Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Recipe for Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with Parsley and Mint (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with Parsley and Mint
Gluten-Free Tabbouleh with Quinoa replacing the wheat!

As soon as I discovered that I really do like quinoa, I started seeing interesting-looking quinoa recipes everywhere. I spotted this recipe for a quinoa-based variation of the Middle Eastern salad called tabbouleh (tuh-boo-lee), and since I love the simple Tabbouleh with Almonds that I make every summer when my garden has mint and parsley, I knew I'd enjoy this recipe. Authentic tabbouleh has more parsley and mint than grain, so this is more of a tabbouleh-like salad, but it was definitely very tasty. Normally I'm not a fan of tomatoes in tabbouleh, but they worked well in this recipe, and I was excited that I could use mint and parsley from the garden, even though the weather in Utah is still raining and I had to dash outside between cloudbursts to pick the herbs!

Most types of quinoa have to be rinsed, but check the package to see if yours is the no-rinse type. I rinsed with cold water until no more foam appeared, then let it drain in this fine colander.

Bring water to a boil, then add quinoa, turn heat to a low simmer and cook 12-15 minutes, or until the water absorbed. Then cover the quinoa and let it sit 5 minutes. (Check your quinoa package for cooking directions because I've seen different instructions on the two brands of quinoa I've used. You can also cook quinoa in a rice cooker if you prefer.)

I diced up the cherry tomatoes whole the quinoa was cooking, and let them drain in the same colander I used for the quinoa. You may not need to drain the tomatoes, but mine were pretty juicy.

After the quinoa sits covered for 5 minutes, put it into the bowl you're using for the salad and let it cool for 20-30 minutes, stirring a few times.

While the quinoa cools, chop the cucumbers in pieces about 1/2 inch and finely chop the parsley. (I like curly parsley in a salad like this, but you can use either type.)

Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, ground cumin, pinch of cinnamon, and salt.

When the quinoa is cooled to room temperature, stir in the cucumber, drained tomatoes, and parsley, then add just enough dressing to moisten the salad. Cover the salad, refrigerate, and let flavors blend for 30 minutes or as long as a few hours if you're making this ahead.

Remove salad from fridge and let it come to room temperature while you finely chop the mint.

Stir in finely chopped mint. Taste salad, then add the reserved dressing to taste (you may not need all the dressing.) Season with more salt if desired and serve.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with Parsley and Mint
(Makes 4-6 servings, recipe adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine.)

3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
pinch of salt for quinoa cooking water
1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes (let them drain in a colander if the tomatoes are juicy)
1/2 cup chopped parsley (I used curly parsley, but either kind will work)
1/2 cup chopped cucumber, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (peel the cucumber if it has a thick skin, or peel in strips like I did, and scrape out seeds if they are large)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (use an olive oil with good flavor)
3 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
pinch ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 - 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint

Put quinoa into a fine-mesh strainer and rinse well with cold water until no more foam appears. (You can use a paper towel inside a regular strainer if you don't have one that's fine enough. Check the package to see if your quinoa needs to be rinsed.)

Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add pinch of salt, stir in quinoa, reduce heat to the barest simmer and cook 12-15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Cover the quinoa and let it sit for 5 minutes more. (Check quinoa package for cooking directions because the two different brands I've used had different directions, You can also cook quinoa in a rice cooker if you prefer.)

While quinoa cooks, chop cherry tomatoes into small pieces. If the tomatoes are very juicy, let them drain in the same colander you used for the quinoa.

After it sits for 5 minutes, put the cooked quinoa into the bowl you're using for the salad and let it cool to room temperature for 20-30 minutes. While quinoa cools, peel the cucumbers, scrape out seeds if they are large, then chop cucumbers into 1/2 inch pieces. (Unless your cucumbers have a very thick skin, it looks nice to peel them in strips like I did so there's some green showing.) Wash the parsley, spin dry or dry with paper towels, then finely chop until you have 1/2 cup chopped parsley. Whisk together the olive oil, fresh lemon juice, ground cumin, pinch of cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp. salt to make the dressing.

When quinoa is cooled to room temperature, stir in the cucumber, drained tomatoes, and parsley, then add just enough dressing to moisten the salad, about 4-5 T of the prepared dressing (you will use some of the reserved dressing later.) Cover the salad, refrigerate, and let flavors blend for 30 minutes or as long as a few hours if you're making this ahead.

When you're ready to serve the salad, remove from refrigerator and let it come to room temperature while you wash mint, spin dry or dry with paper towels, and finely chop to make 1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped mint. (I love mint, but it's a strong flavor so if you're not sure how much you like it, I'd use the smaller amount.) Stir in chopped mint, then taste the salad and add more of the reserved dressing until the flavor tastes fresh (you may not need all the dressing.) Season with a little more salt if desired, and serve.

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South Beach Suggestions:
Quinoa is high in protein and relatively low-glycemic, but it's limited to phase 2 or 3 for the South Beach Diet. (I was confused about this for a long time, since quinoa is a seed rather than a grain, but the latest book, The South Beach Diet Supercharged, clearly lists quinoa as phase 2.)

More Versions of Tabbouleh To Try:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Kalyn's Tabbouleh with Almonds from Kalyn's Kitchen
Tabouleh from Andrea Meyers
Authentic Lebanese Tabbouleh from Nutrition Unplugged
Quinoa Tabbouleh from The Kitchn
Making Tabbouleh from Desert Candy
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)counter customizable free hit
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  1. It always happens to me also! I start seeing recipes for stuff that I'm planning to try :)

    I've tried this just with bulgur and I'm a huge tabbouleh fan. Quinoa onlys ups it for me in terms of nutrition. Thanks!

