HEALTHY LITTLE VITTLES is a food blog created by certified health coach and published author, Gina Fontana, that focuses on gluten-free + vegan + plant-based recipes that anyone can make and everyone will enjoy! Here you'll find simple, flavorful meals, many made in 30 minutes or less. All eaters are welcome!
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A vibrant and satisfying Gluten-Free Tabouli Orzo Salad bursting with freshness! This easy tabbouleh is a colorful mix of fragrant parsley, juicy tomatoes, refreshing cucumbers, aromatic mint, and hearty chickpea orzo, perfectly dressed in a tangy olive oil lemon garlic dressing. It’s a feast for your senses and a nourishing treat for your body! 🌿🍅🥒
Traditionally tabouli (aka tabbouleh) is a fresh herb and bulgur salad, made with parsley, diced cucumber, tomato, and onion tossed in a simple dressed olive oil and lemon juice dressing. It’s light and refreshing and is loaded with healthy ingredients.
I decided to plant parsley this year in my garden, along with cucumbers and tomatoes… so it seemed like this Gluten-Free Tabouli Orzo Salad just needed to happen! 🍅🥒🌱
You’ll often find tabbouleh as a side dish on Mediterranean/Middle Eastern menus.
Because bulgur isn’t gluten-free, I decided to swap that ingredient out for a chickpea-based orzo. I’ve seen tabouli made with quinoa, which would also be delicious and gluten-free, but by using this chickpea orzo/rice, my tabouli recipe is also grain free. There are a few different brands of gluten-free orzo, but I used Banza chickpea rice (that looks like orzo). Using chickpea orzo also adds some plant-based protein to this salad recipe!
Parsley. I grew Italian parsley in my garden this year, so I used that, but you could also use curly parsley. You will need quite a bit, enough to have 1 cup when it’s finely chopped- about 2-3 large bunches.
Cucumber, tomato, onion. You’ll need 1 cup each of diced tomatoes and cucumber. And then 1/4 cup of sweet yellow onion, diced very small.
Mint. Mint adds that fresh minty flavor that pairs so well with the lemon, garlic, and other veggies.
Lemon garlic olive oil dressing. The dressing is light and fresh using only extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, and salt. Simply whisk those ingredients together and pour over the tabouli and toss to combine. So easy.
Add the diced tomato and cucumber to a bowl with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, gently toss and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes while you prepare the rest. This allows any excess water to release so your tabouli doesn’t end up being too watery. Then drain the excess water that accumulates before adding to the tabouli.
You can enjoy tabouli as a side salad with your Mediterranean/Middle Eastern meals, you can enjoy tabouli in a wrap with some plant based chicken or falafel and hummus (what we did for dinner one night! 😋), or enjoy it as an appetizer with some gluten-free flatbread and hummus.
Let me know what you think about this refreshing summer salad recipe down below in the comments section, as well as giving it a five rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ so that others can discover this Gluten-Free Tabouli Orzo Salad! Tag me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest if you make it!
Cook the orzo according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, combine the diced cucumber and tomato in a bowl with ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir, and let the mixture rest for at least 10 minutes, or until you’re ready to mix the salad. This ensures that the tabouli isn’t too watery.
Cut off the thick stems of the parsley and then finely chop the parsley. You can do this by hand, but it’s much easier in a food processor.
Add the cooled orzo to a large bowl, then add the parsley, chopped fresh mint, and onion to the bowl.
Strain the diced cucumber and tomatoes, getting rid of the excess liquid that has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl. Add the strained cucumber and tomato to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
In a small measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, and salt until well combined and it slightly thickens. Pour it into the salad and toss to combine. Add more salt to taste if desired. Let the salad rest for 15 minutes before serving to let the flavors come together or chill it for later. Tabouli will keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days.
* I used Italian, but you can also use curly parsley
** Recipe adapted from Cookie and Kate
*** You may use a different kind of gluten-free orzo. Using chickpea orzo also makes this recipe grain-free and adds some plant-based protein!
HEALTHY LITTLE VITTLES is a food blog that focuses on gluten-free + vegan + plant-based recipes
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