbers are great for hydration, bones, cardiovascular health, diabetes, cancer, inflammation, and skin.

Quinoa is protein rich with amino acids. They are fiber-rich, with iron, lysine, magnesium, flavonoids, and are high in antioxidants. They are gluten-free for those who can’t eat gluten – or if you just want to use quinoa instead.

Surprisingly, kalamata olives with their natural olive oils can help lower the risk of cancer, improves the cardiovascular system, and may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Just rinse the olives first to wash off the added salt from the brine solution.

I hope you enjoy this version of Tabbouleh as much as we do. Let me know what you think. Bon Appetit!

Gluten-free Tabbouleh with no Tomatoes or Garlic

You’ll want to have this wonderful Mediterranean dish on hand on a regular basis. It’s packed with healthy nutrients and tastes great, too. Enjoy!


2 cups of cooked quinoa

1 medium cucumber (English – burpless) diced

1 teaspoon salt

3 medium-large bunches of curly parsley chopped

3 green onions thinly sliced (or more to taste)

¼ cup sliced kalamata olives, sliced and rinsed

1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil

4 Tablespoons of lemon juice, freshly squeezed

½ teaspoon freshly grated pepper


  1. Rinse the quinoa and cook. I love cooking quinoa in the Instant pot. It takes only 2 minutes. Set your Instant Pot on High Pressure, measure in 2 cups of rinsed quinoa with 2 ¼ cups of water and press start for the Pressure cook setting.
  2. Wash and dice the cumber and place in a medium bowl.
  3. Wash and slice the green onions and add to the cucumber in the medium bowl.
  4. Rinse the sliced kalamata olives and add to the ingredients in the bowl.
  5. For the parsley, remove the larger stems and then chop in the food processor (or by hand). It’s best to add one bunch of parsley at a time to assure that the parsley is chopped thoroughly. After chopping each bunch, remove the parsley to the medium bowl and then repeat the process with the second and then third bunch.
  6. Add the cooled quinoa to the ingredients in the bowl.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and the lemon juice together, adding the salt and pepper to the mixture. The lemon, salt and pepper are to taste, so adjust if needed. Add to the ingredients in the medium bowl. Mix well.
  8. The salad is ready to eat as is, or refrigerate for several hours. It will keep fresh for about 4 days in the refrigerator. If you choose to add other ingredients like meat or fish, either measure out the mixture first and add the other ingredients, or if you add them to the entire dish, you’ll need to eat the dish within a few days. Makes about 6 one-cup servings.

Enjoy and feel the healthy glow!

Published by The Food Allergy Detective

I have a strong background in the health care industry with over 20 years in underwriting health insurance products, health insurance financial analysis; 16 years in operating a therapeutic massage and energy work business. I have recently earned my certification in case studies. This form of copywriting and other copywriting programs led me to create this website. I have been living with food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances since birth and the list of foods I can no longer eat just keeps growing longer. My family also struggles with similar food issues. With all the research and recipes I'm developing to address our unique allergies, I decided to share this journey with you. Whether you also have food allergies, sensitivities, or intolerances, I hope that the information and recipes I'm providing here will help you or someone you know. I welcome you and am grateful that you visited. Please leave comments and feedback. I'm learning to build this website, so bear with me. It's all a big adventure in learning and I love the challenge! Bon appétit and good luck on your journey!

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