I love the taste of Middle Eastern flavours in my food during the summer months. Like a little exotic holiday abroad in the comfort of your own home.
Tabbouleh is traditionally a parsley salad, bulked out with bulgur wheat, but with three active teens I wanted to prepare a more substantial salad packed with nutrition. By substituting quinoa the salad becomes gluten free and whilst my family can tolerate gluten, it is good nutritional practice to mix up your grains/pseudograins throughout the week and not to rely on wheat for every meal of the day. Quinoa is actually a seed which contains all of the essential amino acids required in humans and by switching your grain choice, this salad becomes a complete plant-based protein source. Proteins that are used in the body to make neurotransmitters, and hormones and to replace damaged muscle after working out. The addition of chickpeas and salty feta cheese not only improve that flavour of this dish but also boost the protein content further.
I adore using herbs in cooking as they are a nutritionally dense ingredient that is relatively cheap to buy and pack a big nutritional bang for their buck. Whenever I see a recipe that calls for parsley, cilantro, basil, watercress or chervil, you can bet I will be chopping double the quantity required. Herbs provide live chlorophyll and enzymes to aid digestion, they and very cleansing in the body as they have been shown to mobilize toxins and heavy metals on a cellular level for elimination from the body and are dense in micro-nutrients such as iron and magnesium.
The tomato and parsley in this tabbouleh make it rich in vitamin C the vitamin which supports the health of your adrenal glands, is involved in cellular energy production and is responsible for healthy gums and skin.
I used my Lemon and Parsley Dressing in this salad but switched out the parsley in the dressing for 1 clove garlic and 1/2 tsp cumin to get that Middle eastern flavour punch.
Dense nutrition never tasted so good!
- 1 cup Quinoa
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1/2 English cucumber diced
- 1 cup tomatoes diced
- 1 buch parsley finely chopped
- 1/2 cup Feta cheese diced
- 8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 lemons juiced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- Cook the quinoa in 2 cups of water for about 15 minutes or until the 'tails' appear from the grain.
- In the meantime dice the tomatoes, cucumber and feta and finely slice the parsley and put them in a large bowl.
- Add the chickpeas
- in a used jam jar make the lemon dressing.
- Drain the cooked quinoa and add to the other ingredients in the bowl.
- Stir in the dressing.
- If you have time or remember! put your quinoa to soak the night before you make this salad. When you are ready to begin the salad rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a sieve before you cook it. This removes the saponins (you will see them as soapy bubbles washing off the quinoa) which bind with the nutrients in the quinoa and prevent nutrition from being absorbed by the body.
- I soak most of my grains as often as I have time or remember too....and I forgive myself for not being perfect when I forget!!!
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