Quinoa Tabouli Recipe
Since I am going gluten free this month, I’ve been working on using different types of grains instead of my usual suspects – bulgur and barley. Quinoa is an awesome alternative, especially for vegetarians since it is so high in protein! Last night I was craving Mediterranean food, so I decided to make tabouli – yum. Rather than use bulgur, which is the standard grain used for tabouli, I substituted quinoa and it turned out delicious! Recipe – just for you…
Ingredients: (makes about 4 cups)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1 English cucumber, diced
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives, diced
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
To Prepare: Start by rinsing the quinoa. This is a VERY important step, as it removes the bitterness from the outer shells (we will talk about this more in an upcoming “Great Grains” post!).
I use a small fine mesh basket strainer that I’ve had forever. If you’re into quinoa, you need to get one of these. Probably runs about $10, and I promise it is worth the investment. Also very handy for rinsing canned beans!
Start by sautéing the 3 cloves of minced garlic until browning in a tiny bit of olive oil. Then add quinoa and stir well over medium heat for about 1 minute.
Add 2 cups of water, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes – or until all moisture is absorbed.
While the quinoa cooks, you can prep your vegetables!
I found these beaaaaaaaaautiful heirloom tomatoes at Trader Joe’s, so I decided to substitute a handful of these for one large tomato.
If you use a regular cucumber, cut it into quarters and remove the seeds before dicing. English cucumbers are much less seedy, so they can be cut as is…
I used my handy tomato knife to slice up the big tomato, and then diced from there. This tomato was just okay – I can’t wait for summer when tomatoes are finally ripe and delicious again!
Add all the veggies to a mixing bowl – so colorful and fun!
Now I know olives aren’t a classic tabouli ingredient, but I thought they would compliment the flavor well (and they are still very much Mediterranean).
Dice up the olives and add them to the mix…
Now that veg prep is done, you can make your dressing. Just a simple mixture of lemon juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil whisked together in a small bowl.
By the time all that prep work is done, your quinoa should be ready! Uncover and fluff to see if all the moisture has cooked out.
The best way to tell when quinoa is cooked is to look for the little “tails” sprouting out of the grains. Can you see them?
Add quinoa to the bowl of veggies…
And then top with the lemon juice dressing…
Stir to create a beautiful and colorful grain salad – YUM! I went ahead and put this in the refrigerator to cool, but it is honestly good cold or warm. I love versatile grains that can be eaten either way.
In classic tabouli, parsley is also a major component, but I didn’t have any and wasn’t feeling motivated to run to the store for one herb. I really didn’t think it was needed though, or would have many any difference – this salad was PACKED with flavor!
In recipe posts, I always like to show our full plates so that you can get ideas for how to pair foods together. That has been one of the areas I have worked on the most in school – learning how to pair complimenting flavors and side dishes. We ate our tabouli with a protein side of simple sautéed tofu.
And we roasted the rest of the veggies that were leftover from Thursday night’s dinner party. I am SO excited to finally be eating fresh vegetables again!
Going gluten free has forced me to think outside of the box a bit, which has been a challenge that I have enjoyed. Classic tabouli is delicious, but this quinoa tabouli with olives is a little bit more creative and exciting, and food should always been exciting!