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Tabbouli is my absolute favorite salad! If you have not tried it yet, you simply must! It is so fresh with the bold lemon and parsley flavors. The texture is delicate with tiny perfectly diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and bulgur. In this variation I boost the protein and filling factor by using quinoa instead of bulgur wheat. The quinoa (pronounced keen-WAH) is a tiny super grain food that is an excellent substitute for high sugar starchier carbs such as rice and wheat products such as pasta. Quinoa has a significant amount of protein, enough to serve as a protein source on its own. Quinoa is also rich in heart-healthy mono saturated fats (ALA-Omega 3), and is also concentrated in anti-inflammatory flavonoids. It is also an excellent source of fiber, magnesium, and iron. It cooks slowly and is very easy to prepare making it a wonderful pantry staple. The grain is perfectly small, round, and fluffy making it a perfect substitution to rice or bulgur as it is used in tabbouli salad.
Back to the tabbouli; this salad originates from the Middle-East, particularly Syria and Lebanon, and is a staple appetizer popular now all around the world. This salad is full of parsley, at least 1-2 bunches or 2 cups. It is finely chopped, and we typically use flat leaf as it offers a more favorable texture and scent. The curly parsley can sometime feel and taste too dry on the tongue. You will also need firm roma tomatoes, Persian or English cucumbers, green onion, and plenty of freshly squeezed lemon juice. The salad dressing recipe used here is my mother’s popular Arabic dressing and is the perfect dressing for almost any lemon based dressing, so gather round for the secret! It consists of FRESH lemon juice (do not use from a jar!), olive oil, sumac, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. My daughter is becoming a finicky eater, like most toddlers, but she absolutely LOVES this salad. She had 2 full servings, so I am a happy mother!
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- 2 cups of flat leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
- 3 firm roma tomatoes, about 1 cup diced
- 3 green onions, about 1/2 cup diced
- 1 cup diced cucumber
- 1/2 cup quinoa (uncooked)
- 1/2 c fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tbsp of minced fresh garlic (2 large cloves)
- 1/3 c olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- pinch pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp sumac
- First cook the quinoa according to directions. 1 cup gain cooks in 2 cups of liquid. So boil 1/2 cup quinoa with 1 cup of water. Add 1/2 tsp of salt and bring down to a simmer over low heat once it boils. Remove from heat as soon as all the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes) and toss into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place into refrigerator to cool.
- Finely dice the tomato by slicing into thin circles, then crosswise and lengthwise to produce perfectly small cubes. Do the same with the cucumber.
- Chop the green onion into thin circles as well, and if it is a large diameter, cut those slices in half.
- Wash the parsley carefully, stem by stem (dirt and bugs typically hide in these leaves), then pull the leaves off and into a colander or napkins to remove excess water. Place the leaves into a food processor and pulse slowly until it is finely chopped. Be careful not to puree into pesto!
- Combine all chopped ingredients into a large bowl. Add the cooled quinoa.
- In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, salt and other spices and stir well. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss with tongs or a large fork. Be careful not to smush the quinoa or tomatoes.
- Small grain wheat bulgur is traditionally used in this recipe in lieu of the quinoa.