Monday, April 9, 2012

The Tabbouleh That Made Me Cry

It's Salad Week!!!!!!!  Are you as excited as I am?
I knew you would be.
The Usual Suspects, plus a few more new additions to our "Week" party bus, have come together again to offer you a week filled with fun and interesting salads that you can use as a snack, a tasty lunch, delicious side, or main course - whatever tickles your fancy.  Some of us are going for comfort.  A few are going for "wow, that's crazy!"  Others are focusing on healthy.  Regardless, we are all making sure that you will be set with plenty of tastiness to go around.
Now, we are changing things up a bit to make everyone a bit more comfortable.  We're the kind of people who don't mind when you take off your shoes and unbutton your pants after dinner.  Just keep the pants on, for heaven's sake.  Each day this week, a handful of us will be posting a favorite salad recipe with you.  Then, Saturday, we're asking for your participation; I'm hosting a Linky Party, and I hope that you will post the links to your favorite salad recipes.

Let's kick things off, then, shall we?

A few weeks ago, I got one of my usual Hankerings For Middle Eastern right around dinner time, and since we had chickpeas and pita, I knew I could make it a Reality.
But while pita and hummus alone qualify as a complete meal in my book, I knew I'd need something more.  I also knew that there was a bunch of parsley in the crisper, and it needed to be dealt with before it became another victim of Garnishes Gone Bad Before Their Time.

Well, duh - tabbouleh!

Now, I like it, but I don't usually love tabbouleh.  It's good as a bite or so along with my falafel and grape leaves, but it's not usually something I think of, and it's certainly not what I crave when I'm in the mood for a side to my baba ghanoush.  I knew, then, that if I was going to make it at home, I'd need to have a heftier portion, so I needed to jazz it up a bit.
Thankfully the internet knew what I needed, like it usually does.  It led me to quinoa tabbouleh.
Oh, sweet Jebus, hold me.

This. Is. Brilliant.  The quinoa has a lovely, nutty flavor that bulgur or couscous just can't offer, and the protein punch it packs meant that this would be a perfect "main" portion of the meal, leaving the hummus to be the side.
Of course, I never have everything that a recipe calls for, so I modified the recipe linked above.
I used...

  • 1 cup red quinoa, cooked (I like a 1-1.5 ratio of quinoa to water)
  • chopped scallions
  • 1 bunch of finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 (maybe 3) chopped Roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 chopped cucumber (we used the rest to convey hummus to the mouth)
  • a lot of minced garlic
  • juice of 3 limes (you put the lime in the quinoa...)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • some dried oregano
  • some dried basil
  • some red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
I tossed everything together, and voila!  The Tabbouleh Salad That Made Me Cry.
Seriously.  11/10 at worst.
***I would have used mint if my mint plant was further along in getting settled into its new garden-y home, but I didn't want to shock the poor plant more than it already was.
Oh, and I think that the lime works way better in this salad than lemon.  I'm sure I'll be even more convinced of that when I add mint (mojito, anyone?)  But that's just me.  You can choose your own citrus.  I don't want to be pushy.  
Use the lime.

What I really liked about the quinoa was that it was the star.  I don't love a tabbouleh that is overly parsleyed (is that a word? it's a word now, OK?).  I mean, there is a reason parsley is used sparingly in most recipes, so those tabboulehs that are more parsley than Other Things are just not my cup of tea.  But this recipe has enough parsley that you know you're going to have fresh breath, despite the garlic (I used a lot of garlic), but not so much that you feel like you're eating grass cuttings.  And let's face it - quinoa has a way better texture than a ball of chopped parsley anyway, so the chewing was much more pleasant than many a traditional tabbouleh I have sampled.  There was just the hint of a crunch, but not like I'd undercooked it, just that nice little toothy resistance that makes biting into a food satisfying.
OK, now go.  Go make this.   Now.  The temps are warming up.  You need something fresh and light and completely refreshing along with your cocktail (you deserve a cocktail - did I mention that? because you do).  This is that fresh and light thing you need.  You won't be sorry.  
Just make sure to use the lime.
And don't forget to check out the Lovely Ladies of Salad Week:
  • Jeanne from Inside NanaBread's Head is up tomorrow.*  Don't worry - there will be plenty of salad to go around.
  • Lauren over at Climbing Grier Mountain will be getting us through Hump Day.
  • On Thursday, do not pass Go, do not collect $200, but do visit both Kat at Tenaciously Yours, and Monica from The Grom Mom to see what they have on tap.
  • Kirsten from Comfortably Domestic and Country Cleaver's Megan will be making Friday that much better with their offerings.
  • And then, yes, Saturday, come back around for a second helping from all of us before posting your favorite salad recipe on the link party (PAAAAAAARTAY!) right back here at Decadent Philistines Save the World.
*8:30 PM update - Carrie at Bakeaholic Mama is having some technical difficulties with the post she had planned for tomorrow, so she sent a message saying she probably won't be able to get it going in time, so I've taken down her link in the schedule, but she will be back for Saturday's postings, so don't fret! :)


  1. This is fan-freaking-tastic! I love tabbouleh, but never thought to use quinoa as the base. Brilliant, I tell ya. Oh, and I also agree that things can be over parsleyed!

  2. I did try making tabbouleh once with cauliflower (seriously) and it was rather lovely, but I really love the idea of using quinoa as a protein-y, nutritionally valid base. Adore.

  3. This is so great--I can't wait to try it…And I'm so excited about the whole week ahead!
    Getting my post ready for the linkup Saturday!
    Thanks for sharing…

  4. I've never tried tabbouleh and apparently that is leaving me with a big gaping hole in my life…I guess I better get on this huh? Yup, i should because it looks delicious. And if it's "Cry into my Tabbouleh" worthy - it must be epic.

  5. I'm afraid of quinoa now. I tried it once and it was bitter and mushy. I think I was supposed to soak it first (but didn't) and I obviously over-cooked it. I'm going to have to get over it, though, because I really want to try this recipe. Gonna have to dust off my old headband and put on some Rocky music.

  6. You totally had me at quinoa! Here I was expecting the customary bed of chopped parsley, and you put up this! Awesome. I think I teared up a little, too.

  7. I'm super excited for Salad Week! I have never tried tabbouleh either... guess I better get on this!

  8. It really is so refreshing, and super easy. I am lazy and don't pre-soak my quinoa, so I'm sure it would be even better that way. I am definitely making this again and again. And again.