25 June 2015

Tabbouleh - Made with Quinoa Instead of Bulgur

Tabbouleh / www.delightfulrepast.com

Tabbouleh is, of course, neither English nor Southern, so how did it become part of my repertoire? My sister-in-law (Mr. Delightful's sister) married into a Middle Eastern family and learned to make all sorts of wonderful dishes, including tabbouleh. One time, many years ago, when we were spending a week or so with her, we attended a big family gathering (a bridal shower, I think) where her nieces showed me how to make it.

Only when I went home and made a small batch of it did I fully appreciate all the work that had gone into the huge batch they had made for the shower. All by hand. So that's how I've always done it. The food processor might make quick work of all that parsley and mint, but I've yet to try it. Now, after all this time, I'm afraid to. Afraid I'll find out it works great, and then I'll be kicking myself!

It's perfect for summer, especially cookouts. It’s easy to keep serving up the same favorite barbecue menu all summer. Instead, try a different theme once in a while. A Middle Eastern theme might include grilled butterflied leg of lamb, grilled eggplant and other vegetables, along with dishes such as hummus, baba ghanoush and tabbouleh.

This recipe calls for a great deal more tomato, parsley and mint than many tabbouleh recipes. I am told by Middle Easterners that the recipes that are more bulgur than salad or that call for garlic or green peppers are not authentic. But who’s to say what is authentic? Every family of cooks has its own variations on traditional dishes. And here I am really flouting authenticity, using organic quinoa instead of bulgur.

If your family has a tabbouleh tradition, I'd love to hear about your recipe and whether you chop by hand or use a food processor. 

Tabbouleh

(Makes about 2.5 quarts)

1 1/3 cup water
1 cup organic whole grain quinoa
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 medium (1 1/2 pounds) tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 green onions, very thinly sliced
2 bunches (about 10 ounces total) flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
1 bunch (about 2 ounces) mint, leaves only, very finely chopped
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 to 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
(Optional: 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon allspice, authentic, I'm told, but not to my taste)

1 In small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Stir in quinoa and salt. Return to the boil, cover, reduce heat to lowest possible, and simmer for 12 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Transfer to 2.5-quart bowl.

2 Meanwhile, prepare by hand the tomatoes, green onions, parsley and mint. Spread the diced tomatoes and their juice over the quinoa, then add the sliced onions and chopped parsley and mint.

3 Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil (start with 1/3 cup), salt and pepper. Pour over tabbouleh and toss to mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning; add more olive oil and/or lemon juice, if needed. Cover and chill for 1 hour (or up to 1 day). Serve with grape leaves or leaves of lettuce or cabbage for scooping.

Note: You can change it up a bit with the addition of either cucumber or red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice.

24 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Looks like a delicious dish. The name sounds exotic! Thanks for sharing the recipe! Enjoy your day!

Angie Schneider said...

This is a great one to bring to a picnic or bbq party!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Eileen! Yes, I thought it extremely exotic.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

That it is, Angie! Tasty even at room temperature.

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

I’m with you on the butterflied leg of lamb!…accessory dishes not so much. Just within my limits of toleration for anything healthy (snicker). But more to the point, I agree with you completely about that “who’s to say what’s authentic.” The word authentic is group-think and implies a pedestrian catch-all menu to me. If food is prepared well, it is prepared to individual taste within, say, a family. Ergo, variations and proportions will be customized. I suppose if the argument is just over what the dominant culture does is a whole, authentic has some meaning; but it ignores the art, the range and the individuality of preparation.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sully, thank you for your comment on authenticity. There can be a lot of snobbery and oneupsmanship in the world of food, though we don't see that here among *my* delightful readers. Yeah, what he said!

Joanne Young said...

Wonderful, Jean! I love this salad.:)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Joanne! I can't believe I hadn't posted it already.

Michelle Nahom said...

Oh I love tabbouleh! My husband is half Lebanese and it's definitely a favorite here! I don't often make it because I hate doing all that chopping, but there is a good Arabic market a couple towns over that I often get it at. I really should start making it more though. I'd love to try it with quinoa instead. I am sure its fabulous!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Michelle. I really must try doing the parsley and mint in the food processor; and if it works well, maybe I can make it more often.

Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen said...

What a perfect dish to bring to a picnic or outdoor BBQ! And, it looks so dang tasty, I can almost taste it from here.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Kristi! I'm going to make it again real soon. It's always a hit.

Amy at love made my home said...

Great idea to use the quinoa instead! xx

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Amy. I don't have a problem with wheat, but I figured I could use the extra protein of the quinoa.

April J Harris said...

I love Tabbouleh - and yes, I always chop! Your recipe sounds delicious, Jean - I love how full of flavour it is and I love that you used quinoa for a healthy twist! Pinned and tweeting. Thank you for sharing with us at the Hearth and Soul Hop. Have a lovely week!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, April! And I hope you have a lovely week as well!

Sister in the Mid-west said...

I would like to try this recipe someday. I remember having a version of tabbouleh when I was a small child and really detesting it, but my pallet has broadened by leaps and bounds now that I'm an adult. The ingredients in tabbouleh actually sound like something I'd really enjoy now. Thanks for sharing! :)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Mi-west! I think you'll like it my way -- not *too* heavy on the mint and nothing else, like garlic, to completely wipe out the cool and fresh quality of it.

Stephanie said...

Hi sweet Jean! My, this looks like a delicious dish. I don't think I have ever had Tabbouleh, but you have certainly piqued my interest :) Thank you for joining Roses of Inspiration this week. Hugs!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Stephanie! And I do hope you'll give tabbouleh a try. It's a perfect summer salad with grilled food.

Swathi Iyer said...

I haven't made Tabbouleh at home, usually buy from Middle eastern store here. Yes I am spoiled. Now after seeing your recipe, I need to make it at home. Thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop. pinning tweeting.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Swathi; much appreciated! I think you'll like making it!

Sara | Belly Rumbles said...

Why didn't I think of this before. Quinoa is the perfect substitute for cracked wheat. Loving this recipe.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sara, thank you! I hope you'll try it soon.

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