Simply Whole Kitchen

September 3, 2012

Quinoa Tabbouleh {Food Matters Project}

I think you learn the most about someone through their food.  You can ask them all sorts of questions, listen to their stories, but the easiest and quickest way to learn about anyone is through the food they like to eat and make.  I had that experience through this recipe!
I am SO excited to be hosting the Food Matters Project this week!  I choose this recipe because my in-laws, well most of them, are Lebanese and I don't think I ever ate Tabbouleh before meeting them.  I thought I could learn so much more about them by actually taking time to make the food they love (because I love to eat the food they make!).  I now have a deeper understanding of their love, their family and their culture through making this dish.
In preparation to make this dish, I asked my mother-in-law about her tabbouleh (which is SO good) and how she learned to make it from her mom.  I was surprised to learn, that like many recipes from my family, that it wasn't a written down recipe, it was a long-learned process of watching and tasting.  She said she just sat in the kitchen and watched her mom chop and mix the ingredients together.  It is amazing how similar our families are....something I learned through food!
This is a recipe of love.  A recipe that takes a lot of time to chop and make (although it is an easy make ahead dish), I felt the love of his family while I made it.  And I learned a lot about my hubby's grandmother in the process.  I never met his grandmother, she passed away long before I even met my husband, but I thought about her while making this.  I even asked my husband when I was finished "would Sitti be proud of this?"  He assured me that she would be, no matter what it tasted like (but it was yummmmy!) because it was done in honor and remembrance of her and her family. 
I feel like I got to know her by taking the time to learn more about her food.  You should try it!  And try this delicious dish.  It is a lot of chopping, but worth every minute of time, energy, and ounce of love that you put into it!  Enjoy!

Quinoa Tabbouleh
from Mark Bittman's Food Matters Cookbook
1/2 c quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/3 c olive oil, more as needed
1/4 c lemon juice, or more as needed
black pepper
1 c roughly chopped fresh parsley
1 c roughly chopped fresh mint
1 c cooked or canned white or pink beans, drained, optional
6 or 7 radishes, chopped
1/2 c chopped scallions
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
about 6 black olives, pitted and chopped, or to taste, optional
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/4 c chopped pistachios or almonds, optional

Put the quinoa in a small saucepan with 3/4 c water and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low.  Cover and bubble gently until the quinoa as absorbed all of the water, 15 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and let rest, covered for 5 minutes.  Toss the warm quinoa with the oil and lemon juice and sprinkle with pepper.

Just before you're ready to eat, add the remaining ingredients and toss gently.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more oil or lemon juice as needed, then serve.


Blogger Lexi said...

Beautiful salad Sara and great story.

September 3, 2012 at 12:29 PM  
Anonymous Angie @ Rustic Feast said...

Oh yum! This looks so refreshing! And so beautiful!

September 3, 2012 at 1:27 PM  
Anonymous Meg @ said...

Looks beautiful, and thanks for sharing the story! Recipes often seem to embody family traditions and history. I'm so glad you got to pick something meaningful for you.

September 3, 2012 at 2:20 PM  
Anonymous Sarah W. said...

This was a great recipe choice. I had never even thought of attempting tabbouleh myself before last week. Very inspired to try a few more versions of this salad before the weather takes a turn for the cool.

September 4, 2012 at 10:20 AM  
OpenID prairiesummers said...

I think watching and listening to mom's and grannies is a great way to learn about food. I pray that my daughter will one day be inspired to cook her own meals by me being in the kitchen with me.

September 4, 2012 at 12:13 PM  
Anonymous Cristen said...

Yum, why didn't I think to sub quinoa for bulgur/couscous or other gluten item?? It might work with my new favorite: millet! It is gluten free and takes a lot like couscous - fluffy and small grains.

September 4, 2012 at 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Evi said...

Great choice, I can never get enough of tabbouleh! Love that you incorporated your family into this meal, fantastic way to celebrate families!

September 18, 2012 at 3:43 PM  

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