Growing up, I would have no idea how to even attempt to pronounce this recipe.  (Hint: KEEN-wah Tab-BOO-lee)  Then quinoa hit the scene around 2004 and has been featured on every “superfoods” list since.  It cooks like rice, and when I imported it and ate it in China, I would describe it as “small rice”.  South American in origin, quinoa is actually a seed (not a true grain) that is high in protein.  Tabbouleh is my go-to recipe for too much parsley laying around, or in our case, growing around.  It is traditionally made with bulgur wheat, but I subbed quinoa here.  Adding the other spring time ingredients, the result is bright and lemony, the olives and feta rounding it out with some salty brine.

Note: there are a lot of ingredients listed here.  Feel free to omit or substitute anything.  I have prepared tabbouleh with just the parsley, quinoa and dressing, and it makes a delicious side.  Adding the cheese, olives and garbanzos make it a main course or pita filling.  I have gotten in the habit of buying the big box of crumbled feta and the 2 lb container of olives at Costco and using them in everything – salads, omelets, pizza, bread, etc.  The food processor makes very quick work of this dish.

Quinoa Tabbouleh (adapted from Moosewood Cookbook)

  • 3/4 c uncooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 c water
  • 1 big bunch parsley
  • 4-7 scallions
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 small cucumber, peeled
  • 2 stalks mint, leaves only
  • 15 pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1/4 c crumbled feta
  • 1/2 c garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper
  1. Prepare Quinoa: Place quinoa and water in medium sauce pan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to low and cover until all liquid is evaporated (~15 minutes).  Allow to cool, either spreading it on a baking sheet, or in the pot if it is going to take you 4 hours to complete this recipe because you are tending a 3 month old.
  2. Bust out the Food Processor.
  3. Rinse the parsley well (especially if you just picked it) and shake out the water.  Rough chop into 2″ sections and add to the bowl of the food processor.  Do the same for the scallions: rinse, 2″ chop, in the bowl.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Remove to a big bowl.
  4. Rough chop the pepper and cucumber, add to the processor and pulse until 1/2″ dice form.  Add mint leaves and olives, pulse a few more times until everything is chopped.  Add to the parsley in the bowl.
  5. Add tomato, feta, beans and cooled quinoa to the bowl.  Mix it up.
  6. Prepare dressing: Combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a jar.  Shake well.
  7. Add dressing to bowl and mix well to incorporate.  Allow to rest ideally 30 minutes before serving, but you can spoon some directly into your mouth at this time.  Call it quality control.
  8. Serve with hummus & pitas, or on top of romaine lettuce.