I can’t believe May is already here! Where does the time go? I’ve been meaning to get this recipe up for several weeks. I’ve found that as much as I love this blog, life just doesn’t stop for it. My weekends of late have been filled with travel…which I love, but don’t get to do enough of. One weekend we had a spontaneous trip up to Disney again (love those season passes!!), this time with friends. And the weekend before this past one, my husband and I got away to celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary! We had an amazing, MUCH needed, relaxing kid-free weekend at Fort Lauderdale Beach.
Sleeping in, vegging on the beach, several meals out, enjoying live music, cruising the waterways by boat, strolling down Las Olas Blvd…..days and nights blurring together seamlessly in a way that seems vaguely familiar from our pre-children days (over 11 yrs ago). To worry only of our own wants and needs…what do we want to eat? Where do we want to go? What do we want to do next? No other considerations…or opinions…or arguments. Bliss really!
And as much as we love our girls…we really do…every couple needs time away like this. To refresh, renew, rekindle…to keep that fire burning. It makes us better people, better spouses and better parents! And who can beat this view we had from the 16th floor of our hotel? It doesn’t get any better than this…
Our anniversary wasn’t until yesterday (May 3rd), but you have get away when the childcare permits (thanks Mom!) And though we are celebrating 13 years married, we’ve been together for 17 and known each other 20! We actually met (and fell in love) in February 1990 when we were both in the Navy (and very young)…right before the first Gulf War started up.
Yes…it’s one of those love stories where you meet and fall in love under the wrong circumstances…then are torn apart by government orders to separate ends of the earth during the war (I was stationed in Pearl Harbor!!)…try to forget each other and never succeed…lose track of each other…only to find your way back to each other 3 years later and can finally be together! It’s quite a romantic love story like you see in movies and read in novels really….but we’ll save it for another time! Enough of the romance and reminiscing…..now onto the recipe.
The inspiration for this recipe stems from my trip last fall to the mountains of North Carolina. I was actually meandering through this farmer’s market in Sylva, NC
when I tasted Quinoa (keen-wah) Tabouleh for the first time. It was amazing!! I had heard of quinoa several years ago…how nutritious it is, that it is not really a true grain, but a seed…that it is packed with protein…a superfood full of calcium and iron! I had been wanting to try it, but had yet to stumble upon the right recipe. On this particular morning, I finally did! It was so light and refreshing, with bits of cucumber and sweet tomato. So tasty! I knew when I got home from that trip, I would be searching the internet to learn all I could of tabouleh and set out to create my own rendition. At that’s exactly what I did.
1/2 cup quinoa (organic, purchased at whole foods in bulk section), rinse well to prevent bitterness
1/2 cup fresh tomato, chopped (or more per your preference)
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced (or more, depending on your preference)
1/4 – 1/3 cup red onion (or scallions), diced
1/4 – 1/2 cup olives of choice, diced (optional…save to top with)
1/4 cup juice of lemon, freshly-squeezed
1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup fresh mint, finely chopped (or 1 cup parsley)
Rinse quinoa in bowl and drain water out. Bring 1 cup water to boil, add quinoa and cook covered on low heat. Cook for approximately 15 minutes or until water is completely absorbed, drain existing water (if any), and fluff with fork. After cooking you’ll notice that quinoa has these cute spiral tails extending from the seed. I think that’s part of it’s charm!
While the quinoa is cooking you can chop your tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and olives. Set aside. In a small glass jar I combine all the components for the dressing and shake well. I take a glass pyrex bowl (one that I’ll use to store the tabouleh in) and combine the quinoa, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and onion. Then I pour the dressing over the quinoa mixture and combine thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours (or longer) for best taste. If taking somewhere, I like to make this the night before for the best flavor.
I serve this with Food Should Taste Good chips or slices of cucumber. I frequently sprinkle crumbled feta cheese over the quinoa tabouleh…so good! I also don’t mix the olives in, but add them on top with the feta. I have yet to have parsley or mint on hand, and it still tastes amazing. This is the perfect dish to take out on the boat, or for a day at the beach this summer….portable for any type of picnic or long road trip! It energizes and fills you up, without the sleepiness you usually get from meals heavy in refined (white) flour/carbs.
Try it…you’ll love it…and like me you’ll probably find yourself toting this around a lot this summer. Quinoa is very versatile, mild tasting (and takes on the flavors it’s made with), can be used in place of rice or other grains…the possibilities are endless. And the bonus…it’s also very good for you!