This summer, my A/C window units are failing miserably in their fight against the relentlessly hot weather and the heat produced by my kitchen appliances. Every time I turn on the stove, I sweat up a storm and curse the heat, but I’m not about to give up and go out to eat for every meal. I’ve adapted by seeking out recipes that either don’t require cooking at all, or recipes that require minimal cooking and make great leftovers, like this one. It yields about six cups of salad, which I’ll ration out over the next few days.
Tabbouleh, a classic Middle Eastern dish, is one of my all-time favorite salads. I order it every time I spot it on a menu. I’ve found that some more Americanized versions skimp on flavor by cutting back on the herbs and vegetables, but my recipe is about as flavorful as tabbouleh can be. Packed with summer produce, tabbouleh would be a terrific potluck dish for Independence Day!
Traditional tabbouleh is plenty good for you, but quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) provides more protein, amino acids and minerals than bulgur wheat. Quinoa, unlike bulgur wheat, isn’t actually a grain. According to Power Foods, one of my awesome new cookbooks, quinoa is the seed of a plant related to chard and spinach. Combined with greens, lots of vegetables, and healthy fat, quinoa tabbouleh as nutritious as it is delightful.
I used black quinoa for this salad, but red or a tri-color blend would be delicious as well. I don’t like white quinoa—it’s bland in taste and blah in color. The dark shade of this quinoa contrasts with the brightly colored vegetables and herbs, which produces a striking salad. Feel free to top it with feta cheese!
- 1 cup black or red quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 cucumber, seeded and finely diced
- 1 bunch curly parsley, chopped
- 10 mint leaves, finely chopped
- one small red onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- juice of two lemons
- 1/4 cup olive oil (more to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- splash of white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar (optional, add if you think it needs a little extra kick)
- To make the quinoa, first rinse one cup of quinoa in a mesh colander under running water. That washes away the bitter saponins on the surface.
- Dump the rinsed quinoa into a medium sized pan on the stove. Add two cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Cover and simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes, until the water is absorbed. Once it’s done, remove from heat and fluff the quinoa with a fork.
- Let the quinoa cool, then toss in the rest of your ingredients.
- Add more olive oil, salt or pepper, and/or vinegar to taste.
- If you have time, cover and let the salad chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, to let the flavors blend together.
For more quinoa recipes, check out this post on quinoa for breakfast, and my recipes for cherry, arugula and quinoa salad and roasted tofu with steamed veggies. You might also like my colorful chickpea salad recipe. Enjoy!