Tuna and Quinoa Tabbouleh

Tuna and Quinoa Tabbouleh - Eat Spin Run Repeat

Happy humpday!

Today’s actually more like a Thursday for me because tomorrow I’ll be jet setting alllll the way over to Calgary. 1 hour flight = totally not jet setting, but let’s pretend.

Ingredients for Tuna and Quinoa Tabbouleh - Eat Spin Run Repeat

It’s been over 5 years since I last visited my home province of Alberta, and about 10 since my last trip to my hometown of Edmonton (which hasn’t really been home since 2001). The reason for this little trip is to celebrate the wedding of one of my childhood besties, Lauren.

Lauren and I go wayyyyyyy back to our newborn years. Our mums grew up together, went to school together, and funnily enough, they managed to get preggers at the same time. Lauren and I were both born in August 1988, and despite being raised in different cities, we were like two peas in a pod.

When I think back to all of our childhood memories, there are a few that stand out. We collected posters from teen celebrity magazines of the 90s and plastered them all over my bedroom walls. We drooled over members of the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC. We had Grease movie marathons, making up dances to all the songs and quoting lines without fully understanding what they meant because we were 10.

tomatoes and pine nuts

While most of our get-togethers were when Lauren’s family came to visit mine in Edmonton, or when we went to visit hers in Grande Prairie, there was one holiday where we all met up in Florida. I don’t remember much about that trip, but thankfully we have fantastic home videos of our stellar Baywatch-lifeguard-saving-drowning-swimmer re-enactment in the hotel pool to help the memory remain vivid in my mind. That’s right. Home videos recorded on a camcorder the size of a shoe box. We’re talking VHS here, folks. The 90s. Before the iPhone age. This tape is an absolute GEM.

Fast-forward to now, awkward teenage years and early 20s behind us. I’ve moved to the Middle East and back, and Lauren moved to Calgary and met her very soon-to-be hubby. I did my degree in Business and Lauren went to school for PR. A whole bunch of stuff happened along the way, but when we met up in 2012 after years of very little communication to run the first Lululemon Seawheeze half marathon together, we picked up right where we left off.

It’s amazing how there are just some people who get you, no matter how much time or how many miles come in between. I’ll only be spending a couple of days in Calgary, but I’m looking forward to the celebrations, the fun, and the gut-busting laughs, just like the ones we’ve shared before.

parsley and kale in the food processor

Today’s recipe really has nothing to do with the totally ridiculous things Lauren and I used to do as kids, but I’m sharing it because 1) it’s delicious, and 2) it’s what I’ll be eating as I wait in the airport for my flight tomorrow.

Ingredients for Tuna and Quinoa Tabbouleh - Eat Spin Run Repeat

Tabbouleh purists will probably scoff and shake their heads at my Tuna and Quinoa Tabbouleh creation because it contains all sorts of ingredients that aren’t in the traditional recipe. In case you haven’t enjoyed or heard of this Middle Eastern dish before, it’s a simple salad of very finely minced parsley, bulgur (or cracked wheat), olive oil and lemon juice.

This twist on the conventional classic uses quinoa instead of bulgur (to make it gluten-free), pine nuts (because they’re lovely and buttery and delicious), tuna (for a boost of protein) and baby kale because it’s ridiculously nutritious and SO much easier to chew than it’s tougher-leaved regular-sized cousin.

Tuna and Quinoa Tabbouleh - Eat Spin Run Repeat

For my veggie friends, you can easily make this dish entirely plant-based by swapping in chickpeas, white navy beans, or cooked lentils for the tuna. (About 1 1/4 cups should be plenty.) And regardless of what protein source you decide to use, if you’re looking for a side dish to pair with this salad, the Lemon Roasted Cauliflower that I posted on Monday will be puuuuuuuuuuurfect.

Tuna and Quinoa Tabbouleh

by Angela Simpson

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 cup chopped English cucumber
  • 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 1 can flaked or chunk light tuna (about 140g), drained
  • 1 loosely packed cup parsley
  • 3 cups baby kale
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste


  • Cook the quinoa in a small pot with water for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the grains are puffy. Remove from the stove, mix in the cumin, and let the quinoa cool.
  • Chop the vegetables as directed. Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, tuna and pine nuts to a large bowl.
  • In a food processor, pulse the parsley and baby kale until small green pieces form. (Alternatively, you can chop/shred finely with a knife, but the food processor is much faster!)
  • Pour the greens and quinoa into the bowl and stir to combine.
  • In a small container, whisk or shake together the olive oil, lemon juice, black pepper and sea salt. Drizzle it over the salad and stir to coat everything as evenly as possible.
  • Let the salad sit for 10-15 minutes so that flavours can develop. Season with a bit more sea salt and black pepper if needed, then serve or refrigerate for use later in the week.

Tuna and Quinoa Tabbouleh - Eat Spin Run Repeat

Now over to you! I’d love to hear…

  • Do you still keep in touch with friends you’ve known since you were a kid? Any hilarious memories to share?

6 thoughts on “Tuna and Quinoa Tabbouleh

  1. Aww I hope you have the BEST time.
    I do still see my bestie at least once a month. We’ve known each other since we were 10 and really grown up together. I cannot think of any silly stories but I’m sure there are some.

    Have a safe fun trip!
    PS I think I could eat that entire cauliflower recipe on my own 😉

  2. Aww Ang this was so sweet! What an incredible re-cap! You’ve always been more like a cousin than just a friend and I am so fortunate to have such amazing memories with you and your family! So happy you and your mama are making it our wedding and can’t wait to see you soon!


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