quinoa tabbouleh

quinoa tabbouleh, wonderfully traditional & completely gluten-free

I adore Lebanese tabbouleh.

There is this deep seeded love for it & an unmistakable craving.

Of course, tabbouleh traditionally has bulgur-wheat in it which means it’s been taken off of the menu for me. Not that I care really as it would seem that no one out here knows how to actually make it the way I know it to be.

Any time Mel & I would order tabbouleh in the past, we were brought this huge bowl of bulgur-wheat that was maybe sprinkled with a few pieces of parsley & god only knows what other imaginative ingredient the chef had decided to add.

Wrong.

Just, wrong.

Lebanese Tabbouleh is all about the herbs. Lots & lots of fresh parsley, a little bit of mint, tomatoes & lemon. Done right, you should be able to spoon heaping tablespoons of the stuff into a crispy leaf of lettuce, wrap it up & eat it just like that. This thing they serve here & call tabbouleh is just a pathetic & lazy version of what the dish is really supposed to be (in my opinion). I for one, just wont stand for it.

The solution to that? Make my own. Of course, I’ve gone & substituted the bulgur for quinoa. Not a bad substitution actually, it gives a nice subtle flavor.

On a different note, I think I once saw a food show on the travel channel where the host was trying to tell me (yes, the TV speaks to me) that in Lebanon (where the salad originated), the women were asked to make tabbouleh for the mother of their potential groom. How fine a woman was able to chop the parsley was supposed to reflect on what type of wife she would make. (I have not done any research to verify this, don’t take my word for it.)

If this is true, I’d make a terrible wife. I had big ol’ chunks of leaves all over the place. Not that I care, I’d practically eaten half of the stuff before Mel even came home.

Seriously, it’s that good.

Ingredients:
– 450g tomatoes
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 30g quinoa
– 50g spring onions
– 450g parsley (becomes 200 once stems are removed)
– 2g mint leaves
– 1/4 tsp white pepper
– 1/4 tsp cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp allspice
– 2 tbs lemon juice
– 125ml olive oil
– 1 tbs sesame seeds
– romaine lettuce leaves  & lemon wedges for decoration

Directions:
1. finely dice the tomatoes with a sharp knife, transfer them into a strainer & sprinkle them with the salt. Let them sit for 20 minutes. Discard any excess liquid after the allotted time & transfer the tomatoes into a large bowl.
2. cook your quinoa according to the instructions on the packet. Once cooked, allow to cook & then add to the bowl with the tomatoes.
3. finely chop the spring onion, parsley & mint. Make it as thin as you can possibly get it. Once chopped, add to the bowl with the quinoa & tomatoes.
4. add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl (except the lettuce) & give it a good & thorough mix.
5. choose the bowl you wish to serve it in. Line the bowl with the lettuce leaves & then spoon the tabbouleh on top. Add your lemon wedges to the side.

Tips:
**** sprinkling tomatoes with salt will help to draw out any excess liquid in them.

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4 thoughts on “quinoa tabbouleh

    • Thank you for such a lovely compliment, Wendy. It’s especially nice to hear sine I’ve been feeling a bit uninspired by my work lately. I would be happy to have another member to the bad-wife club however, as like you, I have no knife skills in shaving herbs. Still, Mel’s belly is full & he isn’t complaining so I just wont let him in on the little secret that there’s someone else out there doing it better. :)

  1. This looks like a fantastic recipe, and I’ll definitely try it—but just a quick note about different kinds of taboulé: before you jump down anyone’s throat about the ratio of parsley to bulgur wheat, remember that while Lebanese taboulé is mostly herbs, North African taboulé (the taboulé my Tunisian grandmother makes) is mostly bulgur. We only add maybe a third herbs to 2 thirds grain.

    • Aurelie… I’ve made a couple of amendments to the post to express that it’s Lebanese tabbouleh which is what I’m after, and that it is only my opinion that other versions are wrong. I know I can sometimes have a tendency to be narrow-minded when food is involved & my expectations are not met… even if I am the one who isn’t seeing the bigger picture. Thank you though for pointing out that other cultures express certain dishes in their own way & that doesn’t make them wrong, just different.

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