My A/C window units are utterly failing this summer to keep up with the heat produced by my kitchen equipment and the oppressively humid weather. I sweat profusely and bemoan the heat every time I turn on the stove, but I’m not about to give up and eat every meal at a restaurant. I’ve adapted by looking for dishes, like this one, that either don’t require any cooking at all or only require very little preparation and are fantastic leftovers. I’ll ration out the about six cups of salad over the next few days.
A traditional Middle Eastern meal called tabbouleh is one of my all-time favorite salads. Every time I see it listed on a menu, I order it. Some more Americanized versions, in my experience, sacrifice flavor by using fewer herbs and veggies, whereas this recipe is about as tasty as tabbouleh can be. Tabbouleh, a dish full of summer fruit, would be fantastic for a Fourth of July potluck!
However, quinoa, which is pronounced keen-wah, offers more protein, amino acids, and minerals than bulgur wheat and is still a very healthy alternative to traditional tabbouleh. In contrast to bulgur wheat, quinoa is not a true grain. Quinoa is the seed of a plant related to chard and spinach, according to Power Foods, one of my fantastic new cookbooks. Quinoa tabbouleh is both nutrient-dense and delicious when combined with greens, a ton of vegetables, and healthy fat.
For this salad, I chose black quinoa, but red or a mixture of three colors would also be excellent. White quinoa is not my favorite because it has an unappealing flavor and color. This salad is remarkable because of how the dark-colored quinoa contrasts with the colorful vegetables and herbs. Feel free to sprinkle some feta cheese on top!
Also read: Raw Kale, Apple & Avocado Salad
- 1 cup black or red quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 cucumber, seeded and finely diced
- 1 bunch curly parsley, chopped
- 10 mint leaves, finely chopped
- one small red onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- juice of two lemons
- ¼ cup olive oil (more to taste)
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- splash of white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar (optional, add if you think it needs a little extra kick)
- To make the quinoa, first rinse one cup of quinoa in a mesh colander under running water. That washes away the bitter saponins on the surface.
- Dump the rinsed quinoa into a medium sized pan on the stove. Add two cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Cover and simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes, until the water is absorbed. Once it’s done, remove from heat and fluff the quinoa with a fork.
- Let the quinoa cool, then toss in the rest of your ingredients.
- Add more olive oil, salt or pepper, and/or vinegar to taste.
- If you have time, cover and let the salad chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, to let the flavors blend together.
- Inspired by several tabbouleh and quinoa salad recipes.
- Yields about 6 cups of salad.
- Fun fact: this recipe is featured in Bon Appetit’s 10 Best Quinoa Recipes from Around the Web slideshow!