Tabbouleh is a fresh Middle Eastern side dish, with flavors of mint, lemon and garlic; the quinoa fills you up and nurtures well and the cucumber and tomatoes elevates it to a fresh salad.
I’ve had a kick on Middle Eastern food lately and wanted to share with you one side dish that freshens up many Middle Eastern dinners. I hadn’t even heard of tabbouleh until recently, but wow I’ve been missing out. But I’m prepared, I have searched for tons of Lebanese recipes now so I can eat more tabbouleh.
So, because I haven’t eaten much Middle Eastern food at home before, I naturally didn’t have bulgur in the house. Quite the bummer, but I figured I could use quinoa instead. Quinoa is more of a South American grain, but it is quite similar to the Middle Eastern bulgur.
Quinoa is packed with healthy stuff, it is one of the few vegetables that qualifies as a complete protein source and it’s gluten-free. Bulgur is a whole wheat grain which is high in fiber, low fat and low calorie, but not gluten-free. You could also use couscous, which doesn’t taste much on its own, but soaks up the flavors surrounding it. So if you’re intolerant to gluten and want to eat Tabbouleh, I’ve got your back with this Middle Eastern Tabbouleh with Quinoa!
Middle Eastern Tabbouleh with Quinoa
It’s important to rinse the quinoa well before continuing with the recipe. Give 85 gr quinoa (1/2 cup), 1/4 tsp salt and 130 ml water (1/2 cup + 1/4 cup – a tad more than equal amounts) to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Remember that quinoa quadruples in size when cooked. Reduce heat to low and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it rest, covered, for 5 more minutes. Fluff it with a fork.
While the quinoa is cooking, make the dressing. Whisk together lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil so it won’t separate. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
Spread the quinoa out on a large parchment paper, let it cool. Once cool, add it to a a large bowl and whisk in half of the dressing. Chop the vegetables and add them to the quinoa. Mix in the rest of the dressing, season it with salt and pepper and you are done. That’s it.
I had this for dinner one day with pitas and chicken shawarma with garlic dressing, and the next day I had it for lunch with pitas and a garlic dressing. Very easy, but so so yummy. Tabbouleh is very versatile, and you don’t have to be eat it next to Middle Eastern food but they do complement each other.
For dessert I’d suggest a light Lemon Tea Cake with a Cream Cheese Filling. Another lovely quinoa recipe is the Cuban Quinoa Bowl with Mango Salsa and Fried Bananas. Very fresh and sweet and perfect if you miss the Summer. North African flavors are similar to the Middle Eastern, and if you like that I’d recommend this Moroccan Butternut and Chevre Soup and this Spicy Harissa Grilled Chicken with Cilantro Lime Sauce. Yes, I think I’m a bit hungry right now…
If you’re interested in more vegan recipes, why don’t you check out my friend Tully’s VegansFirst.
I hope you’ll like it! Please tell me what you thought of this recipe, either in the comment section below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later.
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