broccoli and quinoa tabbouleh with harissa dressing

aerial Broccoli was ridiculously cheap at my local market this week. Beautiful, too – tight green florets, crisp stalks, fresh-cut stems dripping with moisture. So, as most seasonal eaters do, I squirreled a few heads into my shopping basket without further thought as to what I’d do with them. They went straight into the vegetable drawer.

Cue yesterday afternoon when, in search of an avocado, I rediscovered my cruciferous hoard. I decided to turn some of it into ‘dinner’ but had little enthusiasm for my default roasted broccoli with garlic. broccoli I decided upon a salad, with initial thoughts gravitating towards this pomegranate wonder from Green Kitchen Stories. However, as pomegranates were $5 each at the supermarket, the idea became slightly less appealing (whilst also quietly defeating my seasonal locavore principles).

That brings us to this gloriously spicy, crunchy, nutrient packed bowl of green deliciousness that I’ve loosely dubbed as ‘tabbouleh’ (hopefully the Levantines will forgive me). mix I’m sure that most of you would be familiar with traditional tabbouleh, a Middle Eastern salad packed with fragrant herbs, tomatoes, lemon juice, finely chopped onion and cracked wheat (known as burghul or ‘bulgur‘). I think I first came across it at a kebab stand as a young teenager, when I declined to have it applied to doner (my idea of ‘salad’ was iceberg lettuce and tomato).

I’ve since learned the error of my ways and enjoy tabbouleh in all its forms, both for nutritional and taste benefits. I’ve swapped out the bulgur for either quinoa or cous cous on a number of occasions and added a few crushed pistachios, however this is my first proper ‘reinvention’. harissa The base of this salad is a rough tumble of finely chopped broccoli and quinoa, with familiar herbs, onions and lemon drawing reference from tabbouleh. Crumbled feta adds creaminess whilst toasted almonds add a welcome crunch.

For me, the harissa dressing is the stuff of dreams: hot, smoky and slightly sweet from the addition of honey. I’d recommend that you taste and adjust your dressing to suit your personal heat tolerance.

I like to serve this salad on its own, with a big dollop of lemony hummus, for a complete lunch. For dinner, I’d push the boat out with some additional crispy falafel, pickled radishes, natural yoghurt and warmed flat bread. handbowl Broccoli and Quinoa Tabbouleh with Harissa Dressing Adapted from this recipe by BBC Food.

  • 100g quinoa, rinsed (I used black and red, but any colour will do)
  • 300g broccoli florets (don’t throw the stems away, take a look at these gorgeous ideas), very finely chopped or finely blitzed in a food processor
  • 4 spring onion stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, zested and halved*
  • 100g feta cheese (the creamy type, I use goats feta), crumbled
  • large bunch parsley, washed and finely chopped
  • small bunch mint, washed and finely chopped
  • 50g toasted almonds, roughly crushed in a mortar and pestle
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper


  • 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste (maybe start with a little less, mix, taste and add as desired)
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • juice from 1/2 lemon (above*)

Add the quinoa to a medium saucepan with 1 1/4 cups of water. Bring to the boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, then add the broccoli and continue to cook until the quinoa is tender and the broccoli steamed until bright green (you may need to add a splash more water before replacing the lid, do not allow the pot to boil dry).

Tip the broccoli and quinoa mix into a large bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Mix, then set aside to cool slightly. When at room temperature, add the herbs, spring onions, lemon zest and a good amount of salt and pepper. Set aside whilst you make the dressing.

Add all of the dressing ingredients to a medium screw-top jar. Shake, then check the balance of flavours (add a little more honey if too hot, a little more lemon if too viscous, a little more harissa if the heat’s not enough for you). pour Pour over the quinoa mix, add the crumbled feta and almonds, then mix thoroughly. Taste and check for seasoning. Serves 4-6 as a side dish (though I would happily eat it all myself!).  bowl2

39 responses

  1. Laura, this ticks all my boxes …. I love every ingredients in this dish. Thank you so much – bookmarked now. I hope life is gentle to you and your loved ones. Long time – no see. *smile

    • Oh how are you Viveka? It’s been a long time indeed! I’ve been injured so I’ve been off the computer a little bit as of late, blogging has been a bit beyond me. Hope that you have been going ok? xxx

      • Laura, my god … are you better now???? Have you recovered??? My heart goes out to you. Laura, I had a fantastic year … been to Japan & Hong Kong in the spring. Had to see the cherry blossoms. It has been a new destination every month more or less. Still have my problems with the cancer aftermaths,but they are the same if I home or away. Still planning to visit Australia in a 15 months time.

