Quinoa Tabbouleh Recipe: Great Gluten Free Alternative

gluten free quinoa tabbouleh

Wow, this move has really been quite a process. I feel like the sea of boxes is never-ending. That said, I am incredibly grateful that we found our way to a new house. I love it and look forward to settling in over time.

Despite the move and the chaos and the upheaval, we’ve still got to eat (although full disclosure, I took these pictures while still in my parent’s house. I’m lucky if I can find a mixing bowl here at this point). This tabbouleh salad is a summer favorite of mine. It is not complicated to make; mostly chop and mix. It has great fresh summer flavors, highlighted by the lemon, parsley, and mint. I often bring it along to summer parties and pot lucks. Using quinoa in place of the traditional bulgur wheat makes this tabbouleh gluten free.

Many quinoa recipes use a higher water-to-quinoa ratio than this one, which I find results in a mushy quinoa. This ratio will yield fluffier grain (well, technically a seed). While we’re on the subject, if you are not familiar with cooking quinoa it is a little different than most other seeds and grains. Quinoa is naturally coated with saponins, which if left on can give cooked quinoa a bitter or otherwise unpleasant taste. The simple solution is to rinse the quinoa before cooking to remove the water-soluble saponins. I place my quinoa in a large glass measuring cup, cover with water, and stir around to rinse. I then strain using a fine strainer, and repeat the process until the soaking water is clear, not cloudy. If you can find a large strainer with a fine enough mesh, you can rinse directly in the strainer until the water runs clear and is not foamy at all. My larger strainers have larger mesh and the quinoa tends to escape. Do what works for you. Also, quinoa is a bit magical. After cooking, the little seed looks as though it has sprouted a tail. This is normal and should not be cause for alarm.

I like to minimize the juiciness of my ingredients in the recipe to avoid a mushy, watered down salad. I recommend using plum tomatoes and English (hothouse) cucumbers because they are less watery than traditional tomatoes and cucumbers. If you only have traditional versions on hand, remove the seeds before using and this will help to reduce liquid. Okay, on to the recipe.

My plum tomatoes were tiny so I snuck in an extra. Not pictured: water.

My plum tomatoes were tiny so I snuck in an extra. Not pictured: water.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c. water
1 c. quinoa
pinch salt
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 t. lemon zest
4 plum tomatoes, diced
1 medium English cucumber, diced (or 1/2 of a large English cucumber as I have shown)
1 bunch green onions, diced
1 bunch fresh parsley (approximately 1 cup), chopped
1 small bunch fresh mint (approximately 1/3 cup), chopped

1. Rinse quinoa as directed above. Drain.
2. In a saucepan, bring the water and pinch of salt to a boil. Add rinsed quinoa and reduce flame to low to simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool, covered. Once cooled to room temperature, remove cover and fluff with fork.
3. While quinoa cooks and cools, dice the tomatoes, cucumber and green onions; chop the parsley and mint. Add them all to a large bowl.

Veggies and herbs in the bowl. Tomatoes are trying to hide, can you see them?

Veggies and herbs in the bowl. Tomatoes are trying to hide, can you see them?

4. Top veggies and herbs with olive oil, and salt. Mix to coat.

Seasoning the quinoa tabbouleh

5. Wash and dry lemon. Since you’re eating the peel, it’s really ideal to use an organic lemon, if possible. Zest with microplane grater, removing just the outer yellow part, not the bitter white pith, to yield 1 t. zest. Add to bowl. Cut lemon in half and juice to yield 1/4 c. lemon juice. Add to bowl as well.

zested lemon

zested lemon

juiced lemon

juiced lemon

6. Add cooled quinoa to bowl. Realize that you’re going to need bigger bowl to mix it all without making a mess (this may only happen to me). Mix until thoroughly combined.

Gluten free quinoa tabbouleh recipe

7. Adjust seasoning as desired. Transfer back into pretty bowl, and enjoy!

gluten free quinoa tabbouleh

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