Getting Your Grains: Quinoa Tabbouleh

April 10, 2013  •  Beans & Grains, Salads

quinoa tabbouleh 1Whole grains. I’m sure you’ve noticed that everything you read (except paleo diets) tells you to work to get more of these (and less of the simple, processed, white carbs) into your diet. I like variety, and thankfully there are a wide range of whole grains that can be used in a wide variety of ways. Some of my favorites are oats, bulgur, farro, barley, and the myriad of rices (wikipedia says there are 40,000 varieties in the world!). We often think of quinoa as a grain, because we eat it like a grain, but it’s actually a grain-like seed. In it’s natural state it has a coating that is unpalatable, which is why the bags of quinoa tell you to rinse it before cooking. I’ve found that I can’t notice that in most brands I buy, and I suspect the quinoa has been rinsed as part of the packaging process.quinoa in jarquinoaAncient civilizations (including the Incas) prized quinoa for it’s nutritional value. Indeed, not only does it contain plant based protein (like beans and legumes), but it is actually considered a complete protein, making it nutritionally important for vegetarians. For the rest of us, it is just tasty good food!quinoa tabboulehTabbouleh is usually made with bulgur wheat, but while working through my carb cycling diet the last few weeks, I found myself getting an upset stomach, possibly from too much wheat. I’ve never been much of a carb eater (I crave meat!), and I suspect the high carb days where I might have loaded up on wheat based whole grain carbs were leaving my stomach a little annoyed. So today I made tabbouleh with quinoa, and guess what? It tastes just as great! Traditionally Tabbouleh in middle Eastern restaurants will also have a lot more parsley, but I didn’t want to cut down the entire crop that is just sprouting in my spring herb garden, so mine was a little sparse on parsley and mint. You can add a bunch more herbs if you like when you make yours. Hopefully if you’re in the northern hemisphere you’re enjoy the spring!

Quinoa Tabbouleh
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 8-10
  • 1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed, cooked, and cooled
  • 1 large cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 1-4 tablespoons minced parlsey
  • 1-4 tablespoons minced mint
  • Zest and juice of 2 small lemons
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch of scallions (green tops only) sliced thinly
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • tomatoes (see note)
  1. Combine cooked quinoa with cucumber, herbs, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, and scallions. Stir until combined and season with salt and pepper to taste. Store covered in refrigerator until ready to serve. Add diced tomatoes to taste just before serving.
The tabbouleh will store well in the refrigerator for several days, but the tomatoes taste better if added fresh. I add about ¼ cup diced tomatoes per serving to the tabbouleh as it's being served instead of mixing them into the recipe as I don't like the texture they take on if refrigerated.


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