A friend visited Shelter Island this summer and brought a Costco-sized bag of quinoa. In the past, I’ve made quinoa in many ways, but using it as a base for tabbouleh is wonderful. I made this recipe a couple of times this summer. It’s pretty good when you first make it, but it’s amazing the next day. The tabbouleh really needs to sit overnight to give the flavors a chance to meld. If you can plan ahead and make this the day before you want to eat it, you’re in for a real treat.
Quinoa is a grain that is considered a complete protein source, which is unusual in plants. It’s also a good source of fiber, magnesium, phosphorous and iron. In addition it’s gluten-free. All in all, it’s a great thing to eat and it absorbs flavors really well, so you can do many things with it. I actually tried to use quinoa (since we have such a big bag of it) as a breakfast cereal this summer. I cooked it in a combination of orange juice and milk, and added cinnamon and nutmeg. I then topped it with blueberries. All I can say is… yuck. That recipe was a flop for me, but I do love this tabbouleh recipe and I also like this recipe and this one as well.
Minty Quinoa Tabbouleh
Recipe from Fine Cooking, October 2005
1-1/2 cups quinoa
1-1/2 cups seeded and finely diced tomato (from about 1 large tomato)
1 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (from about 2 bunches)
1 cup peeled, seeded, finely diced cucumber (from about 3/4 of a large cucumber)
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil; more to taste
6 Tbs. fresh lemon juice; more to taste
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint
Rinse the quinoa well in a bowl of cool water and drain. Bring the quinoa, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 3 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is translucent and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. (The outer germ rings of the grain will remain chewy and white. Some germ rings may separate from the grains and will look like white squiggles.) Immediately fluff the quinoa with a fork and turn out onto a baking sheet to cool.
When cool, fluff the quinoa again and transfer to a large bowl. Add the tomato, parsley, cucumber, scallion, oil, lemon juice, cumin, cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon salt. Toss well. Cover and refrigerate to let the flavors mingle, at least 2 hours or overnight.
Before serving, let sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the mint. Taste and add more oil and lemon juice (you’ll probably need at least 1 tablespoon of each), and more salt as needed.
Yield: 8 cups