Friday, 23 March 2012

Quinoa Tabouli, and Going Over to the Dark Side

Technology doesn't like me, and the feeling is mutual. I took the longest time to be persuaded to get facebook for myself back in school when everyone had it already. It was a miracle I started blogging. And for the longest time, I've resisted getting twitter (Why would anyone care what I'm doing at this minute? Why's there a word limit? What's a #? Cute bird I guess.)

I don't know why, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to hate it, but I've gone over to the dark side. If anyone would like to follow me (as in Mummy, I can cook) on facebook or twitter, please do.

I'm also going over to the much brighter Greece next week, so there will be no news from me for a week on the blog. Oh, and facebook and twitter. I'm starting to question my decision already. Onto happier thoughts, I'm really excited to get a much-needed break after a crazy school term, and in sunny Greece with her gorgeous beaches and fascinating history and most of all, her food. I've already done my research i.e. highlighted the signature Greek dishes, chowhoundedthe must-eat places, and annotated, circled and double-underlined the foods I want to eat.

Here's a little bit of Greece before I fly. Tabouli is usually made with bulgur wheat, but I don't have that, so I used quinoa instead. It's has similar tiny fluffy nutty grains, while being gluten-free and incredibly high in everything good for you (though with all whole grains, do soak to ease digestion). Don't dismiss it as some yucky health food store "thing"; it has a delicious nutty flavour and I also use it as an alternative to couscous for moroccan-style food.

Quinoa Tabouli
serves 4-6 as a mezze
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa (rinsed and preferably soaked for a few hours)
3 large handfuls of parsley
1 handful of mint
2 stalks spring onions (or 1/2 a red onion, but an asian kitchen = spring onions)
1 large tomato*
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
unrefined sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste

*At Pimlico farmer's market, we have organic tomatoes from The Tomato Stall, pretty much throughout the year. I don't know how they do it, I think it's some greenhouse technology, coupled with apparently really good weather at the Isle of Wight. But I find the tomatoes have only started becoming sweeter and juicier this past week, hurrah!

1. First, cook the quinoa. I like to saute the grains in a little oil first to release its nutty flavour before adding water, bringing to a boil, and letting it simmer till just cooked, about 10 min +/-. To keep it light and 'al dente', I typically add less than twice the amount of quinoa, especially since I also soak it. Fluff and leave to cool.
2. Then prepare the rest of the salad by chopping the vegetables and herbs up finely.
3. Combine evoo, lemon, salt and pepper, and mix with everything else.

That's it! Super easy and refreshing, you can mix up a larger batch at a go and chuck it in the fridge, having it whenever you want to feel virtuous. You'll notice there's very little quinoa in this, but I read that authentic tabouli is like that, very much a refreshing salad on a hot day, and a very light side to accompany heavier mains. It's a burst of green freshness after what seems like forever on the root vegetable front. Here's to the sun!


  1. Now you need to get on Pinterest too! Can't wait to try this! Loving your recipes.

  2. Girl! You do it right, love the recipe and the picture :)

  3. Second the pinterest! And welcome to Twitter. Always looking for good quinoa recipes - bookmarking this one.

  4. I love tabouleh but never made it with quinoa before. Have a great holiday.

  5. lucky u! I wish I could see greece, I can imagine how excited u r! Nice Tabouleh, I was thinking that day of making some for lunch. its light and delicious!

  6. That looks really nice and Spring like-great stuff!!

  7. Interesting that nearly all of us have rice in the pantry, ut not bulgur or quinoa. Go figure.

  8. Wow Grece will be fabulous! Can't wait to come back here to see the photos and hear all about it. This tabouli is great, I like the idea of using quinoa rather that bulgur.

  9. Greece sounds great, have a great vacation

  10. I cooked my first quinoa yesterday as my baby's food in porridge form.
    He tried to pick out the "rings" that came off the quinoa.
    I liked it, but he doesn't seem to.

