Friday, July 10, 2009

A Twist on Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh is a Lebanese salad more traditionally made with bulgur (cracked wheat), some herbs, lemon and veggies. Its delicious as side dish, or even as a dip with pita, and it comes together in a flash. While I really enjoy the standard variety, I will just as often choose to make tabbouleh with quinoa.

Quinoa is often mistaken for a grain, because it looks and behaves like a grain, but the darling little kernels are actually the seeds of a native Peruvian plant called chenopodium quinoa. Quinoa comes in a variety of colors, ranging from light brown to black and is widely recognized as a "superfood" due to its high protein content. Quinoa is a high in fiber, packed with nutrients and is a complete protein. It can be used in place of any grain and its absolutely delicious!

In this recipe, I've used some petite red quinoa, because that's what I had on hand, but feel free to use whichever color you like. The red quinoa has a mild, almost fruity flavor, which pairs well with the olive oil based dressing.

Quinoa Tabbouleh:
  • 1/2 cup of quinoa, rinsed well and drained
  • 2 tbsp. good quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 large lemon
  • 3/4 tsp. of Kosher salt
  • generous grating of fresh black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 cup of tightly packed fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/2 cup of tightly packed fresh mint, minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped (or, alternately, you could use 1/2 pint of grape tomatoes, quartered)
Cook the rinsed quinoa according to package directions, drain well and reserve.

Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cumin together in the bottom of a large bowl until combined. Add the drained quinoa to the dressing and toss to coat. Add the parsley, mint and tomatoes and stir well to combine. Taste and adjust for seasoning, adding more lemon, salt or pepper as needed. Serve immediately or chill, covered, in the fridge until use, if desired.

As written, this recipe will serve 4 to 6 as a side dish, and the amounts listed are approximate and entirely flexible. I don't really measure the herbs or the tomatoes, I just keep adding until it looks good to me. Feel free to play around with the combination and create a Divalicious mix of your own, adding more tomatoes, parsley or cumin, etc. Some minced fresh lemon zest would make a wonderful addition and you could certainly choose to add all manner of fresh veggies to the salad if you like. Have fun with it!

Tabbouleh purists will note the distinct lack of cucumber here ... it is the one vegetable I cannot abide. If desired, please go right ahead and add some cukes to your version ... just don't invite me to dinner if you do. ~wink~

Bon appetit!


stephchows said...

you = ROCK STAR!!!! I NEED TO TRY THIS!!! love it love it love!!!!

Heavenly Housewife said...

I really love tabouleh. Its one of my favorites.

The Duo Dishes said...

What about persian cucumbers? You can eat the skin! :) Oh well, it's your version, so you can dress him up or down as you please. Sounds really delicious.

Anonymous said...

I love quinoa! I cook it in my rice cooker for perfect results every time - yum!

Donna-FFW said...

What an absolutely gorgeous, colorful, healthy salad!!

zerrin said...

Tabbouleh is just like our 'kisir' in Turkey. We love it a lot here. Thanks for explaining what quinoa is. I saw it in many blogs but as we don't have quinoa here, I've no idea how it tastes. We use bulgur for our 'kisir'. And I add chopped lettuce leaves, scallion besides fresh mint and parsley. Seeing your post and the picture of tabbouleh, I've just decided to make it now for our coming lunch! Would you join us?

Marta said...

Delicious! Quinoa tabbouleh make perfect sense, why hadn't I seen it before?! you're a genius :)
I love the red quinoa, it just looks like jewels!

Deb said...

I really like using quinoa - thanks for suggesting it for use in tabbouleh - good substitution!

As a side note - have you made the summer veg soup from Ellie Kreiger - made some today for the first time in a long time - a great got to weekday lucnh addition! It does have corn but that is not a trigger food for me so even though it's not beachy I use it!

Hope all is well with you

Anonymous said...

Very interesting dish, sounds tasty. :) Whatchoo got against cucumbers??

Tangled Noodle said...

That does it! No more excuses - I'm picking up quinoa tomorrow. Everywhere I turn, there are so many recipes but this one beats them all! And thank you for clarifying that quinoa is a seed; I've always referred to it as a grain. Now I know better!

Anonymous said...

Lovely looking dish, I needed a Lebanese recipe for my Fizz blog, so I linked you... LOL