Thursday, April 15, 2010

Italian Spring Tabbouleh

As spring is beginning to peek through the final days of our brisk Montana winter, fantasies of light, cleansing salads come into the forefront. Even though it is a little early season-wise for tomatoes and cucumbers, one can find a good, local hydroponic heirloom tomato in this neck of the woods with a bit of persistence. And fresh basil to boot.

For those of you unfamiliar with quinoa, think Peruvian superfood. An excellent source of vegetarian protein, this grain is difficult to match. Quinoa makes a fantastic substitute for couscous or cracked wheat, which is shown in the recipe below. Enjoy!

3 cups cooked quinoa*
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
1/8 cup white balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 heirloom tomatoes, medium chop
1 English cucumber, medium chop

Combine olive oil, garlic, salt, basil, and balsamic vinegar or lemon juice. Add cooked quinoa, tomatoes, and cucumber. Toss gently and serve.

*Rinse quinoa before cooking to remove any bitter oils present.