Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) can replace bulgur wheat which is traditionally used in tabouli, a salad of middle-eastern origin. Quinoa is a South American gluten-free grain which is complete and balanced in essential amino acids–that means it’s one of the best plant protein sources. It’s also easy to digest and cooks quickly. Be sure to rinse the quinoa several times with warm water to remove the bitter-tasting saponins, which are a natural coating.
1 cup dry quinoa
1 and 3/4 cups water
1 tsp. natural sea salt
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
2-3 scallions, chopped fine
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp. dried mint leaves, or 1 tsp. fresh mint chopped fine
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley, packed (up to half of this can be substituted with fresh cilantro)
2 medium tomatoes, diced
feta cheese and black olives for garnish
Optional: 1/2 cucumber chopped, 1 cup grated carrot, 1 green or red sweet pepper chopped
Place the quinoa in a sauce pan and rinse very well with warm water several times, draining each time with a fine-mesh strainer. Strain out all of the rinse water. Add 1 and 3/4 cup water, bring to a boil, and immediately cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Remove from heat when all of the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is cooked through (about 20 minutes). Stir is salt, garlic, scallions, lemon juice, mint, and olive oil. Mix well and refrigerate for about 3 hours. Just before serving, transfer to a bowl, add parsley/cilantro, tomato, and other vegetables desired. Stir well. Garnish with plenty of feta and olives.