Quinoa Tabbouleh Recipe

Father’s Day is this Sunday and we are getting ready to celebrate the man of the house.  I have already begun planning my menu, which no doubt will involve some grilling since we all know that’s a man’s favorite thing to do.  If my husband had his way, the meal would consist of cheeseburgers, hot dogs, grilled corn and ice cream sandwiches.  And the reason my husband has been able to maintain his girlish figure all these years is because he is not in charge of meals.  Before you accuse me of being no fun whatsoever, please know that grass-fed burgers with raw cheddar cheese and Applegate Farms organic grass-fed hot dogs will be in the house.  Thankfully several people in our family like my turkey burgers enough that I will be making a batch of those.  But more importantly, what am I going to eat?

Did I really find a way to make Father’s Day all about me?  No, no, this will be Dad’s day, but it’s my job to make sure there’s a little balance in the meal and protein for the non-hot dog eaters.  Like me.  When I think about one of my favorite things to make for a backyard barbecue, something versatile enough to complement anything, delicious in its own right, lovely to look at and healthful enough that you can almost justify eating all that meat, quinoa tabbouleh immediately comes to mind.  Just look at it!  Light and bouncy quinoa mixed with sweet cherry tomatoes (use whatever colors you like), crunchy cucumber and all those fresh herbs.  Who wouldn’t want to eat it?  Don’t answer that, because I know what you’re thinking.  I took this salad to my friend Karen and Jonathan’s house the other day for a barbecue and every man there not only tried the quinoa, but finished every little grain.

Quinoa works really well as a substitute for tabbouleh’s traditional bulgar wheat.  (Like you really need to eat more gluten.)  You can even mix different colors of quinoa and different colors of tomatoes.  When I brought it to Karen’s, the quinoa was still too warm to mix with all the vegetables and herbs so I kept that in a separate container and brought a little glass jar with the lemon juice, olive oil and salt.  Everything else was prepared ahead and kept in a serving bowl.  Before we sat down to eat, I mixed the quinoa with the vegetables and herbs and poured in the dressing.  Super easy, really nutritious and you know what?  Real men don’t eat quiche, but they do eat quinoa!

 

Quinoa Tabbouleh
Author: 
Serves: serves 6 as a side dish
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • Sea salt
  • 2 cups diced unpeeled Persian or Japanese cucumber (or cucumber with a tasty skin)
  • 2 cups halved or quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¾ cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley or as much as you can chop -- the more, the better!
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Rinse quinoa in a bowl with water or place quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cold water until water runs clear. Transfer to a saucepan and add a healthy pinch of sea salt and 1 ¾ cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes.
  2. Transfer quinoa to a serving bowl and allow to cool. Fluff with a fork periodically.
  3. Combine cooled quinoa and remaining ingredients plus 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt. Toss to mix well. Taste for seasoning.

 

 

Minted sugar snap peas recipe

Minted Sugar Snap Peas | Pamela Salzman

Minted Sugar Snap Peas | Pamela Salzman

When I’m not teaching cooking classes, I volunteer as a garden educator for a non-profit organization called Growing Great.  I help students at a local elementary school maintain a beautiful organic garden as well as teach them the fundamentals about growing vegetables and fruit.  I think it’s really important that our kids know where our food comes from.  I am fortunate to have grown up with gardens my whole life.  My father has an unbelievable green thumb and we were lucky enough to be able to go to the backyard before dinner and find something that looked good enough to eat.  Yet, no matter how many times I plant a seed in the ground, I am still amazed at what happens.  With some sun, water and a little TLC, that little granule turns into a gorgeous plant that bears incredible-tasting vegetables.

This year our little school garden had a bounty of sugar snap peas.  We picked baskets upon baskets of them to sell at the school’s annual farmer’s market, although we would have had pounds more but the kids couldn’t resist eating them straight off the vine.  Far be it from me to discourage them!  Sugar snap peas are always the most popular spring vegetable that we sell.  They are even more sweet and juicy when they are freshly picked — a real treat!  They are perfect raw in a lunchbox or as an afterschool snack.  But I just love any peas when paired with mint.  It’s a match made in heaven.

If you can find really fresh snap peas, you won’t have to do much to them to make them taste divine.  This recipe is incredibly easy to prepare and delicious in its simplicity.  The only “work” here is trimming the peas and I usually have one of my kids do that.

Minted Sugar Snap Peas | Pamela Salzman

Since the peas cook so quickly, I usually call everyone down for dinner and then turn the heat on under the pot.  I can always count on a little bickering before everyone settles down to his or her seat, so the timing is perfect.  Just keep to the short cook time.  I do think snap peas are better with a little crunch.  This preparation also works with carrots, asparagus, and English peas, too.  If you mix a few together, you’ll just have Springtime in a bowl.

Minted Sugar Snap Peas | Pamela Salzman

Minted Sugar Snap Peas
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter or unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced or 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint
  • 3-4 Tablespoons water
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, add all the ingredients. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender.
  2. Remove garlic if that’s what you used. Season to taste for salt. That's all there is to it. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.
Notes
Sometimes I like to add the zest of one small orange, lemon or lime to the pot.