This is a gluten-free version of the Levantine dish Tabbouleh. I love this salad. I love the mix of mint, parsley and lemon. It’s so fresh and it tastes like it’s doing you good as you eat it.
This is an adaptation of a salad in a vegetarian cookbook I own called Blazing Salads 2. I changed it just a little bit from the original; I add lemon zest to dressing, sprinkle in a little pepper, core the cucumber and skin and deseed the tomatoes. I love this and do make it a lot. Sometimes I use brown rice rather than quinoa – brown rice works great too just remember to add a clove of garlic to the water while it’s boiling.
I was looking through my cookery books, hoping for some inspiration and a recipe that couldn’t fail. As I was leafing through Blazing Salads 2 (Blazing Salads is vegetarian deli here in Dublin) I came across Quinoa Tabbouleh. I love tabbouleh. It tastes so fresh and the blend of olive oil and lemon also give it a gorgeous creaminess that says summer is still here.
Tabbouleh is traditionally made with Bulgar wheat which contains gluten. Quinoa is high in protein and fibre so if you are avoiding gluten quinoa is a good substitute for Bulgar wheat in this recipe.
The recipe in the book uses 250g of quinoa, 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. I used 100g of quinoa – because that was what I had to hand – I also added 1 dessertspoon of extra virgin olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. I tend to like a lot of dressing but you might prefer the quantities in the original recipe. I’m a big fan of lemon so I also added some lemon zest to the juice to really bring out the lemon flavour and then I added some onion (shallot) to balance out any of the bitterness in the zest. I kept the original amounts of tomato, cucumber, mint and parsley. I added a good pinch of salt and a little pepper. I absolutely loved the result and I’m definitely going to be making this again.
I just have to mention how good quinoa is for you – I’m surprised I didn’t in the original post.
- 100g quinoa
- 1 dessertspoon olive oil
- 1/2 lemon, juice and zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tomato, skinned, de-seeded and diced
- 1/4 cucumber, cored and diced
- 1 shallot, diced small or 1 tablespoon mild onion
- salt & pepper
- Rinse the quinoa well in a sieve and then follow the instructions on the packet for cooking it. When it's done, leave to cool. Once cooled, use a fork to make sure that it's not clumping together and has a sort of crumby texture.
- With the quinoa cooled and fluffed up, it's ready to combine with the rest of the ingredients. The salt in the photo is the large flake kind but I grind it with the back of a spoon to make sure it's finely ground before adding to the salad.
- Mix the lemon juice, olive oil and salt together and add to quinoa. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice if necessary. Add in the rest of the ingredients, combine gently and add a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper. It's ready to serve immediately but I like to allow it chill a bit more in the fridge for 30 minutes or so just to make it extra refreshing.