Tabbouleh Salad made with Quinoa
A very healthy low calorie gluten-free salad for a light lunch or an alternative side dish that easily compliments salmon, roast chicken or steak.
WHAT IS QUINOA?
Quinoa is a considered an ancient grain that was cultivated in the Andean region of South America for more than several thousand years. It has become popular in modern day food applications for a number of reasons. It is gluten free with low calories, considerable health benefits and a nutty like neutral flavor that you can add to or create salads and side dishes. There are over 100 varieties of quinoa in different colors of white, yellow, red and black. Quinoa are coated with saponins which act as a natural pesticide. Generally the outer coating is cleaned when it is processed. However, it is highly recommended to wash quinoa before cooking due to the bitter taste of the natural chemical. Quinoa cultivation has increased globally. This is partially due to high demand. Even more importantly, quinoa has become a popular food source that contributes to a healthy diet.
What we love most about quinoa is the versatility as a side dish. It is a very adaptable ingredient that works with different flavors and textures. You could serve quinoa with eggs, fruits, vegetables or as a replacement for rice or potatoes.
The salad in this recipe is inspired by the Middle Eastern tabbouleh salad. Instead, gluten free quinoa is used in place of the typical bulgur wheat.
In this salad, I used a mixture of organic red, white and black quinoa. The combination has a very earthy flavor. Primarily I used it because I have a lot of it. I do prefer the taste of yellow quinoa which has a very mild flavor and slightly softer texture. Quinoa has an earthy flavor with an almost silky texture due to the starch that it produces when cooking.
Using a sieve, wash the quinoa till the water runs clear. It is similar to washing rice. Combine quinoa in a small saucepan that has a lid with 1-1/2 cups cold filtered water. Bring the quinoa to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cover with lid. Steam for 16 minutes. Remove from the stovetop. Leave the lid on for 5 minutes. It is cooked when the spiral germ is visible. If you feel that the grain is still hard after the prescribed cooking time, add a tablespoon of water and cook for two more minutes. Allowing it to sit longer ( 20 minutes) with the lid still on after removing from heat will dry it out a little more.
Fluff with a fork and cool. You can refrigerate and use later. Shelf life is about 5 days.
*Tasting Notes: Anticipate 1 cup of uncooked quinoa will make 4 cups of cooked quinoa.
BUILDING THE TABBOULEH SALAD
Combine the quinoa with tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, onions, mint, parsley, lemon juice, vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. You can substitute red wine vinegar for tarragon. I had roasted garlic and garlic oil made with extra virgin olive oil so I used that.
Fold ingredients together then season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
Refrigerate any unused portion.
Thank you for reading our gluten free Tabbouleh Salad and we hope you enjoy!
WHY SHOULD YOU INCORPORATE QUINOA INTO YOUR DIET?
Quinoa is high in protein containing all the essential amino acids. It provides fiber and contains numerous minerals including folate and vitamin B1. It also contains the flavonoid antioxidant which is great for assisting your body by reducing inflammation. I’m not going to say it is a weight loss product. However, I can eat a small bowl of this salad and I am completely full. Also, you control the sugar and sodium content. There are further added benefits with the herbs, lemon juice, vegetables and olive oil. As a whole grain carbohydrate it quinoa aides in reducing blood sugar levels and cardiovascular diseases. In my opinion you cannot go wrong with quinoa salads as part of your dietary plan. See more in this article 2019 article from U.S. News and World Report.
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