Whenever I think of Middle Eastern food, I immediately think of amazing olive oil, aromatic spices like sumac and cardamom, tahini, unbelievable breads and salads spread out on tables full of food served family style. One of the most commonly seen dishes on these tables is Tabbouleh. Traditionally made with bulgur wheat, Tabbouleh is a healthy, delicious and easy dish to prepare.
The flavors are amazing, so fresh and alive – it’s one of those dishes that when prepared right, you just can’t get enough of. I started making my Tabbouleh with quinoa a couple of years ago and it is so amazing I haven’t gone back to bulgur wheat. The trick is seasoning the quinoa and then letting it cool so it dries out just a bit and isn’t mushy. The seasoned quinoa readily absorbs the dressing and flavor from the rest of the salad and is 10x better the next day. That alone is a great reason to make this dish.
But there are so many more reasons! It’s incredibly EASY. Quinoa is a complete protein so this is very nutritious. It’s delicious. One cup is only 4 Points Plus. That cup is a really nice serving and makes a wonderful lunch with some Hummus or stuffed into a pita bread. Or serve this Tabbouleh alongside Hummus, Baba Ganoush and Pita Bread. Toss some olives and hot sauce on your plate and you will be in heaven. If you want to get fancy, make this Baked Shrimp with Lemon and Olives on the side (without the couscous).
You don’t have to though. Just make this Tabbouleh and you will happy and have leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. Did I mention delicious?
- Always rinse Quinoa unless it says “Pre-Rinsed”. I usually use a mesh colander but any fine colander or strainer will do. One reader even uses a coffee filter!
- I use grape tomatoes because they are available year-round, sweet and don’t give off a lot of liquid. Plus the texture is nice in the salad. With that being said, I do recommend using local, vine-ripened tomatoes when they are in season.
- Something funky happened with my point and shoot camera (which I use to take my prep photos) and there is a purple-ish cast on the pictures below. I swear my veggies and herbs were green!
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- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 cups water
- 2 medium cucumbers seeded and cubed
- 1 pound grape tomatoes halved
- 8 scallions white removed, thinly sliced
- 1 cup mint leaves chopped
- 2 cups flat leaf parsley leaves chopped
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 to 2 lemons juiced (depending on size)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Halve cucumbers and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Cut into strips and proceed to cut into a small dice.
- I usually halve the grape tomatoes but if they are on the larger side, cut them in thirds.
- Trim ends of scallions and thinly slice.
- Remove parsley and mint leaves from stems. Measure 1 cup mint leaves and 2 cups of parsley leaves and chop. I chop them together to save time.
- Finally, rinse quinoa and measure spices for quinoa and spices for salad.
- Heat a saucepan over medium high heat. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil. When hot, add quinoa, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin and a pinch crushed red pepper flakes. Toast for 2 minutes.
- Add water and bring to a boil. Cover, lower light to medium and cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
- In a large glass bowl, combine quinoa with vegetables, herbs, spices, lemon juice and olive oil. Toss to combine, cover and refrigerate.
- The longer this sits the better it is so if you can make it a day ahead of when you plan on serving it or at least a couple of hours. Excellent with hummus and pita bread or over lettuce. Enjoy!