Anti-Inflammatory Quinoa Tabouli With Lemon-Cumin-Cayenne Dressing

Quinoa Tabouli with Lemon-Cumin-Cayenne Dressing
Stephanie Clarke, MS, RD & Willow Jarosh, MS, RD
Total Time 10 min
Prep 10 min, Cook 0 min
Yield 4 cups (226 calories each)

This lemon-cumin-cayenne spiced take on traditional tabouli recipe uses quinoa instead of bulgur wheat. Because there’s protein-rich chicken and quinoa, as well as veggies, and healthy monounsaturated fats from olive oil, this is a complete meal in one bowl.

Adding a cayenne kick to a meal can actually help you feel more satisfied afterwards. And both the cumin and cayenne boost the anti-inflammatory power of this recipe by adding antioxidants in addition to what the pepper, parsley, and cucumber contribute.


  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small pinch black pepper
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup roasted red pepper
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 ounces chopped grilled chicken


1. Whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, salt, and black pepper and set aside.

2. Mix together quinoa, cucumber, roasted pepper, parsley, and chicken.

3. Pour the lemon dressing over the top and toss gently to mix.

Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

Try a different cooked whole grain like buckwheat, farro, millet, or wild rice in place of the quinoa for a different texture and flavor profile every time.

You can also try cilantro in place of the parsley to add a different flavor profile without altering the calorie count too much. Also, why not swap lime juice and zest in for the lemon?

As you can see, this dish is versatile enough to be delicious regardless of what you use. You can even make it vegan. Just swap tofu or beans in for the chicken.

Cooking and Serving Tips

Use pre-cooked frozen quinoa and frozen grilled chicken strips to save time.

Make extra servings and freeze in single-serve containers to use for quick heat-and-eat lunches and dinners.

Spices like za'atar, smoked paprika, and dukkah can all be used to decorate the top of this dish when serving (and they add delicious flavor).

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