  2. There are so great ways to enjoy quinoa. I love your use of it here. Great twist on the traditional tabbouleh.

  3. This looks like a perfect summer side dish or a light lunch!

  4. Haven't tried it with quinoa, but sounds really good!

  5. This looks healthy and delicious. I have been reading about quinoa and wonderful to see this lovely salad. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I'm so glad you like quinoa. I love it as a salad. Parsley and mint and lemon juice- fabulous. And it's gluten-free. Beautiful photo, Kalyn. So inviting. Let me go grab a fork.

  7. Tabbouleh is one of my favorite summertime salads, but I have never thought of making it with quinoa. Great idea! I love the photo - it makes me want to dig right in.

  8. Try it with a smidge of preserved lemon if you don't like tomatoes. It really punches up the flavor nicely.

    I usually go heavy on the herbs and light on the grains.

  9. A&N, hope you will try it with the quinoa, it was really good.

    Maria, Pam, Silva, MaryMoh, thanks, I liked it a lot.

    Karina and Dara, I was glad the photo turned out, wasn't sure when I was shooting the photos!

    Stash, love the idea of using preserved lemon in Tabbouleh!

  10. Mmmmmmmm, lovely. I am enjoying quinoa again. Hadn't enjoyed it for a while, but now the summer is tiptoeing in, it is coming out to play. I sat down to a salad of quinoa, black beluga lentils, kidney beans, tomatoes, avocado, coriander and a lime and mustard dressing tonight. It was tasty and very satisfying. I am going to try your salad too, it does sound like just what I want :)

  11. I've been loving quinoa! This looks great, thanks!

  12. This is absolutely my type of dish! I've been using the rice cooker method for quinoa, and because it's so easy to make, I've been eating more quinoa. And I just noticed the mint in my garden, so I'm all set to try this.

  13. how gorgeously refreshing this is. love the use of quinoa here. i've been using it a lot to make salads too.

  14. I love this recipe, I just bought quinoa for the first time yesterday, and need to get the rest of the ingredients for this dish. Can't wait!

  15. This is very interesting. Your pictures look amazing!

  16. Found this recipe through Tastespotting...I love quinoa, and tabbouleh(though I haven't had it in years). This will definitely be on the summer menu, thanks!

  17. Yum, everything in this salad is perfect, love the addition of cinnamon too.

  18. What an interesting salad! I've never had tabbouleh salad with either mint or cinnamon before. This looks delicious!

  19. Yum- what a great combination Kalyn! I love the serving bowl in the first picture too, SO pretty.

  20. hey i was not sure about the quinoa with tabbouleh. but after reading and seeing the colorful photos would like to try this recipe
    thanx for the idea you gave me for the week end.

  21. So glad that people are liking the sound of this. It's great for a gluten-free option for Tabbouleh, or if you want to up the protein, and mostly it was just good!

    That bowl is a new acquisition and I'm really liking it too! Thanks for the nice comments about the photos; when I was taking them I worried it wasn't light enough but I was pretty pleased with how they came out.

  22. I love making tabbouleh with quinoa, Kalyn. I've taken it to potlucks before and folks who have never tasted quinoa loved it, too. We've even enjoyed it as a healthy addition to tacos before. :-) It is very true that once you decide you like an ingredient, you start noticing recipes for it everywhere. ;-) Anyway, your quinoa tabbouleh looks totally delicious. Makes me wish I had some for lunch!


  23. That is one beautiful tabbouleh salad Kalyn. Gorgeous!

  24. Genius!! Why not use quinoa (one of my faves)?? So glad you shared this recipe I will be sure to try it out!

  25. MMMMM,..what a tasty & superb looking summer dish!!

    I so love every flavour that you have used, dear Kalyn!!

    MMMMMMM,...georgous presented too!

  26. So glad people are liking this! I was really happy with how it turned out. (I do have to say that the brillinant idea to use Quinoa in Tabbouleh was from Fine Cooking though, as credited before the recipe. Not sure I would have thought of that, but it was a winner.)

  27. such a delicious and healthy looking quinoa salad! i make a similar quinoa salad and add raisins and slivered almonds to it. i like the crunch of the almonds and the sweetness of raisins against the lime/vinegar dressing. keep the quinoa recipes coming, i am loving it.

  28. A lovely, fresh and original recipe. Can't wait to make this.

  29. I love quinoa also, but my husband announced he hates it after a few months of eating it. I'll try this recipe on him

  30. Quinoa would great in a tabouleh salad! It has the perfect texture for it.

  31. I used this recipe with regular old bulgur wheat (I couldn't find quinoa in my local supermarket) and it was still absolutely delicious! The cumin and cinnamon really give it a nice flavor. Definitely saving it for future use! Thank you for sharing!!

  32. How fun to see your recipe. I made Quinoa Tabbouleh for the first time a couple days ago. I didn't have enough parsley in the garden so I used fresh basil instead. I also used lime juice instead of lemon. It turned out great. I am looking forward to doing it again with a couple of the ingredients you used that I did not. It's a fun easy way to use quinoa.

  33. I agree, this is a great way to dress up quinoa!

  34. How does this hold up in the fridge overnight for a lunch the next day?

    Looks great, looking forward to trying it.

  35. Emily it's been so long since I made it that I truthfully can't remember but I'd guess it would last okay for one day and not too much longer.


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