Sunday, November 4, 2012

Quinoa Tabbouleh

So, I suppose this is a little unorthodox when it comes to tabbouleh since it should be bulgur-based instead of quinoa. And probably not include the basil...

But while quinoa isn't traditionally part of tabbouleh, it's still a good choice when it comes to grains (though not really a true grain). Quinoa has a low carbohydrate content and contains a good proportion of unsaturated fats as compared to other grains- and it also has a good protein content. On top of being a protein source, it happens to be complete protein containing all eight essential amino acids. 

Tabbouleh is a very fresh and colorful sort of Middle Eastern salad with many textures, and a great accompaniment to roasted or grilled vegetables or meats.

The proportion of parsley, especially, makes it taste very fresh and green along with the lemony brightness. Fresh flavors parter well with things that are savory, charred and roasty.

The nice thing is that one doesn't have to be extremely exact when it comes to this recipe- it can easily be adapted "to taste"depending on what you might like. More mint or no mint, a little extra lemon, perhaps a tad more chili...

(With the heavy-handed dose of minced parsley in the salad, the chances of having parsley stuck in your teeth are greatly increased. The one really great thing is that if everyone has parsley in their teeth, it doesn't matter.)

Quinoa Tabbouleh
serves 8 or more

1 c (165 g) uncooked quinoa, rinsed well and drained
2 1/2 c (575 ml) vegetable or chicken broth
1 large bunch parsley (this should give you a generous 1 1/2 c or more than 300 ml minced parsley)
1 large handful basil
1 small handful mint leaves (or to taste)
6-8 green onions
1 scant lb. (500 g) cherry tomatoes (halved), or other tomatoes roughly cut into 1-2 cm pieces
1/2 green bell pepper cut into thin strips
1/2 red bell pepper cut into thin strips
6 T (90 ml) extra virgin olive oil
6 T (90 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 t (15 g) fresh chili paste (or maybe 1 minced jalapeno pepper)
kosher or sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place quinoa and vegetable broth in a medium pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook 15 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and spread the hot quinoa on a pan to cool completely.
While the quinoa cools, assemble other ingredients.
Mince the parsley and mint, chiffonade the basil and set all aside. Thinly slice the green onions and set aside. Have the cherry tomatoes and bell peppers prepared and ready. 
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and chili paste. Add salt and black pepper to taste (for salt I start with 1 t or 5-7 g depending on the type of salt). 
In a large bowl, carefully fold together the cooled quinoa, parsley, basil, mint, green onions, cherry tomatoes, and peppers until combined. Pour the lemony vinaigrette over the salad and carefully fold again until the salad is thoroughly blended. Taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary. Serve at room temperature. 


  1. I love how your blog encourages patrons to try new foods.
    Quinoa is so foreign to many Americans, but can be found readily in the stores here now.

  2. This looks fabulous. Thanks for thinking outside the box!