Quinoa Two Ways: Tabbouleh-ish and Super Green

Quinoa has to be one of my favorite gluten-free staples.  Not only is it quick and easy to make, is a super-food packed with protein and essential vitamins.  Quinoa salads are light, yet filling and perfect to take along on day trips or to serve at a nice dinner.

These are two of my favorite ways to serve up quinoa.  The first is like tabblouleh, but made with quinoa and slow roasted tomatoes adding interest and depth of flavor to this traditional Middle Eastern dish.  The second is super green quinoa, a spicy salad with some kick from jalapeños and arugula.

Both of these salads can easily be made vegan by either just omitting the cheese or substituting it for some roughly chopped garbanzo beans (I recommend toasting those beans in a little olive oil and black pepper over low heat until they are lightly toasted.  It develops their flavor and helps the beans to stand out from the quinoa).

They serve either 4 as a full meal or 6-8 as side dishes.

“Tabbouleh-ish” Quinoa

1/2 pound oven roasted tomatoes (see recipe below)

1-cup quinoa

2 green onions, thinly sliced

2 Persian cucumbers or 1/3 of a hothouse English cucumber, diced

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1/2 cup of parsley, diced

1/3-1/2 cup of feta cheese, crumbled

Dressing (see recipe below)

1. To cook the quinoa, bring several cups of water to a boil over high heat in a large saucepan.  When the water comes to the boil, season liberally with salt and if you would like, some bouillon cubes.  Add the quinoa and boil for 12-13 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water in a fine mesh sieve or colander.

2. Toast the pine nuts in a dry skill over low heat until warm and lightly toasted.  They will begin to smell nutty when they are almost done.

3. When the quinoa has cooled, place into a large bowl and add half the dressing.  Toss.  Add the tomatoes, green onion, parsley, and cucumber.  Toss.

4. Pour the rest of the dressing over the salad and toss again.  Add the nuts and feta on top and toss again if you would like (sometimes I like to have the nuts and feta on top for presentation, but either way works).

Left: roasting the tomatoes Middle: toasting the pine nuts Right: making the dressing

 For the oven roasted tomatoes:

1/2 pound of cherry tomatoes, halved

2 Tbsps balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

Heat over to 250ºF.  On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, place halved cherry tomatoes cut-side down.  Drizzle balsamic and olive oil over tomatoes and lightly season with salt and pepper.  Bake in oven for 90 minutes.  The tomatoes will be soft, wrinkly and a deeper, darker red.

Cool completely before using in salad.

Dressing:

2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

½ tsp cumin

salt and pepper, to taste

¼ cup olive oil

Combine the rice wine vinegar, salt, pepper and cumin in small bowl.  Begin to whisk ingredients and slowly stream in olive oil, continuing to whisk constantly.  Whisk until well combined.

Tabbouleh-ish Quinoa Salad

Super Green Quinoa

1 cup quinoa

3/4 cup shelled edamame (frozen is perfect)

2 green onions, thinly sliced

2 Persian cucumbers or 1/4 of a hothouse English cucumber, diced

2 jalapeños, diced (seeds removed if you don’t want this to be spicy)

1/3 of a red pepper, diced

1/2 cup of arugula, diced

1/3-1/2 cup of queso fresco cheese, crumbled (feta or goat also works well)

Dressing (see recipe below)

Left: draining the quinoa and edamame Right: the chopped veggies

1. To cook the quinoa, bring several cups of water to a boil over high heat in a large saucepan.  When the water comes to the boil, season liberally with salt and if you would like, some bouillon cubes.  Add the quinoa and boil for 12-13 minutes.  If you need to defrost the edamame, toss it in with the quinoa after 9 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water in a fine mesh sieve or colander.

2. When the quinoa has cooled, place into a large bowl and add half the dressing.  Toss.  Add the queso fresco, cucumber, green onions, jalapeños, red pepper and arugula.  Toss.  Pour the rest of the dressing over the salad and toss again.

Dressing:

Juice and flesh of two small limes and one small lemon

1 tsp cumin

dash of onion powder

salt and pepper, to taste

1/3 cup olive oil

Cut the ends of the lime off and cut away the rind.  Using a paring knife: cut the segments out of the lime (see pictures) into a small bowl.  When you have cut the lime segments away, squeeze out any remaining juice.  Repeat with the other lime and lemon.  Add the salt, pepper, onion powder and cumin to the citrus.  Begin to whisk ingredients and slowly stream in olive oil, continuing to whisk constantly.  Whisk until well combined.

Voila, super green quinoa packed with fiber, viatmins and flavor

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