Quinoa Tabbouleh

Quinoa is a grain that I have been enjoying exploring. It has a unique flavor, cooks very fast, and is high in nutritional value. Just listen to this quote form WHFoods.com

“A recently rediscovered ancient “grain” native to South America, quinoa was once called “the gold of the Incas,” who recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. Not only is quinoa’s amino acid profile well balanced, making it a good choice for vegans concerned about adequate protein intake, but quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorous, this “grain” may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.”

One of my favorite ways to make this grain is making quinoa tabbouleh. I have always liked tabbouleh, traditionally made with wheat. But I have to say that this is one time when the “traditional” way to prepare something has been beat by a new way of doing things.

Traditionally tabbouleh is more of a garnish with very high amounts of parsley, but I like to serve it as a side dish, so this contains a little less parsley than a traditional tabbouleh would. I am reacting to tomatoes right now, so you won’t see them in the recipe below, but would be wonderful in this dish (and is usually used), so feel free to add it. You can make tabbouleh as simple or complex as you want. I have had tabbouleh with just green onions and parsley added with the dressing, which was still great. But you could also add in roasted chicken to make it more of a main dish.

If you aren’t going to soak your quinoa, cook with 4 cups of water. The quinoa will absorb water as it soaks, so you don’t need as much when you cook it. You may have to play around with the amount of water to cooking water to get it right, but 1 1/2 cups per cup of grain has worked really well for me.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

2 cups of quinoa-soak overnight in water with a 1-2 tablespoons of lemon, whey, buttermilk or other acidic element. Rinse in the morning in a fine sieve .
3 cups of water
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped (1 bunch)
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
1 cucumber, deseeded, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

serves 6-8

Cook soaked and rinsed quinoa in the three cups of water by bringing it to a boil in a medium size pot and then turning down the heat and simmering for 10-15 minutes covered. The quinoa should be tender and look “sprouted” and the water should be absorbed. If the quinoa seems to be cooked through and there is still a little water left, you can pour off. Cool quinoa by running cold water over it in a fine sieve and draining well or placing in the refrigerator for several hours.

After the quinoa is cooled, add the chopped vegetables to the quinoa. Mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and pour over quinoa and veggies. Toss together and adjust with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or cold.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. Elizabeth says

    Hi Kim,
    I am exploring with Quinoa too. I have a new recipe for Quinoa Porridge I will post on my blog if you are interested.
    I too have started to cut back on milk products. I use almond milk an soy cheeses.

  2. Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home says

    You know, I make a quinoa tabbouleh very similar to this, but with tomato instead of the red pepper. But the major difference is that I sprout my quinoa, instead of cooking it. It gets soft enough just from the sprouting, and is such a nice, tasty way to get in more raw sprouts. Have you ever tried them that way before?

    Now you’ve made me want to make this again… I tend to make it only in the summer, but it’s spring, so why not!

  3. Jen says

    Another fun use of quinoa…… make the quinoa, soaked and just cooked in water. When it’s finished, mix it with a little tomato sauce or ketchup and taco seasonings – chili powder, cumin, onion, garlic – whatever suits your tastes. And serve as taco filling…….. oh so yummy! I tend to make mine on the spicy end, so I usually reserve out some for my little boys just plain and make their tacos with plain and toppings – they love it!

  4. Sara Howland says

    I make this with red quinoa, and I, like you, soak my quinoa for at least 8 hours, but I DO add tomatoes. Traditionally, tabouleh is also made with fresh mint, but it’s also really good with fresh basil added to it.

  5. Melissa Robinson says

    Yummm. Just made it. It turned out great. Thanks for the idea of using quinoa. I halved the recipe and forgot to 1/2 the amount of salt and pepper and it still turned out great. Hah.

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