The taste of summer at its best
What does summer taste like? For me it is the crisp, clean crunch of cucumber, the blast of flavor from a ripe cherry tomato. Add the exotic flavor of mint that hides behind the other ingredients until the time is right for it to jump out and catch your taste buds by surprise. This Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad is the taste of summer at its best!
While traditional tabbouleh is made with bulgur wheat, I prefer this version made with quinoa for two reasons. Firstly, quinoa is a gluten free alternative to bulgar and secondly, quinoa is so versatile, I always have it in my pantry. While this salad is my new favorite way to eat quinoa, I still make quinoa bowls topped with Dean’s Sesame Tahini Dressing and Feta and Spinach Quinoa Patties.
A summer salad that is beyond good – a salad that jumps right to “extraordinary” has to have three basic elements:
- Uses fresh ingredients (hopefully straight from your garden) to the maximum effect
- Bright and light, not heavy and mayo-laden
- Makes enough to serve as a meal or side-dish for a crowd.
This Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad meets my definition of extraordinary. Give it a try and let me know what you think. This recipe has been adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten in her cookbook, Make it Ahead.
- 1 cup quinoa
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice 1 large lemon
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 cup thinly sliced green onions white and green parts (about 5)
- 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved through the stem (about 2 cups)
- 2 cups diced English hothouse cucumber unpeeled
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
In a 1 ½ quart saucepan, combine quinoa with 2 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa continue to absorb the remaining liquid for an additional 10 minutes.
Combine lemon juice and olive oil to form a dressing.
Toss the warm quinoa with the dressing and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, combine mint, onions, parsley, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
Add the quinoa and toss.
Season to taste.
Note: English cucumbers are sold wrapped in a protective in plastic wrapping. I prefer them for this recipe because of their tender skin and relatively few seeds. If you substitute a regular cucumber, peel and seed before chopping.