I was inspired to make this recipe after having a red quinoa studded panzanella salad at a friend’s house a couple weeks ago. I loved the way the crunch of the red quinoa paired with the flavors of the tomatoes and cucumbers in the panzanella and thought I could apply the same taste and texture profiles to a lower calorie tabbouleh. In traditional Labanese cuisine, tabbouleh is more typically served as a condiment rather than a stand-alone dish. I love it so much that I often like to make a much chunkier version that incorporates many of the same flavors as traditional tabbouleh, but eats more like a salad. I added texture and protein to this recipe by
substituting the bulgur wheat normally found in tabbouleh with red quinoa. Quinoa, unlike most other grains, contains a full set of essential amino acids, making it an unusually complete protein source for those of us who try not to eat too much meat.
This salad can be served on its own (lowest calorie option), or in a whole-wheat pita pocket with a slather of hummus and a sprinkle of crumbled feta… so yummy!
RED QUINOA TABBOULEH SALAD
1 cup red quinoa
1 bunch parsley, stems removed
1 large clove garlic
juice of 1-2 lemons
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 pounds heirloom tomatoes, seeds removed, medium dice
2 pounds cucumbers, seeds removed, medium dice
1 bunch scallions, chopped
whole wheat pita bread
Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve for several minutes (this removes bitterness). Place the quinoa and 2 cups of water in a small saucepan. Simmer, covered on medium low until all the water is absorbed. Approx. 20 minutes.
In a food processor chop the parsley and garlic until very fine.
In a small bowl mix together the juice of one lemon, salt, black pepper, mustard, and olive oil.
In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, quinoa, parsley, garlic, and lemon juice mixture. Season with additional salt and lemon juice to taste.
Serve as is (lowest calorie option) or in a whole wheat pita with hummus and crumbled feta.