Monday, January 14, 2013

Christmas Quinoa Tabouli

Tabouli, tabbouleh, tabouleh, tabbouli... So many different ways of spelling this dish.  I have so many slight variations on using making this dish work for me, though I think I may've found my new favorite; a spin is given on this old dish with a blend of lightly toasted spices and pomegranate seeds.  I also decided to kick things up a bit by mixing two types of parsley, flat leaf which adds body and curly which really "grips" the dressing and quinoa. 

As a note, when making tabouli, recipes should be taken more as rough guidelines and always finish more on personal preference or what you have in your cupboard.  If you like your salad extra tangy, use more lemon juice. Have a couple sprigs of parsley left? Toss them in! Prefer Have cilantro over mint? That's your call.

While I use quinoa, classical recipes call for bulgur. I prefer to use more leftover, gluten free whole food oriented alternatives, such as quinoa, brown rice, hemp seeds, coarsely chopped chickpeas, etc.  

Christmas Quinoa Tabouli
(serves six as a side) 
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, lightly fluffed
  • 8-12 cherry tomatoes, about 11 oz
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large head flat leaf parsley (3-5 oz), 
  • 1 large head curly leaf parsley (3-5 oz) 
  • 1 bunch of mint (1 oz), stemmed
  • 2 t ground allspice
  • 1 T ras el hanout
  • 1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
  • seeds of 1 pomegranate 
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Using a small, sharp knife, cut the tomatoes into quarters and eights, toss them into a large mixing bowl along with the shallot and lemon juice. 

Grab the parsley by the head and twist off the coarser stems and set aside for another use (such as juicing, blending, making stock, etc. If the stems are tender and not too woody, I often include them in my parsley salads).  For the flat leaf parsley, pack the leaves up tightly, "balling" them a bit, and using a large sharp chef's knife cut them into thin slivers no more than 1/2 an inch thick.  Add to the large bowl. For the curly leaf parsley, coarsely chop so that you get lots of little 'florets' of the tips.  Add to bowl.

For the mint, stack the leaves together, and using a very sharp knife cut the leaves into ribbons width-wise. Be gentle with them, as mint leaves tend to discolor when bruised.  Add to the bowl.

Add the ras el hanout, allspice, olive oil, pomegranate, and some salt and fresh ground pepper and toss.  Feel free to add some more salt/pepper/lemon juice to taste, and serve.