Monday, December 20, 2010

Quinoa Tabbouleh

It was another...interesting week, recipe-wise. I'm still learning how to balance substitutions and flavors, as well as consistency. Let's just say, I was a little nervous about having a recipe for this week. But there was an eleventh hour reprieve. Inspired by The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook by Jackie Newgent, RD, I whipped up some of her Fresh Herb Quinoa Tabbouleh. I couldn't believe I had most of the ingredients on hand.

Tabbouleh is one of those dishes that I have a love/hate relationship with. I love couscous and tomatoes, and if those are the predominate flavors, I'm normally down for some. But too many times I've been burned by the overwhelming flavor of another ingredient (normally raw onion). So when I saw her list of ingredients (which is much longer than the tabbouleh I have made before), I knew it would be all about getting the balance right, especially with the quinoa taking place for couscous. Because of this, I'm going to leave the ingredient list pretty loose when it comes to measuring because you know what you like. If you like raw onion, kick it up a notch. If you prefer tomato, you can lean heavy on it. Being a cold grain salad, it's nicely flexible for personal taste. Here's what I used though, for a starting point.


2 cups cooked quinoa*
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice from half a lemon (around 2 tbsp)
2 large handfuls of grape tomatoes, diced (you could substitute other types of tomato easily)
1/4 of an English (hothouse) cucumber, peeled and diced fine (around 1/4 c)
2 tbsp minced purple onion
2 large springs of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
A handful of fresh mint, chopped
Garlic salt to taste (about 1 tsp)
Pepper to taste (about 1/4 tsp)

1. Chill the tabbouleh after cooking (see note) or at least bring it to room temperature.

2. Whisk oil and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Then stir in vegetables and herbs. Add the cooled quinoa and mix it all together. Finish off with garlic salt and pepper (and any other seasoning you like).

3. Enjoy! Drain off any excess liquid when serving (especially leftovers).

*Note: I use this technique for cooking quinoa. One cup uncooked will give you about 2 cooked. I did soak my uncooked quinoa for 30 minutes this time, as the last time I made it, it was still bitter. Some producers rinse and/or soak it before packaging. I would still at least give it a rinse before cooking.

As a random note, while I do miss eating like a normal person at times, I'm definitely seeing improvement in my overall well-being. I'm not saying this diet is for everyone, but I imagine a lot of people could benefit from reducing sugars and refined grains in their diet, as well as eating more vegetables (especially those leafy greens - ugh). Just a thought as ya'll get ready for the New Year.

Happy Holidays!

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