Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
I love summer! I really, truly love it! The sunny days inspire me to utilize all the delicious, fresh, crisp organic produce I find at the local farmer's market and my salads have never tasted better.
On my last trip I picked up some fresh mint, parsley, tomatoes and although I wasn't sure what I was going to make at the time, I decided to make a tabbouleh salad. I was sure that I had bulgur, but unfortunately when going to find it, I found that I was mistaken and actually didn't have any. I hate it when that happens! Anyways, rather than loading my little monsters into the car, I opted to make a quinoa tabbouleh salad. I was a little hesitant to use quinoa since my last attempt using quinoa produced a very foul side dish. Come to think of it, "foul" is being too nice, it was disgusting. I now know that you must rinse the quinoa before cooking it. What a difference!
I doctored the tabbouleh up by adding a little feta, some scallions and made the dressing light by using only a little bit of oil. The salad turned out delicious and I didn't miss the oil one bit.
Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
1 cup quinoa
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1 1/2 T. olive oil
3 T. chicken broth
1 clove garlic
1 t. dijon mustard
3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (1 bunch)
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (1 bunch)
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (1 bunch)
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/3 cup feta cheese
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Soak the quinoa for 15 min. Soaking helps quinoa to cook evenly, and loosens up the outer coating of saponin, which can give a bitter taste if not removed. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!
To rinse, stir the quinoa and carefully pour off the rinsing water, using a fine mesh strainer. Transfer to the cooking pot, add 1 1/2 cups water & 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil, cover with a tight fitting lid, and turn the heat down to simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove quinoa from heat and allow to sit five minutes with the lid on. Fluff quinoa gently with a fork and set aside until the quinoa reaches room temperature.
Meanwhile, make the dressing by adding the lemon juice, olive oil, chicken broth, garlic and dijon in a bowl and mix well. Pour into the quinoa salad and add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, feta, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper; mix well. Season, to taste, and serve or cover and refrigerate. The flavor will improve if the quinoa sits for a few hours.