Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Red Quinoa Tabbouleh

Doug, Mandy and I were invited to a pot-luck party during the holidays. My natural instinct was to make tabbouleh, but after having had a conversation about benefits of quinoa with a foodie friend, I decided to make a quinoa tabbouleh salad instead of the usual bulgur.

Red Quinoa Tabbouleh
Here's some background information on quinoa from the book 'Food Lover's Companion':
Quinoa was known as 'the mother grain' to the ancient Incas of South America. Containing the eight essential amino acids, quinoa is considered a complete protein. It's higher in unsaturated fats and lower in carbohydrates than most grains, and provides a balanced source of vital nutrients. 

Quinoa cooks in the same manner as rice, and expands to four times its original volume. It's very light and the flavor has been compared to couscous, meaning it's delicate - almost bland. Quinoa's uses are many - it can be served as a side dish, part of a main dish, in soups, salads, and even puddings.   

I adapted a recipe from using red quinoa which really made an impressive-looking, festive dish, if I do say so myself! 

Red Quinoa Tabbouleh 
Serves about 6


2 cups red quinoa, cooked according to package directions
(Use 4 cups broth or water to 2 cups quinoa; add a little salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until all liquid is absorbed. The box said to cook for 15 minutes, however, I had to cook it for almost 30 minutes.)
4 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
¼ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
2 Persian cucumbers, or ½ seedless English cucumber, cut into small dice
2 plum tomatoes, cut into small dice
½ cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
2 scallions, finely chopped
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese, optional
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed, optional

1. In a saucepan, cook quinoa according to package directions. Remove saucepan from heat; let stand covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork.

2. Dressing preparation: While quinoa is cooking, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. 

3. Spread out quinoa on a large rimmed baking pan; let cool. Transfer to a large bowl; mix in 1/4 cup dressing. (Can be made 1 day ahead up to this point.) Cover remaining dressing and quinoa separately; chill.

4. Add cucumber, tomatoes, herbs, scallions, feta cheese and/or chick peas to bowl with quinoa; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle with remaining dressing; mix gently. Add more lemon juice, if desired.


  1. I make Eetch this way sometimes too. So far, I'm the only one who even noticed the difference. I thought someone would complain the texture was "off" because it's softer than the wheat, but so far so good. ;)

  2. I am so glad you made a quinoa version. I am gluten intolerant so I can no longer have wheat. I grew up on Armenian food and I so miss my grandfathers cooking, especially tabbouleh and sarma.

  3. Hey do you by any chance know what quinoa is in armenian?

    1. Hi Lucy, I doubt that there is an Armenian name for quinoa, but should I find one, I'll add it to this comment section.