summer garden salad with quinoa tabouleh

This salad of fresh-cut flavorful leafy greens gives upward, creative energy. Classic tabouli is made with bulgur wheat but I substituted gluten-free quinoa for the bulgur. Bulgur is a cracked grain while quinoa is a whole seed; it is a complete protein that is rich in iron and other minerals.

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serves 2-4

INgredients

for the quinoa:

2 cups quinoa

about 1 teaspoon sea salt

1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley

2 large or 3 medium-sized tomatoes

2-3 cucumbers

4-6 sprigs fresh mint

4-5 scallions

2 lemons

2 Tablespoons EVOO

for the salad, a few leaves of each:

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baby bok choy

red oak lettuce

green oak lettuce

red romaine lettuce

nasturtium leaves

upland cress

mizuna

basil

parsley

mint

1 chive

a few edible flowers (here, tricolor viola)

for the lemon tahini salad dressing:

4 Tablespoons toasted sesame tahini

½ onion or 1 whole shallot

juice of 2 lemons

1 umeboshi plum, pitted and mashed (or 1 teaspoon ume plum paste)

¼ cup spring or filtered water

Process First, prepare the quinoa. Quinoa must be washed thoroughly at least three times to prevent it from tasting bitter.

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The bitterness comes from saponin, a natural soapy-tasting chemical that coats each quinoa seed to protect the plant from predators. Rinse the quinoa well by immersing it in a bowl of cold water, letting it sit for 5 minutes or more, and then agitating and rinsing it well. The water will look bubbly and sudsy, as above. Repeat this three times. In a medium-sized pot, pour 4 cups water. Add a pinch of sea salt and bring to a boil. Add the washed quinoa, allow water to boil again; lower the flame to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for about 30 minutes, until all water is absorbed. Allow quinoa to sit for about 10 minutes and then transfer it to a glass or ceramic bowl and allow to cool. Note: you can cook the quinoa the night before and store it in the fridge. In the meantime chop the parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, scallions and mint into tiny pieces and set aside.

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When the quinoa is cool, add a small amount (about one fifth of it) to a large glass or ceramic mixing bowl. Layer the qunioa, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, scallions and mint. Then mix them together.

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I layer the ingredients so the quinoa gets infused with the flavors of the herbs. Mix it all together each time you add a layer. Pour the lemon juice, drizzle the olive oil and season with sea salt.

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Garnish with edible flowers. Note: if you are feeding 2-4 people, you will have a lot of quinoa tabouli left over. Stored in a covered glass container in the fridge, it will keep for up to three days. Now make the green salad.  Wash all the leafy greens and herbs well by immersing them in water. After all the chopping you did to make the tabouli, tear these green leaves and place in a bowl.

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It is best to chop the basil, parsley, mint and chive into tiny pieces. Add them to the salad in the bowl and mix it all together well.In a medium-sized glass jar with a lid, mix all salad dressing ingredients. Shake well, pour over the green salad

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and serve.

©Nancy Wolfson-Moche 2014