Quinoa Tabbouleh

Quinoa is an ancient grain and one of the most nutritious foods on earth. The Whole Grains Council recommends 3 to 5 daily servings of whole grains and this colorful, flavorful salad, often called tabbouleh in the Middle East, is a delicioius way to meet your quota. It makes a wonderful luncheon or side dish. Or, add cooked shrimp or cooked chicken for a heartier main dish.

To cook quinoa:

1 can (14.5 ournces) or 1¾ cups gluten-free low-sodium chicken broth
¾ cup water
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 cup uncooked quinoa
½ teaspoon salt

Salad:

¼ cup shelled raw pumpkin seeds
1 English (hothouse) cucumber, unpeeled and chopped
3 green onions, washed and thinly slices
1 small red bell pepper, washed, cored, and diced
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese, or more to taste (optional)

Dressing:

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
⅛ teaspoon white pepper, or to taste

[1] Put the chicken broth, water, and oil in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa and salt, reduce the heat to low, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, covered, or until the quinoa is tender. Remove from the heat and cool 10 minutes. Drain the quinoa well.

[2] Toss the cooked quinoa and the salad ingredients (except feta cheese) in a large serving bowl.

[3] Combine the dressing ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake vigorously to blend. Pour over quinoa mixture and toss until all the ingredients are thoroughly coated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate 4 hours. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes before serving. Toss with the feta cheese (if using) just before serving. Makes 4 servings.

How to Rinse Quinoa

Most quinoa has already been rinsed to rid it of the bitter saponin coating, particularly the Bob’s Red Mill and Ancient Harvest brands. Saponin, a natural coating that wards off birds and insects, won’t hurt humans but the quinoa tastes better without it. If you’re not sure whether your quinoa has been rinsed, it doesn’t hurt to rinse it again in a sieve, rubbing the grains between your fingers. Drain and repeat until the water runs clear.