Sunday, April 7, 2013

Quinoa and Kale Tabouleh

The Setting: Spring! Yes, it has finally sprung here in the formerly frigid Midwest. Fifty-one degrees Fahrenheit and mostly cloudy never felt so good.

The Soundtrack: Washing machine, dryer, dishwasher...oh, the sounds of productivity!

Steaming up the Oven: Just the memories of yesterday's valiant-but-wanting baking endeavor. I'll save the details for another post, but let's just say even bacon couldn't save it.

The Scenario: A frolic on the lighter side....

I can barely spell tabouleh (tabbouleh, tabbouli), let alone pronounce it correctly, and I certainly won't act like I'm an authority on where it originated or what the most traditional recipe for this delightfully refreshing dish might be.

Here is what I think I know: tabouleh comes from somewhere in the Middle East/Mediterranean, and it generally contains parsley (so underrated), bulgur wheat, tomatoes, olive oil, and lemon juice. Also, it is delicious.

My spin on this sublime spring salad or side substitutes quinoa for the bulgur wheat and adds lots of kale and extra herbs to punch up both the nutrition and the flavor.

Disclaimer: Quinoa is not necessarily healthier than bulgur. Cup for cup, bulgur is much lower in calories and higher in fiber, while quinoa has higher levels of important vitamins and minerals like iron, B-6, magnesium, copper, and phosphorus. Unlike bulgur, quinoa is gluten free and contains all nine essential amino acids (making it a complete protein) it all depends on what you're going for. Quinoa is what I generally have on hand, and I love the unique texture and subtle, nutty flavor it brings to this dish.

Quinoa and Kale Tabouleh
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
1 cup freshly cooked quinoa
5 leaves kale, woody stems removed
1 large handful each of fresh mint, basil, and flat-leaf parsley
1 small, white onion, finely chopped
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

In a small bowl whisk together the first 6 ingredients (lemon juice through garlic). This is the dressing.

Place the quinoa in a large bowl and toss with half of the dressing. Set aside.

Place the kale and fresh herbs in a food processor, working in two batches if necessary, and pulse or process just until finely chopped.

Add the chopped kale and herbs to the quinoa bowl along with the onion, tomatoes, and remaining dressing. Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat (preferably an hour or longer, as it gets better as it sits). Best consumed within 4 days.

This salad makes a great vegetarian meal on its own, but Hoosband likes to serve it as a side dish with lamb or top it with canned salmon for a heartier main-dish salad.

Thanks for reading! Here's to Being the Secret Ingredient in your life.

1 comment:

T R Blankenship said...

Wonderful recipe! Great insight on the nutrition