Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
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RECIPE: QUINOA TABBOULEH SALAD
Quinoa Tabbouleh is a different version of the famous Classic Middle Eastern Salad. Bulgur wheat is replaced by protein rich quinoa which adds a lovely nutty kind of flavour to the salad. A healthy, filling, gluten free, vegan salad that is perfect served with pita bread or enjoyed on its own as a light meal.
What is Tabbouleh?
Also known as Tabouli, it a famous Levantine Salad made with basic ingredients like bulgur, tomato, spring onion and loads of parsley. Some add mint for extra freshness. Many also add chopped cucumber. The dressing is refreshingly simple..virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
My Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
I’ve replaced the bulgur with cooked quinoa, making this salad protein rich and filling. I love enjoying this salad on its own as a light lunch option or even taking it for a picnic. In fact, 2021 summer time called for a trip to the nearby park. After having been cooped up in the house for most part of 2020 due to Covid, taking every opportunity that Summer Time in Montreal offers, to enjoy the outdoors.
Packed some salad, a cool drink and pita chips. Enjoyed the healthy picnic with hubby, amidst the squeals of kids enjoying the water fountains and swings. Squirrels, darting from tree to tree and the cool breeze. Colourful flowers inviting us to admire them. Now that is bliss.
Did you know you can enjoy this salad when you observe Ekadashi Fasting?
As no grains are allowed during Ekadashi, quinoa is a good option that is not full of carbs. Don’t add onion and garlic as both not allowed during fasting. Add cucumber if you like.
The traditional salad takes on several ‘avatars’ depending on what families and friends love. Addition of just one or two different ingredients makes the salad taste different. Go ahead and try it with your favourite add ons.
- I’ve sometimes replaced pine nuts with pistachios.
- This time round I had to add some chopped kalamata olives.
- Add chopped bell pepper and cucumber if you like. I avoided cucumber as I didn’t want the salad to go all watery by the time we were ready to enjoy it as picnic food.
- Some use curly parsley and some flat. The choice is yours. However, this salad calls for loads of parsley.
- Add fresh mint. Or add some fresh coriander. I once tried with fresh dill and found that two strong flavours i.e. from parsley and dill don’t really work well for me.
- These days you will find some pomegranate arils added to the salad.
- Take it to a whole new level by adding crumbled feta cheese.
What is Quinoa?
Pronounced as “keen- wah’, I love it. Quinoa is the new superfood. It is not a grain but a seed. Rich in protein, it is ideal for those who follow a complete vegetarian diet. In fact, it is called a pseudo grain as it easily replaces other grains like rice, wheat, millet, etc in a recipe. You may find quinoa that is white, red and black or a mixture too. Personally, I like the mixed one as it tends to have a more nutty texture. However, I use whichever is available. Go on try out this mineral and vitamin rich superfood. It is so easy to cook quinoa.
Some Quinoa Dishes You May Want To Check Out
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I’m a huge fan of quinoa. However, the idea of making quinoa tabbouleh may not have come about if hubby dear had not bought flat parsley instead of coriander from the shop. I’m so glad he did as since the first time I made it, it is a hit always.
First Published on 30/04/2018. Updated on 20/08/2021
Memories – A Huge Bunch Of Flat Parsley
During our first visit to Montreal, one day got really busy in the Kitchen as we had invited my nephew and his family over for dinner. He requested that I make some Gujarati Food. Hubby volunteered to go and do some shopping. While I had other ingredients at hand, forget to buy fresh coriander. So asked to buy that for me.
The supermarket is barely a 5 minute walk from my son’s apartment. I was eagerly waiting for fresh coriander or cilantro as it is called in this part of the world. He returns with a huge smile on his face and says ” Mayuri today the dhania are so fresh .” I take out the green leafy bunch from the shopping bag and it the cousin —flat parsley! Umm parsley and Indian food..not exactly the best partners. So put the huge bunch away for later use. And yes hubby goes back to buy cilantro!
Next day, thought of making something with the huge green bunch and first thing that comes to mind is tabbouleh or parsley butter. Tabbouleh sounded better. Decided to use quinoa instead of bulgur.
- Tabbouleh is a good way to enjoy raw parsley which has anti fungal and anti bacterial properties.
- It also improves digestion as it is a good source of dietary fibres. Also the oils from parsley help to increase bile production, helping in absorption of nutrients by the digestive tract.
- Having anti bacterial and anti fungal properties, helps to minimize gall bladder and kidney infections.
- Helps to relieve joint pains and inflammation. Enjoy parsley tea.
- Parsley is a good source of calcium. So go ahead and include it in your diet for good healthy bones.
Ingredients Required For Quinoa Tabbouleh
- Quinoa – white, red, black or mixed. Any of your choice.
- Water – to cook the quinoa. Usually to cook quinoa without it becoming mushy follow the 1:2 ratio. I part of quinoa and 2 parts water or stock.
- Salt – to add to the quinoa and the salad. Use any of choice – Himalayan Pink Salt, sea salt, normal salt.
- Olive Oil – use the best quality. Need for the dressing and to add some to the cook the quinoa.
- Parsley – fresh parsley, flat or curly. The choice is yours. Chop it up finely. Don’t use the hardy stalks. Save them to add to a stock or soup.
- Mint – fresh mint finely chopped. Optional.
- Olives – another optional ingredient. Chop them finely. I love adding olives.
- Tomato – remove the pulp and seeds. This prevents the salad from turning watery. I usually save the pulp and seeds and add it to curries, dals or soup.
- Spring Onion – use both the green and white part. If you don’t get spring onion, then use any onion of your choice. Chop finely.
- Nuts – adding nuts is optional. I like to add either pine nuts or pistachios, lightly roasted.
- Lemon Juice – fresh is best for that refreshing taste.
- Lemon Zest – added flavour for the dressing.
- Garlic – 1 clove, peeled and minced is enough.
- Pepper – for the dressing.
CHECK OUT THE VIDEO AND HOW TO CHOP PARSLEY FINELY
QUINOA TABBOULEH SALAD
FOR THE QUINOA:
- ½ cup quinoa
- 1 cup water
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
FOR THE TABBOULEH SALAD:
- 1 cup flat parsley finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh mint chopped
- ½ cup spring onion finely chopped
- ¼ cup olives finely chopped
- ½ cup tomatoes remove the seeds,finely chopped
- ¼ cup pine nuts lighly roasted
FOR THE DRESSING:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 - 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp pepper powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp crushed garlic
- ½ tsp grated lemon rind or zest
PREPARATION OF QUINOA:
- Put the quinoa in a sieve and wash it under a running tap, rubbing the quinoa gently in your palm.
- Allow the quinoa to soak for 10-15 minutes in the measured amount of water.
- Add the quinoa and water in a pan over medium heat.
- Add salt and olive oil.
- Cover the pan and lower the heat. Cook the quinoa for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes take the pan off the heat and leave the quinoa in the pan for 5 minutes with the cover on.
- Remove the quinoa and fluff it up gently using a fork.
PREPARATION OF THE DRESSING:
- Mix all the ingredients and whisk it well.
PREPARATION OF QUINOA TABBOULEH:
- Add the herbs, tomato, spring onion, olives and nuts to the quinoa. Add the dressing and mix well.
- Serve immediately or cover with a cling film and let it cool in the fridge before serving.
- Add finely chopped cucumber if you like.
- Add some chopped bell pepper if you wish.
- For a slightly chilli version, add a bit of green chilli paste to the dressing.
- Use a small jar to mix the dressing really well. Just cover the jar with the lid and give it a good shake.
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