Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Quinoa Tabbouleh

A bin full of green things.  I'm starting dinner late.  What to do?  Quinoa is super quick, right?  But I only had about 3/4 of a cup and four people to serve.

So now what?  Cucumbers, a jar of roasted red peppers and a handful of the prolific mint from my plant outside.  Tabbouleh comes to mind and with several lemons still on my counter, I realize I have everything to make it and within 20 minutes.

There are two schools of thought on tabbouleh, the "more grains than greens" version and its antithesis. My typical nature is to go against the grain (really, no pun intended) so with my lack of a decent quantity of quinoa, I decided to do "more greens than grains".

It turned out to be so good, that even my 8 year old loved it (with the addition of some golden raisins because he had previously enjoyed quinoa salad like that before).  It tasted great and just felt healthy to eat.  You really can't go wrong with raw chard, herbs, lemon and olive oil in the healthful department, but the addition of roasted red peppers really bumped up the flavor.  Leftovers the next day were bumped further with some oil-cured olives and feta which really made it a hearty main-dish salad.

CWYG Stats
Veggie Box Items -  chard, cilantro, green garlic, mint (garden)

CWYG List Items - quinoa, lemons, olive oil, roasted red peppers

Quinoa Tabbouleh
Have the quinoa cooked ahead or allow an extra 10-15 minutes to let it cool.  This entire dish can be made up to one day ahead.

1 cup plus 2 tbsp water
3/4 cup quinoa

1 bunch chard, leaves shredded and stems reserved for other use
3 tbsp lemon juicezest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 cup loosely packed mint leaves, torn or shredded
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
oil-cured or kalamata olives, pitted and chopped, optional
2 oz crumbled feta, optional
1/4 cup raisins, optional

Bring water to boil over high heat and add quinoa.  Lower heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes.  Check to see if most of water is absorbed.  If it is, turn off heat and place a folded kitchen towel over the pan and place lid over it.  This will allow the quinoa to steam out remaining water and will make it fluffy.  Using a fork, separate the grains and cool for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare all the remaining ingredients.  Mix the chard, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in a large bowl.  Squeeze the chard a bit to break it down.  Add the cooked quinoa, the red peppers, herbs and any (or all) of the optional ingredients.  Mix well and serve warm, cold or room temperature.

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