  11. Your tabouli looks wonderful and is very tempting. Have a wonderful holiday. Blessings...Mary

  12. stephanie: oh, thank you! I actually do have Pinterest, surprise surprise. that didn't take much convincing because I was longing for something like that. i study graphic design so I have loads of inspiration boards and folders in, this made it so much easier!

    munaty: thank you!

    katy: ok, hmm I just updated this entry with my Pinterest. feel free to follow, though it's er really quite random and messy :/

    corina: thanks corina, quinoa is a similar but a nice substitute!

    helene: and easy!

    green dragonette: yah, the sun's been shining the past few days, and I was actually out without a jacket today. ahhh, spring.

    stephen: haha I know, i actually have 3 kinds of rice in my pantry. Quinoa and bulgur are very differnt texture wise from rice though, so I do like having it for when i want to shake things up a little, and quinoa is the choice of grain for me both taste and nutrition-wise (:

    lyndsey: I myself can't wait to eat all those food and take photos of them to share haha.

    dom: yay!

    three-cookies: thanks, I can't wait!

    wendy: I actually prefer cooking it aldeente so it's nice and fluffy/nutty! Because I like my porridge more sticky and creamy, I prefer using rice etc for it, and quinoa's more expensive than rice, so I find it a 'waste' to use it in porridge! hehe I understand about the rings. I was a little freaked by them too at first!

    mary: thanks mary (:

  13. I LOVE this and will definitely put it on my list of recipes "to try soon" - It looks so fresh and delicious!

  14. Have a lovely time in Greece!

  15. I'm now stalking... er, following you on FB and Twitter :D I never tried using quinoa as a tabbouleh base before - I think it would be great, and yours looks so fresh and green - love it. I was making a lot of green tabboulehs a while ago, but haven't in ages... not sure why I stopped. You've inspired me to start up again, and I just bought some more quinoa today!

    Have a lovely time in Greece!

  16. What an incredible twist on tabouleh! I make it very often when tomatoes are at their best. It is easily addictive. Thanks for this wonderful idea! (I'll check but I think I have some quinoa I have never cooked...). Have fun in Greece! (I have heard they have extraordinary grilled octopus!)

  17. Welcome to the dark side and to spending hours wasting your time on social's so much fun! Your tabbouleh looks lovely :-)

  18. I have parsley, mint and green onion in my garden; quinoa, evoo, salt and pepper in my pantry, missing tomato and lemon. Hate store bought tomato but will have to break down and buy one so I can make the lovely salad.
    Have a great Greece vacation.

  19. Lucky you flying to Greece!

    I love eating Tabouli and eating it with quinoa is such a innovative and healthy idea. Will love to make this salad for my family.

  20. I'm like you! I didn't get facebook until one of my friends made one in my name (and you know, I had to use it, lest he do bad things on my account) and I still don't really understand twitter and pinterest... Oh, Greece, I'm so jealous! I hope you have an amazing time and eat lots of fab food and take lots of gorgeous photos!

    This quinoa tabouli looks delicious and refreshing!

  21. What a gorgeous dish with beautiful colors. I'm jealous you are going to Greece! Have fun!!! And take lots of pictures please. I'm following you on Facebook and twitter. =) Welcome!

  22. I really like your version of tabbouleh and love quinoa too. Haven't bought it in ages.... Your colourful salad is just so good I think I need to make it! Sorry to say the dark side will take up a lot of your free time, I hardly watch TV anymore! x

  23. I love quinoa and tabbouleh, but I have never had a combination of the two. This sounds fantastic!

  24. A very simple yet interesting combinations!

  25. ileana: thanks!

    farine: thank you, hope you do try it soon!

    charles: heh unfortunately, killing the fb account..yay you bought more quinoa! (:

    sissi: thanks! had the grilled octopus(:

    norma: haha go ahead and break down, youahev everything you need!

    the littleloaf: GRR, i know, twitter's been pretty addictive. and yes, a waste of time.

    zoe: thank you! i had a great time!

    kyleen: haha your friend is evil. yes, i did have an amazing time in greece and eat lots of fab food and take lots of gorgeous photos (:

    nami: thank you! see you on twitter!

    laura: thanks laura! gah, why did i start.

    ashlea: try them together(:

    mycookinghut: thanks!