Quinoa Tabouli Salad

Serves 6 in ~ hour

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Are you craving tabouli salad, but avoiding it because it is made with wheat? This version substitutes quinoa, the ancient Incan “grain” for gluten-containing bulgur wheat and the result is fantastic. Quinoa is actually a seed that contains all 10 essential amino acids and is gluten-free. Be sure to rinse it well to remove the bitter coating from the quinoa. While it can be cooked like rice, this method, which includes a quick toasting, produces a fluffy texture and nutty flavor that is a delicious compliment to the finely chopped herbs, scallions, and tomatoes with lemony-olive oil dressing.

  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (1-2 lemons)
  • ½ cup (1 bunch) green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cups curly parsley, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh mint, marjoram, tarragon or dill, minced
  • ½ cup Castelvetrano or Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup of grape (cherry) tomatoes, finely chopped and drained of juice
  • ½ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1+ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Gather and prep all the ingredients. To make perfect quinoa, rinse it well in a mesh strainer and spread it out to dry on paper-towel lined baking pan. In a few minutes, pour the semi-dried grain into to a skillet over medium high heat, and dry-toast it for 5 minutes, stirring frequently until it just begins to pop and smell like popcorn. Remove from heat.

Bring the water to boil in a 3-quart saucepan and add the quinoa. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the water has evaporated. Remove it from the heat, fluff with a fork and cover for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and allow it to cool slightly.

While the quinoa is cooking, dry toast the pine nuts until golden brown in medium hot skillet, stirring regularly so they don’t burn! Chop the scallions, herbs, olives and tomatoes. (Be sure to drain the juice from the tomatoes so the salad doesn’t get soggy). Add the veggies to a large bowl. Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and cayenne and pour over the veggies. Using a fork, stir in the cooked quinoa and pine nuts and mix well. Adjust the seasonings and enjoy!

Note: This salad can be twisted in different directions: go South of the Border with avocado, cilantro and peppers, or take it into the fall, substituting cranberries for tomatoes and adding thyme and toasted pecans.


Sally LaMont, ND, LAc