I love tabbouleh. I had to look up how to spell it; apparently it can be tabouli, tabouleh, and a few more variations. Makes sense since the salad itself has several variations. Traditionally it is made from bulgur wheat, parsley, onion, tomatoes, lemon juice and olive oil. But bulgur wheat (which is made by taking grains of wheat, steaming or partially boiling them and then drying and cracking them up ) has gluten in it. Bad for me as gluten gives me a tummy ache so I avoid it whenever I can. But what’s a girl to do when she still craves the lemony fresh green taste of a good tabbouleh?
Quinoa to the rescue! Quinoa (keen-wa) is a pseudo-cereal meaning it’s not really a grain since it doesn’t come from a grass-type plant. Instead it is more closely related to beets or spinach, so it doesn’t contain gluten. I buy quinoa from the bulk bins at my local health food store which saves a couple dollars per pound over the grocery store packages, but either way you will probably still need to rinse it before you cook it. Quinoa has a naturally bitter coating, so I just put the quinoa in a wire mesh strainer and rinse it for a few minutes in cold water before draining it and then cooking it. Sometimes you can find pre-rinsed quinoa so you can skip that step. Either way, quinoa is cooked like rice. 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water plus a little salt and butter, bring to a simmer, stir, cover and cook on low for about 30 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Cool, fluff and serve.
This tabbouleh recipe makes enough for a side dish for a family of four. It can easily be doubled or tripled to make more for a crowd. It keeps for a couple of days in the refrigerator so you can make extra and take the leftovers for lunch.
- ½ cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked as directed below
- 4-6 large sprigs of fresh mint
- ⅓ cup chopped sweet onion such as Vidalia
- 1 bunch Italian flat-leaf parsley
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes halved
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice plus some of the zest as desired
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Rinse quinoa in mesh strainer until the water runs clear, drain.
- Bring 1 cup of water and quinoa to boil in small pot along with pinch of sea salt and 1 tsp butter or oil if desired.
- Stir quinoa, cover and reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until water is absorbed.
- While quinoa is cooking, remove the mint leaves and parsley leaves from the stems discarding stems, and chop them.
- Halve or quarter the tomatoes.
- Toss parsley, mint, chopped sweet onion, and tomatoes together in a bowl.
- Mix together the olive oil, fresh lemon juice and zest, sea salt and pepper and drizzle over the vegetable mixture.
- Toss well to coat the dressing over everything, then taste and adjust for salt and pepper if needed.
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