Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Earthy Quinoa "Tabbouleh"

I love whole grain salads that incorporate a mixture of cooked and raw vegetables, fresh herbs, nuts, and tangy notes of citrus.  And with such delicious flavors and textures mingling in your mouth, who needs meat or cheese to have a satisfying meal.  My Turkish-inspired Earthy Quinoa Tabbouleh highlights the grain over the parsley.  Unlike the more traditional Lebanese Tabbouleh, which is quite heavy on the parsley, the Turkish version is grain heavy and loaded with vegetables.  My version incorporates some unusual crunchy and flavorful additions, such as kohlrabi, radish, and squash.  It's amazingly tasty!

I start off by rinsing 1/2 cup of quinoa in cool water and letting it drain well.  Then I slice up 1 beautiful yellow sunburst squash into 12 uniform wedges, like so.

I bring 1 cup of water with 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a boil, stir in the quinoa and squash slices, and cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  After that, I check to make sure the all the water has been absorbed, turn off the heat, and let the quinoa come to room temperature.  In the meantime, I assemble the rest of my ingredients, which include 1 medium kohlrabi, 1 thin, dark green Anaheim pepper, 1 large or two medium radishes, 1 pickling cucumber (or you can substitute 1 Persian cucumber if you prefer), 1-2 fresh shallots (they resemble purple scallions and can be difficult to find, so feel free to substitute regular scallions instead), and 1/2 cup of shelled raw walnuts.

First I toast the walnuts in a heated, dry frying pan for about 5 minutes.  Then I peel the kohlrabi, and using a sharp knife, I cut it into match-like "julienne" sticks, like this.  There are tools that will do this as well, but I love to slice and dice -- I find it very relaxing!  

Next I cut the cucumber in half, lengthwise, and slice it (skin on) into thin semi-circles. I similarly cut the radish lengthwise into quarters, and slice it into thin quarter-circles, and I slice the pepper into very thin ringlets, removing any seeds.  I also slice and dice the fresh shallot, including most of the green part, and I coarsely chop the toasted walnuts.

I sprinkle a bit of salt on the vegetables to enhance their flavor, and then, in a large bowl, I combine the cooked quinoa and squash with all the chopped vegetables and the toasted walnuts.  I toss everything together gently, and then I add about 3 tablespoons of really good extra virgin olive, the juice of 1/2 a lemon, and about a tablespoon of fresh lemon zest.  Then I mix in a handful of well-chopped Italian flat leaf parsley, and season the dish with Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and red pepper (optional).

A healthy serving of Earthy Quinoa Tabbouleh for lunch totally hits the spot, but it also makes a great dinner side dish, and you can easily double or triple the recipe for a larger group.  Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. This looks very filling. Walnuts are good addition :) gotta try it soon..