I am often asked about how to use Quinoa. I like to prepare it with dried fruits and nuts, with roasted vegetables and especially in salads like this tabouli. Quinoa is a great source of complete protein and is gluten-free, cholesterol-free and low in fat. It is also a great source of iron, calcium, and magnesium among other things. It is a super food for vegetarians and omnivores! It is a seed, not a grain, and only has about 220 calories per whole cup!
Okay, here is a refreshing and potentially simple salad. I know some want fewer items to add and this salad is great with a lemon and olive oil dressing and just some parsley, tomato, cucumber! Quinoa does not have a lot of flavor on its own but it great when flavorful ingredients like these are added.
I also have a list of optional ingredients you can add. I like to use a few of these optional items but it is your choice! I love adding onion, mint, green onions and garlic. I have tried all of the optional ingredients and I prefer to use at least a few of them!
|Here I used Tri colored Quinoa on a lettuce leaf|
I hope you will consider trying this simple salad, it is really good! I did not get any comments on my tabouli salad here but there are rave reviews when I serve it!
Recipe By Denise Birdsall
Prep time: about an hour
1 cup quinoa ( Use tri colored, white or any kind you prefer)
2 cups water
¼- 1/3 cup Fresh Lemon Juice ( About 2 small lemons worth)
1/3- 1/2 cup Olive Oil (use quality one with a nice flavor!)
Salt to taste, tiny pinch of sugar if desired
2/3-3/4 Cup Chopped Parsley, curly or flat*
2-3 Plum Tomatoes, Chopped
1 -2 Cucumber, Peeled, Seeded And Diced**
Optional add-ins --
2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/3-½ cup Red Onion, minced
1-2 Cloves Garlic, pressed
1 tsp Lemon Pepper
½ tsp Garlic powder
½ tsp Greek seasoning ( Mint etc)
2TBSP Chopped Fresh Mint, -- Or 2 tsp Dried mint
1/3-½ cup Sliced Green Onions
1/3 cup bell pepper, minced
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
Start by rinsing quinoa. I buy pre rinsed but still make sure to rinse well to remove the bitter residue that is a naturally occurring pest and mildew deterrent.
I use the finest mesh sieve and place it in a bowl to soak and rinse. Some quinoa may fall through, but the bowl will catch it. Rinse several times and then you are ready to cook.
Next it is time to cook the quinoa. Here are three ways you can cook quinoa for any recipe.
Method 1- My favorite is to use a rice cooker and cook as you would rice. The rice cooker works wonderfully with little effort or guessing when it is done, making nice fluffy “grains.”
Method 2-Another way is to cook it according to package instructions in a good sized pot with a tight lid. I bring salted water to a boil, stir in quinoa, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Some varieties may take up to 20 minutes. This is my second choice for how to cook it.
May I share one more way to cook quinoa? I saw this on a Rachel Ray cooking show years ago but I am not sure which one. It takes a bit more work but comes out as nice as it does in the rice cooker and is my preferred method without rice cooker.
Method 3- Rinse quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve then pour it into a large pot of boiling, salted water and cook until almost tender, about 12 minutes; drain in the sieve. In the same pot, bring enough water to reach about 2 inch to a simmer over medium heat. Set the sieve with quinoa in the pot. Cover with a kitchen towel, then the lid, and steam until tender, about 10 minutes.
Whatever method you use: DO NOT OVERCOOK Quinoa! Check it just before it is supposed to be done and only use the amount of water specified. If there is any water left after quinoa is cooked, try draining it with a sieve. You want it dry and fluffy for this recipe.
Mix fresh (NOT bottled) lemon juice and olive oil in a bowl and add cooked quinoa. Let it sit for 20 minutes and then fluff and add everything else. Blend well and adjust seasonings as desired. Let stand, covered, for about 15 minutes.
*While I usually prefer flat leaf or Italian parsley, for Quinoa Tabouli, I like to use the curly variety, because it adds a nice texture with the quinoa. Use fresh, crunchy parsley, as it is a star of this recipe.
** To seed cucumbers, cut into quarters lengthwise and then slice off the seed sections…very easy!