Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Quinoa Tabbouleh

When your best friend is Lebanese and her mom owns her own restaurant, that can only mean one wind up with hummus running through your veins.  I cannot tell you the number of times I made the mistake of eating something before going to their house.  Big, big mistake!  Because you're almost always greeted with a giant plate of delights, and whether you came on an empty stomach or not, you will leave nearly unable to stand up straight from being so full.  So I've been trained to consume NFL linebacker portions of hummus, pita, tabbouleh, kibbe, fattoush, mujadara and shawarma.  Not to mention obscene quantities of garlic sauce that I will continue to sweat out for about 48 hrs (oh yes, I keep it classy!).  So when I had to give up gluten, there went pita, kibbe, fattoush, and tabbouleh, 4 of my favorite things on earth, right out the window.  Waaaaaaa!!!!  But, like the angle she is, Mrs. Rajeh started making gluten-free kibbe and tabbouleh at her restaurant, using quinoa as the base for both.  Happy days were here again!  So the last time my friend Nawal stayed with us, she arrived with a big container of me-safe tabbouleh from her mom's restaurant, which I promptly ate in one sitting.  Whether you enjoy this recipe gluten free with quinoa, or go the traditional route with bulgur/cracked wheat, it will undoubtedly have you singing....The Tabbouleh Song.  DC based comedian, Remy, put this together a few years ago and ever since I've been shake, shaking my booty every time I eat tabbouleh.  Because, as Remy says, you've got to push, push, push the tush, when you eat an Arab salad that's not fattoush!  Enjoy this taste of Samia's Phoenician Grill (well as close as it gets since, as a true cook, Mrs. Rajeh never measures or writes anything down).

Quinoa Tabbouleh

1/2 cup quinoa (or bulgur for traditional, non-gluten free version), cooked to package directions
1 bundle fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 Tbsp (heaping) fresh mint, finely chopped
3 green onions, ends trimmed and finely diced
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tsp garlic, minced
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 olive oil
Kosher or sea salt

Cook quinoa according to package directions, then set aside to cool completely.

In a bowl, mix together parsley, mint, onions, tomatoes and garlic.  Fold in cooled quinoa and stir to fully combine.

In a separate bowl whisk together lemon juice and olive oil.  Pour dressing over the tabbouleh and season with a pinch of two of coarse ground salt.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld together, and then taste and adjust any seasoning as needed.

Serve with Homemade Chicken Shawarma or Kale, Sweet Potato & Lamb Polenta Pizza, basically anything with super bold flavor that needs a good refreshing palate cleanser to go with it.

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