Gluten Free Quinoa Tabbouli
Do you miss tabbouli, if you need to avoid wheat? Gluten free Quinoa Tabbouli works remarkably well, and makes a terrific addition to any salad lunch!
Now, the first thing I will tell you is that if you can eat wheat, go right back to the recipe from three years ago, using bulgur wheat, and make that. It is more authentic, the texture is better, it is even faster and easier, all together I prefer that recipe. However, I can no longer eat it. So…
Well, all right, I suppose there could be other reasons to eat quinoa tabbouli. There are places in the US where bulgur wheat (or even cracked wheat) can be hard to find, while quinoa (which used to be impossible to find!) is now trendy and available. Or maybe you’re looking for another recipe for quinoa.. Or… I’m sure there are other valid reasons (not least that it does taste good!) But still – this is a work around.
That said, it’s one I’m pleased with. The texture of quinoa is closer to bulgur than anything else I’ve found, the taste is good, and I was glad to get this staple of my summer lunches back!
My usual “This isn’t authentic anything but Anne’s Kitchen” disclaimer is even more important here – even aside from the choice of grain, this is a very Americanized version of a Middle Eastern salad. The original is really a vegetable dish, with a little grain added, but around here I see it served as a grain dish, with herbs. I suspect that we just are so used to buying parsley and mint in small bunches as seasoning or garnish, not as a vegetable… To make the traditional version, I would need five or six times as much as I got from the CSA! This works for me, though, because I serve it with other vegetable salads as a grain dish, so I continue to make it this way – but I want you to understand that I have adapted it. Now that also means that if you can readily get quarts of fresh parsley and mint, go for it! I have eaten it made properly, and it is a delight!
First, cook your quinoa, with a pinch of salt, and set it aside to cool. I made this the day before I wanted to make the salad and refrigerated it overnight – no problem. (I simply cooked enough quinoa to both eat for dinner and save for this. No extra work!) But hot grain will wilt the greens, so make sure it is at least room temperature before adding them. Mix your grain – warm or cold, as convenient – with the juice of one lemon and two tablespoons of olive oil, then set it aside. (You can do that the night before, too, if that works for you,)
I used one bunch of parsley, and a smaller one of mint – and of course, bunches of herbs vary radically in size. Take the leaves off the stems, which get woody, and chop them finely. All together I had a cup of chopped leaves, roughly two thirds parsley and one third mint (the proportion I generally aim for, though that also is not written in stone.) I consider one cup a minimum – if you have more, by all means use it! (Honestly, I don’t usually even measure – I just toss in all available parsley, and roughly half that much mint.
Mix well. You can then serve at once – I usually like to let it rest a little, for the herbs to begin to flavor the grain, but you don’t have to. If you have tomatoes by all means add them just before serving. (Don’t store them with leftovers, though – everything gets soggy.) Serve at room temperature for the best flavor.
Tabbouli keeps beautifully – one batch usually lasts us a couple of days. It’s perfect in a warm lunch box or sitting out on a hot picnic table! (Why yes, years of carrying a lunch with no access to a fridge, and then eating in parks around the city made me very aware of the keeping qualities of my food!) All together you have a delicious, fast and easy whole grain that makes a pleasant change from crackers or bread with your salad.
Gluten Free Quinoa Tabbouli
- 1 c quinoa cooked and cooled
- pinch salt opt.
- 1 lemon
- 2 T olive oil
- i bunch fresh parsley
- 1 bunch fresh mint
- Juice the lemon, and add the juice and olive oil to the cooked quinoa (with a pinch of salt, if none was used cooking the grain.)
- Strip the leaves and tender young stems from the woody stems of the herbs. Chop the leaves finely. Try to have at least a cup of chopped herbs - more is wonderful! I usually use about one part mint to two parts parsley, but that an vary to your taste (and what you have.)
- Make sure the quinoa is room temperature or colder, as warm grain will wilt the herbs. Mix the chopped parsley and mint with the quinoa, and toss well.