Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Chickpea and Quinoa Tabbouleh

This salad is fresh, light and healthy with a tangy lemon garlic dressing infusing chickpeas, quinoa and a host of vegetables. Homegrown lemon balm adds interest to the standard parsley as well!

I know, I know... it's the second week of November - what right do I have posting a lovely salad like this? Well, I have succeeded this year in maintaining a tiny kitchen herb garden (for how long, I don't know) and with the unseasonably warm weather in the later half of our growing season we still have plenty of just-picked tomatoes on the counter! I wanted to use up as much as I could with my older Home Ec class, and when I came across a partial bag of quinoa in the freezer I was inspired to make a version of one of my favourite salads from college: tabbouleh. 

Normally, you'll find a rather bare-bones ingredient list in tabbouleh - parsley, mint, bulgur and maybe some lemon and olive oil. This recipe takes the idea and runs with it, swapping in the nutrient dense (and gluten free) quinoa for the bulgur and adding in extra veggies - including deliciously nutty chickpeas and home grown lemon balm. A few twists on the traditional dressing pop up the flavour even more! While this was made and enjoyed the same day by my students and colleagues, the leftovers were even better - my mom began raiding the leftovers in the fridge as a snack and said the mixture just kept getting better with time. 

Of course, if quinoa isn't your thing, the standard bulgur is still perfectly fine here. You can also use couscous, amaranth, millet, rice or farro for different flavours and textures - just make sure they're all cooked before adding them! The possibilities are endless, but if you don't have lemon balm I do suggest adding some lemon zest to the mix for that bright citrus flavour. You wont regret it!

Chickpea and Quinoa Tabbouleh 
Serves 6-8
½ cup uncooked quinoa 
1 ¼ cups water 
1 ½ cups cherry or grape tomatoes
1 bunch (about 1 cup) fresh Italian parsley, chopped 
½ cup fresh lemon balm or mint, chopped 
1 bunch (about 1 cup) spinach, chopped 
1 large English cucumber, chopped 
1 (19 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 
¼ cup lemon juice 
1 tbsp water 
½ tsp minced garlic (about 1 clove) 
1 tbsp dried onion flakes 
1 tsp salt 
¼ tsp black pepper 
¼ tsp paprika
  1. Rinse the quinoa very well in a strainer and transfer to a small pot. 
  2. Place the pot over medium heat and cook, stirring, until quinoa dries and begins to toast, about 1-2 minutes. 
  3. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork and set aside. 
  4. Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes in half and combine in a large bowl with the herbs, spinach, cucumber, and chickpeas.
  5. Add the quinoa and toss to combine. 
  6. Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, water, garlic, onion flakes, salt, pepper and paprika and drizzle over the salad. 
  7. Toss well and serve immediately or store, covered, in the fridge up to 5 days.

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