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About the author – Alexandra from Its Not Complicated Recipes is from Adelaide, South Australia and lives with her two gorgeous Birman cats. Alexandra’s recipes are uncomplicated and foolproof. She loves to demonstrate that delicious food can be prepared quickly and simply from everyday ingredients.
Alexandra has converted this popular Middle Eastern salad into a vegan and gluten-free version, so I’m very excited to share it with you. I love quinoa and use it instead of rice and also in salads. It’s highly nutritious and is a complete plant protein too.
Quinoa contains all 9 amino acids
Quinoa is ideal for vegetarians and vegans as it contains all 9 amino acids, lots of fibre, vitamin B6, iron and magnesium too. It comes in three colours; the most popular is white, but it also comes in red and black too.
Quinoa is one of the healthiest foods
Did you know quinoa is one of the healthiest foods? It contains more protein than any other grain. Quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wah) is also rich in fibre, antioxidants, minerals and amino acids. It can help with cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and may even help weight loss!
1 cup of quinoa will provide twice the amount of protein than rice and a lot more fibre. So by swapping grains, you can make a huge improvement to your diet and still feel full!
I eat this for lunch, sometimes with pomegranate seeds on top, or as a side dish with dinner. I also find if I keep a bowl of this in the fridge, I’m less likely to grab bad snacks.
How to cook Quinoa
Quinoa is cooked by an absorption method, similar to a method used for rice. (See below)
You can eat quinoa in a soup or stew, or have it with roasted vegetables as a hot dish. You can also have it cold or as a salad dish. When it cools, try dressing it with olive oil and lemon juice, and season to taste, then add to a mixed salad.
It keeps well for a few days in the fridge, as the flavours develop even more over time.
Quinoa Tabouli Recipe
Bright and tangy, this gluten free and vegan version of tabouli is perfect as a side dish or an even more nutritious main with the addition of feta or chickpeas.
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed well
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice or to taste
- 1/2 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 3 spring onions finely sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves chopped
- 2 cups flat leaf parsley finely chopped
- 250 gram cherry tomatoes quartered
- salt and pepper to taste
Put the quinoa in a fine meshed sieve and rinse well under cold running water, swishing the quinoa with your hand. Drain the quinoa well.
Pour 2 cups of water into a medium saucepan, add the quinoa, bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes, until the seeds are tender. When they’re cooked you will notice they have little curly “tails”.
Remove from the heat, place a clean tea towel or 3 layers of paper towel over the saucepan, place the lid back on and stand 5 minutes. The tea towel/paper towel will absorb excess moisture.
Place in a bowl and leave to cool.
Mix well and check the seasoning, adding lemon juice, salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed. Serve either at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.
This salad is even better the next day as the flavours have developed.
*Cooking the quinoa by the absorption method just means that the quinoa will absorb the amount of water used. Make sure the quinoa is well drained after rinsing.
*It is important to thoroughly rinse the quinoa. Rinsing helps remove the outside coating of the grain, called saponin, which can cause a slightly bitter taste. The saponin is a naturally occurring chemical which is there to deter insects.
*The amount of lemon juice is determined by personal taste and the strength of flavour of the variety of lemon. I use 3 tablespoons of lemon juice as I like it to have a bright, lemony tang.
*Commercial parsley has sometimes been standing in water so I cut off the lower part of the stem. I also remove very coarse stems but leave the rest on. You need a sharp knife to very finely slice the parsley. Don’t chop too vigorously, you will bruise the leaves.
Please don’t use a food processor to chop the herbs, it will bruise them.
Doesn’t it look great? And so easy!
In this cold weather, I need lots of healthy prepared foods and snacks, otherwise I head straight to the cookie jar.
Eating a high nutrient-dense diet helps to ward off all those colds and flu, and we need to stay healthy as Christmas is coming!
Make sure you check out Its Not Complicated Recipes for lots more delicious recipes!
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