Sunday, January 13, 2013

Quinoa Tabouleh- Call It Fusion!

The Lebanese introduced us to tabouleh, their parsley and bulgur salad filled with tomato, cucumber, onion and mint in a lemony dressing.  It's a healthy, tasty salad.

Replace the bulgur with quinoa and you have yourself the same tasty salad, but with a high protein grain and, I think, a lighter texture.  Quinoa is super easy to cook and easily absorbs the flavour of the dressing.  This recipe is by no means authentic, but it hits the flavour highs- let's call it fusion.

The quantities listed below are approximate.  Just add slowly, taste and adjust as you go.  And, don't be afraid to substitute or to add more or less of the vegetable quantities given.  For example: mint is often unavailable in the winter, so I tend to just omit it.

To serve four generously.

5     cups cooked quinoa (about 23/4 cup uncooked), cooled
1     bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/3  cup fresh mint, finely chopped
1     tomato, seeded and finely chopped
5     green onions, finely chopped
3     stalks celery, finely chopped
1/2  cup cucumber, finely chopped
2     tbsp lemon zest
juice from one lemon, plus a little more if needed
3     tbsp white wine vinegar
1/3  cup grapeseed oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium size bowl, toss all the ingredients together.  Taste the dressing and adjust - is there enough lemon juice, salt, pepper?  When serving, garnish with a sprig of mint and/or a thin slice of lemon.

The salad will keep for about three days, well covered, in the refrigerator.

You could add any number of other ingredients to your salad: crumbled feta cheese, finely chopped kale or spinach in addition to the parsley, toasted nuts (pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, walnuts), dried fruit, apples or pears.  With these additions, I wouldn't call it tabouleh anymore, but it's still amazingly good!  and healthy!

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