Thursday, September 3, 2015

Recipe: Quinoa Tabouli Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

There's nothing quite like eating a REAL lunch to make you feel like you actually have your shit together. 

Not knocking the string-cheese quesadilla or an almond-butter & fluff sandwich, of course. They just feel a bit, ehm, desperate. As in I desperately need to go food shopping and reacquaint myself with actual foods that grow out of the earth. (HELLO VEGETABLES WHAT R U.)

Any time I'm in a lunch-rut (which is........ often), this quinoa tabouli salad pulls me right on out. I make one big batch in the beginning of the week, then keep the salad and the dressing separate in the fridge. Each day when I'm ready to eat, I mix up a smaller bowl of the quinoa salad with a big glug of lemon vinaigrette. This way the herbs and veggies stay nice and crisp throughout the week. 

When I'm feeling especially hangry or when feeding a boy who thinks there is no such thing as 'too much protein', I'll throw in a drained can of tuna or a few scoops of drained, rinsed beans (white cannellini or garbanzo). I'm sure you could get away with chicken, too, but... meh. Chicken.

Oh PS: shake up your salad dressings in jars!! They don't even have to be of the mason variety. Any clean jar will do. (I hoard Talenti gelato containers & Trader Joe's roasted red pepper jars.) Vinaigrettes tend to do that rude separating thing when they sit for a while, and it's easy enough to just give the jar a quick shake each time you use it.

PPS: I have not a clue what makes sprouted quinoa different from regular quinoa, but TruRoots was kind enough to send me a bag to try and it seemed to cook up just the same. A quick google tells me it's healthier, so basically after one bowl of this stuff I'm SUPER-HUMAN. 

Recipe: Quinoa Tabouli Salad with 
Lemon Vinaigrette 

Recipe Notes
- This makes a really big bowl of salad. It's great for a crowd, or to portion out for lunches throughout the week.
- If you don't like or have mint and/or chives, just leave them out! The parsley is key, so I wouldn't skip that. 
- The salad is pretty filling as-is, but for extra protein toss in drained, canned tuna or a can of drained, rinsed beans (maybe white cannellini or garbanzo).

For dressing (makes just over 1 cup):
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from ~3 lemons)
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp dijon mustard 
2 tsp honey
2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated on a microplane (~1 tsp)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper 

For salad:
1 cup uncooked quinoa (yields ~3 cups cooked; I used TruRoots sprouted quinoa)
1 cup gluten free chicken stock (sub another cup of water for vegetarian)
1 cup water
Olive oil for quinoa 
2 cups cucumbers cut into quarter-moons (equals 4 persian cucumbers)
2 cups diced grape tomatoes (equals almost one 16 oz. container)
1 cup roughly chopped, Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped chives

To cook quinoa:
Add quinoa, chicken stock and water to a pot. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low (as low as possible), and cover with a lid. Set timer for 15 minutes. Check after 13/14 minutes. As soon as all of the liquid is absorbed, remove from heat. Drizzle cooked quinoa with a bit of olive oil, gently toss, and cover with lid. Let sit for 10 minutes with lid on. 

To make dressing:
Add all dressing ingredients to a jar with a tight fitting lid. (Talenti ice cream containers work great!) Tighten lid, and shake vigorously until dressing is emulsified (will be thicker, creamy and pale yellow). 

To assemble salad:
In a large bowl, gently toss cooled quinoa (MUST be cooled or herbs will wilt) with cucumbers, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. Keep the salad and dressing separate until ready to serve. (I keep both in my fridge and mix up just enough for lunch each day.)

To serve:
Toss your desired portion of the quinoa salad with some of the dressing. Eat cold or room temp.

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