Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Quinoa Tabbouleh

 Quinoa Tabbouleh can be made elegant with careful vegetable cuts and nice plating!

Tabbouleh is one of my favorite things to have hanging around for quick meals and snacks.  It is also really popular with many of my clients so I find myself making it a lot.  Tabbouleh is a Middle-eastern grain salad that is super simple.  It has chopped cucumber, tomato, onion, fresh parsley, sometimes mint, lots of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and olive oil.  Traditionally  tabbouleh is made with bulgur, which is toasted cracked wheat, a really delicious, nutty ingredient for grain salads.  Another grain that works great for tabbouleh is quinoa, a gluten-free, high protein heirloom grain.

Tabbouleh is fantastic served with traditional fresh pita, but sometimes I like to make baked pita chips or, for my clients who don't eat gluten, I make chips in the oven from sprouted grain tortillas.  Tabbouleh makes a great side dish, lunch entree, snack, or can be a nice appetizer when served with pita, olives, and hummus.

Here is my latest version of quinoa tabbouleh!

Quinoa Tabbouleh

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups diced cucumber
1 1/2 cups diced tomato
1 bunch parsley, washed and chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped mint (opt.)
1/2 cup diced onion
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2-3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the quinoa in a mesh strainer, drain, and transfer to a pot.  Cook over medium heat 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until quinoa is dry, fragrant, and just beginning to toast.  Immediately add 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.  Bring to a boil on high, then reduce heat to low, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed.  When quinoa is cooked, remove lid and let cool to about room temperature.

While quinoa cooks, chop your veggies.

In a large mixing bowl, combine cucumber, tomato, parsley, mint, and onion.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together garlic, olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper.  

When quinoa is cool, transfer to the bowl of veggies.  Toss together and dress it using all of the dressing.

Serve room temperature or cool.

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