Middle Eastern flavors are a longtime favorite of mine, and Tabbouleh is no exception. Traditionally it is made with bulgar, but because I can never resist upping the nutritional value of a dish, I like to make it with quinoa.
Of all the whole grains to come into fashion, quinoa has the highest protein content, so it’s perfect for vegetarians and vegans. Quinoa provides all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It is also delicious, and hearty enough to stand up to the bold flavors of Tabbouleh.
- 1 cup quinoa (Either soak the quinoa overnight or rinse well before cooking)
- sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tahini (optional, but provides a creaminess to the dressing)
- 4 Persian cucumbers, cut into small cubes
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup minced fresh mint
- 1 carrot, grated (totally optional but I like the added crunch)
Cook quinoa ahead of time and let cool in a large serving bowl. Whisk lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, garlic, tahini, and red wine vinegar in a small bowl until creamy. Add veggies and herbs to bowl with quinoa and drizzle dressing over the mix. Toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
A word on Quinoa
The Quinoa craze has created some very real, unintended consequences. As demand for the beautiful seed has skyrocketed over the past few years, cultures that used to rely on it as a staple of their diet can no longer afford it. Read more here As always, it is important to practice conscious consumerism especially when it comes to our food. Since Quinoa cannot be purchased from a local source, please buy Fair Trade whenever possible.