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.
- 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)
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~