We’re gearing up for a heat wave over the weekend here in Southern California. They’re saying we may break some heat records. Hot weather gets me thinking about salad. Not just greens-tomatoes-and-dressing salads, but hearty salads that will stick with you. Healthful pasta or grains, veggies, protein–meal salads. Like this one: Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad.
I’ve only recently started experimenting with quinoa. I feel like I’m a little late to the game. I bet you probably know all about it. I’ll just give you a couple of highlights about what I’ve learned. Quinoa is a seed, not a grain (fooled me). It’s grown high in the Andes Mountains of South America (so it’s not a “local” food). Quinoa is packed with powerful nutrients all across the board, including all eight essential amino acids. There are other plenty of other vitamins and minerals in quinoa, too. You get the picture. It’s a Superfood.
I first used quinoa in a southern-style griddle cake a couple of months ago. I made a Quinoa and Corn Griddle Cake and served it with a Roasted Red Pepper Roumalade. The quinoa gave the griddle cake a delicious nutty flavor that was so delicious and so different. I was so intrigued with the quinoa that I made some a week or so later and ate it plain (well, with a little butter and salt and pepper). Now I’m hooked. Since then I’ve served it with chicken in place of couscous, with golden raisins and sweetened with a little orange juice. Everyone loved it. I served it in place of polenta, all creamy with a little half and half and butter. And I bet it would make a great substitute for grits next time I feel like chowing down on some cheesy grits (note to self: make some Creole Shrimp & Cheesy Quinoa soon!).
In the meanwhile, try this salad. It’s delicious. And really good for you.
Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and cubed (remove seeds, if you desire)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, tough stems removed and rough chopped
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, rough chopped
- ¼ cup red onion, rough chopped
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and rough chopped
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook quinoa according to package directions. Allow the cooked quinoa to cool and fluff with a fork.
Combine the cucumber and tomatoes in a large bowl and set aside.
Combine the parsley, mint, onion, lemon juice and garlic in a food processor. Pulse several times to combine the ingredients. Add the olive oil a little at a time and pulse to combine. Do NOT over-process! You want the herbs to still have texture—a little chunky.
Combine the herb mixture with the veggies in the large bowl. When the quinoa has cooled completely, add it to the bowl and toss gently to combine all the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I like to serve the salad over baby arugula. Enjoy!