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This healthy Mediterranean-inspired salad is loaded with fonio, cucumber, and juicy tomatoes! The dressing is zesty, garlicky, and packed with lots of fresh herbs like parsley, mint, and green onions! Delicious served chilled, this fonio tabbouleh makes a great appetizer or side dish. Plus, it’s meal prep friendly!

Fonio tabbouleh with fresh herbs on a plate.

📘 What Is Fonio

Fonio is a small grain mainly produced in West African countries. It is a type of millet with a nutty and earthy flavor. It has a super light and fluffy texture.

This ancient grain looks a lot like couscous but is naturally gluten-free, high in fiber, and packed with nutrients. Just like quinoa, it is considered a superfood.

Ingredients like fonio, cucumber, tomato, parsley, mint, lemon, and garlic.

🥣 How to Make It

This recipe is inspired by Mediterranean tabbouleh but with a twist! Instead of using couscous or bulgur, we will be using fonio!

Here is what you will need to make this delicious fonio tabbouleh:

  • Fonio – Obviously the star of this recipe! I recommend using the white kind, not the whole fonio that is darker in color. Tips for cooking fonio below!
  • Tomato – Fresh and ripe is best. Remove the core and juice before cutting it into small cubes.
  • Cucumber – For crunchiness. You can peel it or leave the skin on to add color.
  • Fresh herbs – Parsley, mint, and green onions. Do not omit any of these, as fresh herbs bring a ton of flavor to this tabbouleh.
  • Olive oil – Preferably a high-quality olive oil.
  • Lemon juice – To add a lot of freshness and a zesty flavor!
  • Maple syrup – Adding maple syrup helps balance the earthiness of the fonio.
  • Garlic, salt, and black pepper

Where to Buy Fonio

This ancient grain is not only gluten-free, but also loaded with antioxidants. It is versatile and has a texture similar to couscous.

Fonio is a saucepan.

How to Cook Fonio

What I love about fonio is how easy and quick it is to prepare! It takes less than 10 minutes to cook, and there is very little active time required. Here is how to cook fonio on the stovetop:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. You want to use a ratio of about 2 cups of water per cup of fonio.
  2. Add the dry fonio and cook covered for 3 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Fluff with a fork and let cool for a few more minutes. That’s it!

Making the Tabbouleh

Once the fonio has cooled down to room temperature, stir in the diced tomatoes, cucumber, and chopped herbs, and toss with olive oil and lime juice!

Fonio has an earthy flavor, but it mellows down once chilled as it soaks up the dressing.

Fonio, cucumber, tomatoes, and fresh herbs in a bowl.

How to Serve Fonio Tabbouleh?

You can serve it as a main meal, with your plant-based protein of choice on the side, or simply as an appetizer! It’s also delicious served in wraps!


Which type of fonio should I use?

I recommend using white fonio for this recipe. The whole fonio will work as well, but the flavor will be more earthy.

Where to buy fonio?

Fonio can be found in almost every African store or online.

How long does this fonio tabbouleh keep?

It will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Give it a good stir if you see some water has separated.

Close up of fonio tabbouleh.

This delightful salad is healthy, fresh, zesty, and so quick to make! Whether you are new to fonio or not, you are going to love this vibrant salad!

⭐️ Did you like this recipe? Let us know in the comments below, and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Fonio tabbouleh with fresh herbs on a plate.
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Fonio Tabbouleh

Fonio Tabbouleh

5 from 2 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
This vibrant, zesty, healthy plant-based salad is loaded with fonio, cucumber, and tomatoes! Tossed with a bright lemon dressing with tons of parsley, mint, and green onions!
Prep Time : 10 minutes
Cook Time : 20 minutes
Total Time : 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 333 kcal


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup dry fonio
  • 1 small tomato diced
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 small white onion diced
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt adjust to taste
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper


  • Add the water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, add the fonio, cover with a lid, and cook for 3 minutes over low-medium heat. Turn off the heat and let it sit covered for 5-7 minutes or until fonio is tender. Fluff with a fork.
  • Transfer the cooked fonio to a large mixing bowl and let it cool for 20 minutes. In the meantime, dice the tomato, cucumber, and white onion and finely chop the herbs. Add to the fonio.
  • For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, tomato paste, minced garlic, salt, and ground black pepper. Pour over the fonio and stir well to combine everything.
  • Serve at room temperature, or chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. This fonio salad will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.


Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 333 kcal | Carbohydrates: 41.7 g | Protein: 6.2 g | Fat: 16.4 g | Fiber: 5.5 g | Sugar: 5.6 g
Course : Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine : Mediterranean
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

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5 stars
It looks delicious, but fonio isn’t available on Amazon and they’re not able to predict when it will be. Instead, I’ll make it with regular millet, which I already have. I’ll keep in mind to check on the fonio at another time.

#1 Bulgar is traditional, wonderful, and almost irreplaceable. I rather a #2 Millet, I let the Millet sit in the mix, allowing it to soften and suck in that lemon juice … 🙂

Hands Down, what a Mastery of elements. Kudos and Thank You

I had no idea what to do with the fonio that I had in my pantry. I stumbled upon this recipe and am so glad that I did. I’m a mess in the kitchen but this recipe is fool-proof. I followed the steps and it turned out great😃

5 stars
Amazing. A new salad for my family. Thank you!