Monday, January 7, 2013

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Sometimes it feels like I'm the only person who truly gets excited about tabbouleh. "Did you see they have tabbouleh!" I'll exclaim to a friend as we dig into the menu at a Mediterranean restaurant. "Oh....nice," responds friend with feigned enthusiasm. Tabbouleh is never the star of a meal — it gets outshined by hummus, baba ghanouj and falafel among other Middle Eastern delicacies. But what I love about tabbouleh, and what many people overlook in my opinion, is that its both refreshing and satiating. The chopped tomatoes, cucumber and parsley give it a satisfying crunch while the wheat bulgur provides a hearty balance. Since the recipe for tabbouleh is more or less the same across the board, the key to a making a great tabbouleh is having high quality ingredients to begin with (it may seem like a no brainer, but I've seen many get it wrong with a mealy tomato or soggy cucumber). I decided to do my own twist on the dish by substituting quinoa for wheat bulgur which provides some extra nuttiness and texture.

Quinoa Tabbouleh 
Serves 6

1 cup dried quinoa

1 English cucumber
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 bunch parsley
1 garlic clove
1/3 cup olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring the quinoa, a few pinches of salt and 1 1/2 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until quinoa has absorbed all of the water and is tender (about 15 minutes). Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
2. Chop tomatoes and cucumber slices into quarters. Combine with chopped parsley and quinoa in a large bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together lemon juice, olive oil and garlic.
4. Toss lemon dressing with chopped quinoa salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste

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