    • It’s so great, I love using harissa. It’s quickly become an obsession! I got this tube from my local continental store, hope that you manage to find some soon! Otherwise it’s quite fun to make (and cheaper, in the long run!). Thanks for the comment x

  2. Jeez you’re a talented lady Laura. This sounds completely awesome. Such amazing texture! And harissa in a TUBE? Lemme at it! I’d be squeezing that baby on everything.

  3. So simple and lovely. I’m always looking for good summer salad ideas since it is the midst of summer here. I also like using stems – sweeter and a great texture. I’m a huge fan of middle eastern couscous as well as quinoa – may try this both ways!

    • Ooh, it’d be amazing with couscous also. Definitely adaptable to any grain, methinks. I hate wasting broccoli stems as they’re still full of nutrients. This is a great way to use them. Thanks heaps lovely! x

  4. Laura! This dish is totally Amy food! I love broccoli, it is on my top ten foods list for sure, and this creamy, spicy, dreamy winter salad is the perfect foundation for any meal. I love the idea of serving it for lunch with a big scoop of hummus. I think I know what’s on the lunch menu next week!

    • I love broccoli too. So good to know that something so delicious is totally good for you as well! Thanks for the gorgeous feedback Amy – you and I are two peas in a pod when it comes to food, methinks! xx

  5. What a fresh and healthy salad! I am staring to use a lot more quinoa (trying my best to avoid lots and lots and lots of pasta) – will give this a try soon! Reminds me a bit of a salad I just had in Zürich, which I have already started recreating!

    • Haha, pasta is so tasty but my system doesn’t tolerate heaps of it. Quinoa is such a great wheat free alternative when you want something satisfying but light. Ooh, I love recreating holiday meals. Fun times David!

    • It was a fun find in a little continental store, I mostly bought it as I loved the packaging but it’s fantastically easy to use :) Thanks lovely, hope you enjoy the salad! xx

  6. Yay! A gluten free friendly tabbouleh. Mum used to buy this from our local Turkish place with hummus, falafels and Turkish bread for a lazy Friday night dinner in days long gone by. Love these substitutions. Hope your wrist is feeling better xxx

    • Thanks so much Martine, the wrist is a little better but I’m still avoiding a lot of typing (I’m on a return to work program and have had to adapt to a left handed mouse etc) so I am waaaay behind on the blog. It’s frustrating but life has its ups and downs. That Friday night dinner from your youth sounds AMAZING (dream food!) xx

  7. I adore broccoli and wish it was ridiculous cheap here at our markets. For some reason, it’s never cheap and the organic stuff is horrendously priced. Love this gluten free tabbouleh, I love the original but I really need to get back to watching my gluten intake so I’m looking for lunch and dinner ideas that don’t resort to my standby…sautéed broccoli with garlic :)

      • Sorry to hear that broccoli is so expensive where you are, what a pain! It’s a bit up and down in terms of price here, I buy lots when it’s cheap and tend to avoid it when the price goes up (as it ends up being less fresh also). I don’t really have a problem with gluten but I do try and mix things up when it comes to grains. I don’t want to overload myself with wheat all the time. Thanks for the comment lovely, hope you are going well. The wrist is still a bit of a pain and I am avoiding a lot of computer work, hence being SO behind on the blog. Argh. Frustrating but never mind, life has its challenges! xxx

  8. Oh my goodness just came across your blog via a link in My Inspired Table and this salad just jumped out at me. Looks incredible!! So healthy, fresh and colourful. Harissa is just about my favourite middle-eastern sauce, made my own for the first time a few weeks ago for a lamb salad.. and pretty sure I still have some left over! And herbs, almonds and feta?! The flavours and textures in here are killing me, so have to try it! X

    • Aw thanks lovely, so nice to hear this kind of feedback! I am obsessed with harissa myself, so good – I put it on everything! Your lamb salad sounds divine. Hope you enjoy the recipe (let me know!) xx

  9. Great idea Laura, I hadn’t thought of adding broccoli into salads. I’ve been into quinoa and couscous for salads a lot now. Quinoa is ridiculously expensive here, so I should remember couscous abit for often… Anyway, your salad looks just like the type of salad I would like and will copy form you soon :)

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