Humans slow down when things get hot. We take it easy. Which is a natural way to conserve energy. So it makes sense that summer is about easy eating. I’m not talking health-sapping fast foods or junky convenience products that can ruin your looks, your health, your mood and your energy levels. I’m talking about simple-to-make, energy-packed, fiber-filled, phytonutrient-rich superfood dishes, like the tabbouleh recipe below. Instead of using bulgur (which is basically cracked wheat—not so good for those of us who prefer going sans gluten) this Superfood Tabbouleh uses quinoa.
Why I love quinoa: It’s protein rich (a serving of this salad will give you five grams of protein!), is loaded with phytonutrients which help target inflammation in the body and prevent cancer and other illnesses, and contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals. In fact, a 3/4-cup serving will give you 58.5% of your recommended dietary allowance of manganese, 29.6% of magnesium, 19.4% of folate and 18.4% of zinc. You’ll also get almost 21% of your RDA of fiber. And it’s delicious, easy to cook, and it can be used in a wide variety of healthy recipes.
Makes 6 servings
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed very well to get rid of saponins (soapy-tasting coating)
¼ – 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more if needed to taste
Black pepper, to taste
2-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (my husband and I prefer 4, my kids prefer 2)
1 or 2 garlic clove, minced (again, my hubby and I prefer the larger number)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 small cucumbers or 1 large English hot house cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 pint red or yellow (or half and half) cherry tomatoes, halved
½ to 2/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (swap in cilantro for a different taste)
¼ to 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 to 4 scallions with some of the green, thinly sliced
1. Bring quinoa, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
2. Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Add cooked quinoa, cucumber, tomatoes, herbs, and scallions to a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Drizzle ingredients with dressing, gently tossing to coat all ingredients.
5. I like to let the flavors blend for at least 20 minutes before serving, but you can serve immediately if you’d like. Adjust seasoning if necessary before serving.
6. Can be made 1 day ahead and kept, tightly covered, in the fridge.
For more great quinoa recipes, check out one of my favorite cookbooks: Quinoa: The Everyday Superfood – 150 Gluten-Free Recipes (Sonoma Press).