I love tabouli, especially when I use quinoa instead of bulgur as the base. It's refreshing and light, perfect for taking to a potluck, and an all-around amazing side dish whenever the ingredients are available, which is most of the year where I live. Cucumbers, parsley, and grape tomatoes are a staple all summer into early fall. We don't have lemon trees here in the mountains, but everything else is grown in the yard or at a farm nearby.
If you haven't tried growing quinoa for yourself yet, I highly recommend it! This superfood is super easy to grow, takes very little land, is simple to harvest, and stores like a dream. And it cooks as quickly as pasta! You can even get more than one crop in a season most places if you plan accordingly. The quinoa cooks in the amount of time it takes to prep everything else (less than 30 minutes), and it's gluten free. You can use any quinoa variety, but the darker the color the stronger the flavor. I tend to use red or black quinoa during spring and fall, and use white when it's blisteringly hot out. But they're all just great.
Note: This recipe, which is really more of an assembly, scales beautifully. Need to feed an army? Just multiply! Need to make a smaller batch? Divide in half and enjoy.
1 cup dried quinoa, any color
1-2 cucumbers, diced
1 pint grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
1-2 medium bunches parsley
1 bunch mint (I use a hearty amount, but technically the mint is completely optional. Use as much as makes sense to you for you taste.)
3-4 scallions, or red onion if you're out of scallions, thinly sliced
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced and strained for seeds
1-2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- Fill a saucepan with 1.75 cups cool water. Stir in the quinoa and heat to boiling, then reduce to a simmer and cover, simmering for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and remove cover, letting it stand for another ten minutes or so. Fluff with a fork.
- While the quinoa is cooking, dice the cucumber and tomatoes. Combine the diced cucumber and tomato in a medium bowl with ½ teaspoon of the salt. Stir, and let the mixture rest for at least 10 minutes, or until you’re ready to mix the salad.
- To prepare the parsley, cut off the thick stems. Then, finely chop the parsley and remaining stems, transferring the chopped parsley to a large serving bowl before proceeding with the next.
- Add the chopped mint and onion to the bowl with the parsley.
- Strain off and discard the cucumber and tomato juice that has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl (this ensures that your tabouli isn’t too watery), and add the strained cucumber and tomato to the bowl.
- In a small measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Pour it into the salad and stir to combine. Taste, and adjust if necessary—add more lemon juice for zing, or more salt for more overall flavor.
- Gently fold the vegetables and herbs together, then fold in the quinoa until combined.
- You can serve it immediately but it really benefits from an hour or more for the flavors to blend. I like to chill it in the fridge, covered, for at least an hour.
- Tabouli will keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 days, or so I hear. Mine is always gone before I can blink.
- Perfect for taking to a pot luck!