I don’t have much of a story to tell about tabbouleh because I’ve only eaten it once before – about 10 years ago. Nothing about the tabbouleh was memorable (not in a good way at least). It was a bowl of bland minced parsley and mint with a trace of bulgur. Blech.
I really had no intention to make tabbouleh today but I was thumbing through a copy of The Skinny Taste Cookbook that I borrowed from my local library. The recipe that stood out was Quinoa Tabbouleh. I don’t love quinoa and obviously don’t love tabbouleh but this dish drew me in. It screamed fresh with all of the vibrant vegetables and herbs and the lemon juice brightened up the dish, enhancing the overall flavor. It doesn’t get any fresher or easier than this (especially since I had all of the ingredients on hand). Quinoa Tabbouleh reminds of me of Spring and makes me hopeful that warmer temperatures will soon arrive.
Quinoa Tabbouleh (adapted from Quinoa Tabbouleh in The Skinny Taste Cookbook, copyright 2014 Gina Homolka).
Quinoa Tabbouleh is a vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dish. Enjoy it as a stand alone meal (which I did for lunch today) or as a side dish with a meat or fish main course. Feel free to improvise by adding more or less of each ingredient. The measurements below are a guideline and suited my palate.
Serves 4 people; Prep time – 15 minutes; Cook time – 15 minutes
For the Quinoa:
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 cup water
- Kosher salt, to taste (I used a scant 1/2 teaspoon)
For the rest of the Tabbouleh:
- 3/4 cup English cucumber, chop into small dice
- 3/4 cup fresh tomatoes, chop into small dice
- 3 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced crosswise
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Crumbled feta cheese (optional)
Preparing the Quinoa:
- Rinse and drain quinoa.
- Cook quinoa with 1 cup of water and healthy pinch of kosher salt according to package instructions.
- Transfer cooked quinoa to a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool thoroughly. (In the meantime you can prep the vegetables and herbs.)
Preparing the Tabbouleh:
- Once the quinoa has cooled, add cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, scallions, parsley, mint, olive oil and lemon juice.
- Gently combine all of the ingredients together and season with salt and additional lemon juice, as needed. Cover and let sit at room temperature for least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours, allowing the flavors to marry. Otherwise, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!
- For added flavor, top with crumbled feta just before serving. (Note: if you add cheese, it’s no longer a vegan dish.)