Quinoa is truly a super food – have you tried it? It acts like a grain, but it’s really a protein that is inexpensive, shelf-stable, quick cooking and so versatile. Tonight, I used it to make a version of tabbouleh, the traditional middle-eastern salad made with herbs, tomatoes, lemons and bulgar wheat. Have you tried tabbouleh? If not, here’s some information about the traditional variety.
This dish was great warm and (if there had been any leftovers!), I’m sure we would have enjoyed it as a cold side too. Try pairing it with grilled fish, chicken, lamb chops, or grilled portabella mushrooms for a great vegetarian option. You can vary the herbs based on what you have available – I made it with a lot of parsley and also some mint, basil, and lemon verbena, because it was what I happened to have in the garden. It takes more herbs than you think – it should really be a 1:1 ratio of the chopped herbs and all the other ingredients. Be creative and have fun adding different flavors – cilantro would add a nice twist too!
2 cups red quinoa
4 cups reduced sodium chicken or veggie broth
2 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
1 bay leaf
Zest and juice of 3 lemons
¼ cup good quality olive oil
½ cup chopped scallions
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in quarters
2 cups finely chopped mixed herbs
Salt and pepper to taste
This dish could not be simpler.
- First, rinse the raw quinoa well in a sieve and add to a medium saucepan with the bay leaf, salt, broth and several cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes. Drain the quinoa into a metal sieve, rinse out the pan and put about 1 inch of water back into it.
- Add some salt to the water, and bring back to a low boil with the quinoa in the sieve, placed on top (but not touching the water). Cover this with a damp towel and simmer for another 10 minutes.
- While this is simmering, zest and juice the lemons and whisk with the olive oil and salt and pepper.
- Chop the herbs, scallions, and tomatoes and add to the dressing. Set aside.
- Once the quinoa is done, remove the bay leaf, and set the sieve over a bowl or the sink to cool a bit and drain.
- Once cooked a bit, toss with the herbs, dressing, scallions and tomatoes. You may serve this dish slightly warm or chilled. Enjoy!