Quinoa tabbouleh with mint tahini
A playful, modern take on classic tabbouleh.
Tabbouleh’s been around for a very long time. It’s a traditional salad that depends on bulgur (cracked wheat) to provide a bit of starch for that satisfied feeling. Well, couscous is occasionally used instead of bulgur. But in Israeli cafes, especially the ones catering to the vegan crowd, you often find tabbouleh made with quinoa.
Quinoa’s flavor is more assertive than bulgur’s, but the herbs and vegetables stand up to it just fine. In this playful version, tahini with a little crushed, dried mint in it helps the traditional dressing of olive oil and lemon juice to pull all the elements together.
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups parsley, stems removed and chopped finely
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped finely
- 1/2 cup scallions
- 1 1/4 teaspoon additional salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
- 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
- 1/4 cup additional extra virgin olive oil
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup prepared tahini
- 1 teaspoon crumbled, dried mint
Rinse quinoa in water several times to rid it of its natural soapy taste (this repels field pests). Drain it well.
Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil into a medium pot, over medium heat. Add the quinoa. Toast and stir the quinoa until you hear it crackle – about 6 minutes.
Add boiling water and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir and bring to a boil again.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover the pot and cook the quinoa 15 minutes. Turn heat off and let it stand undisturbed 10 minutes.
Fluff quinoa up with a fork, breaking up any big clumps.
Put the pot in a cool place and partially uncover it. Let the quinoa cool to just warm.
In the meantime, chop the cucumber and tomato. Set them in a strainer to release juices. Move the strainer around a few times, to encourage juices to drain.
Chop parsley, scallions and mint finely.
Put the cooled quinoa in a large bowl. Add the chopped leaves and drained vegetables. Add the lemon juice and olive oil; stir gently but thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Mix prepared tahini with crumbled dried mint. Dribble it over the top of the tabbuleh or set it in a bowl for people to serve themselves at the table.
Serve tabbuleh chilled or at room temperature.