A very tasty tabouleh-like salad that is bursting at the seams with flavour, nutrition and texture. It has everything we love in a salad, crunch, creaminess and a zesty kick to top things off. Colour is also one of the elements that makes tabouleh salads like this stand out from the iceberg lettuce brigade. I don’t mess around too much in the presentation stakes, but a salad like tabouleh, with good fresh ingredients just looks wonderful no matter what you do to it! A tabouleh is the perfect way of showcasing amazing produce.
Quinoa (keen-wah) is a wonderful sprout/ seed, related to Kale and the fuel for many an Inca in times gone by. I presume we all know what it is by now! It seems to have been all the rage for many years and rightly so. It has a great, strong flavour and is superbly healthy (see below, ‘Foodie Fact’) which is the main reason we have used it here instead of the traditional bulgur wheat.
Tri-colour tabouleh is a new one on us, Jane picked it up in Glastonbury. It has a slightly fuller, earthy flavour than normal especially when roasted slightly before cooking (top tip!). It initially reminded us of France, tri-colour and all, but it’s tabouleh heart is most certainly in the middle east, however the flavours here are quite European!? A suitably confused dish, ideal for two nomads living on a green hill then (that’s us!). Tri-colour quinoa seems to be a mixture of red, black and normal beige quinoa.
The ingredients here are changeable, please replace the cheese with tofu if you are vegan; and use whatever is seasonal and looking good. As always, let your imagination run wild!
This recipe fills one very lucky salad bowl.
250g tri-colour quinoa, 2 handfuls rocket, 1/3 cup roasted pine nuts, 1 cup pitted green olives,125g aged feta (cut into 2cm cubes), 6 cherry tomatoes (cut in quarters), 1 yellow pepper (chopped small cubes), 100ml good fruity olive oil, 1 small red onion (finely diced), 2 stick celery (finely diced), juice of 1 lemon, 1 handful chopped parsley, 1 handful chopped mint, sea salt and cracked black pepper.
In a saucepan, roast the quinoa on a medium heat until it is going slightly brown (5 minutes). It will pop a little, let it. Then cover with 1cm of water (thats 1cm above the quinoa) and a pinch of salt, bring to a boil and lower heat and cover. It will take 15 minutes to cook, then fluff up with a fork and set aside to cool.
Place all ingredients in large salad bowl and gently mix together. Whisk up your lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl.
Roast off your pine nuts on a medium/low heat until getting golden. Keep an eye on them, they are precious these little fellows and burn easily.
When quite cool (but not cold) add your quinoa to the salad mix and combine gently together. Serve immediately to great plaudits and smiles.
Here we added a few more greens to finish (mint and rocket), we actually like it slightly warm, it brings it all to life and the olive oil will give off a very fruity aroma. For us a tabouleh is a main course affair, definitely not a side salad. This is a star and needs no trimmings!
Quinoa is a great source of amino acids, the vitamin B’s and has the highest level of iron found in any grain. It is also a great source of protien. Quinoa is the only grain that contains all of the essential amino acids that the body needs, the Incas knew this and called it the ‘Chisiya Mama’ – the mother grain. The early Andean civilizations ate more quinoa than corn! Quinoa is pretty much the complete food.
PS – Its also gluten free. X
What better way to celebrate cooking with some ‘tri-colour’ than with some Serge Gainsbourg, ‘Alor, voila!’: