Tabbouleh is a traditional middle-eastern salad, usually made with bulgur wheat. In this tabbouleh I’ve swapped the bulgur wheat for protein packed quinoa, due to its fabulous nutritional content. Quinoa is not a grain but a seed, rich in many minerals such as magnesium and zinc, as well as protein. Being wheat and gluten free, it is suitable for those with food intolerances.
The star of the dish however is the parsley. Parsley is particularly rich in folate, the natural form of folic acid (which in turn is only found in supplements). Folate is a type of B vitamin that is well known to be necessary in early pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects in the baby. Folate is also necessary for the prevention of anaemia, whilst reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Parsley also happens to be a great source of vitamin K, which you may know about as it is usually given to babies to prevent Vitamin K deficiency in the newborn. Together with the tomatoes, cucumber, and radishes, this makes a satisfying and nutritious light meal. By adding feta cheese and serving it with a poached or boiled egg you can make this dish a little more substantial. To top it off with a nice touch of sweet and sour, add some pomegranate seeds.
One last note about this salad: remember to check your teeth for any bits of parsley before you go back to work!
RECIPE Serves 2 Total time: 20 minutes
300ml water or stock
75g fresh flat-leaf parsley
30g fresh mint
6 small spring onions, thinly sliced
150g cherry tomatoes, quartered
Half a cucumber, sliced and quartered
100g radishes, quartered
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
50g feta cheese (optional)
Salt & Pepper
Place the water or stock in a pot and bring to a boil. Rinse the quinoa and add to the boiling water. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the quinoa to simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the quinoa to rest for 10 minutes, before draining any remaining water (if any). Meanwhile, wash and carefully chop the parsley, including the stalks, and place in a large bowl. Wash and pick the mint leaves off their stalks, chop, and add them to the parsley. Add the chopped spring onions, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and radishes (and any other vegetables you might want to add!). Once the quinoa has cooled, add to the rest of the ingredients. Top with the crumbled feta cheese (if using). If you are eating the tabbouleh right away add the lemon juice and olive oil. If you are storing it for the next day, add the dressing before eating. Season to taste, and serve.