Maybe you call it tabouli, or maybe it’s tabbouleh? Or, maybe you don’t call it anything because you’ve never heard of it. But what’s important, is the fresh flavors you’re about to behold.
Tabouli (pronounced tə-ˈbü-lē) is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine. The vegetarian salad is classically made with cracked wheat, loads of fresh parsley and ripe tomatoes — among other ingredients like quality extra virgin olive oil and zesty lemon juice. Originally from Lebanon, tabouli has become one of the most popular salads throughout Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines and has become popular in American food in recent years, as well.
With so many countries adopting the dish, there are truly endless variations. If you don’t mind dicing and chopping for 20 minutes, you’ll have a fresh and extremely healthy salad full of bright tastes, textures and colors. It’s one of those dishes that measuring out ingredients just isn’t necessary, but I give some guidelines below. I also substitute the typical bulgur for quinoa, since you’re more likely to have that on hand.
And remember this salad when you’re in a pinch this summer. Since it doesn’t have any meats or cheeses, it can safely sit out on a picnic table.
Astametae! — or, “Enjoy!” in Arabic.
Tabouli Quinoa salad
- 2/3 cup quinoa
- 1/2 tsp salt + more to season
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1 package (about 1 pint) cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered (I used try-colored for the look)
- 1 large cucumber, cut in 1/4 inch cubes
- 1 1/2 cups flat leaf fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- Make quinoa by bringing 2/3 cup quinoa, 1 1/3 cups of water and 1/2 tsp salt to a boil in a medium pan on high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Let simmer until quinoa is tender and all the water has been absorbed (about 9-10 minutes). Remove from heat source and fluff with fork. Let cool, stirring often to help speed up process.
- For the dressing, add lemon juice and garlic to a small bowl and whisk together. Gradually add in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and whisk more. Set aside.
- In a large bowl (my 2.5 quart mixing bowl was perfect), combine cucumbers, tomatoes, mint, parsley and onions with the cooled quinoa. Drizzle dressing overtop and gently fold all ingredients until coated. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
- Delicious served with tortilla chips, pita bread, or even by itself.
*Note: Letting it sit for 4-24 hours before serving helps the flavor blend even more.