You say tabouli, I say tabbouleh. It’s still parsley salad, no matter how you spell it. This vegetarian dish is traditional regional fare from the Middle East, dating back to middle ages origins. Typically, it is made with bulgur wheat, parsley, onions, mint and tomatoes, with a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Different countries and areas make it slightly differently, and it is often served with lettuce leaves as scoops.
To make this more a summer-meal salad, we added artichokes and cucumbers, and by swapping the bulgur wheat for quinoa, the salad becomes gluten-free. Quinoa is a South American grain, with lots of essential amino acids and many consider it to be a complete protein source.
Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin powder
2 cups chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups diced, seeded tomatoes
1 1/2 cups diced, seeds cucumber
1 14-oz. can water-packed artichokes, minced roughly
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
2 Tbl. fresh mint, minced
1 Tbl. fresh oregano, minced
To prepare quinoa, rinse thoroughly. If you don’t rinse it, the quinoa may have a bitter taste. Rinsing removes quinoa’s natural coating, called saponin. Many boxed quinoas are often pre-rinsed, it doesn’t hurt to give the seeds an additional rinse. Add to two cups of boiling water and cover, cooking about 15 minutes over medium heat. Stir occasionally. Allow to sit, covered for an additional 5 to ten minutes after cooking to get fluffy and absorb water completely. You can also use rice cooker with the same wet-dry ratios. Quinoa can be made in advance, too – it’s best added to the tabbouleh cool or at room temperature.
To assemble the salad, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, black pepper, garlic powder, salt and cumin. Toss in chopped parsley, diced tomatoes, diced cucumbers, minced artichokes, chopped scallions, mint and oregano. Finally add the cooked and cooled quinoa, folding gently to combine with dressing and veggies.
Tabbouleh is perfectly tasty eaten right away, but it’s even better after it’s rested for several hours and the flavors have really mixed together. This salad is an ideal dish to serve with hummus and pita, falafel or an olive mezze plate and makes a great summer supper!
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