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Quinoa Tabbouleh – Healthy Starts Here!

When’s the last time you came across a cookbook written by a Second City alumna? Best-selling cookbook author Mairlyn Smith, a well-known professional home economist, teacher, actor and commentator on healthy living, takes healthy living seriously. She’s also pretty funny. (And yes, she was in Second City.)

And she’s a fabulous cook. (I know this for a fact – I’ve been to her house for dinner!) Her newest cookbook, Healthy Starts Here! is lighthearted yet packed with useful info, great photos and fantastic recipes. Complete nutrition information and diabetes food choice values for each recipe rounds out the package.

If you’re looking to get healthier this summer, Healthy Starts Here! helps you learn how to retrain your sodium-addled taste buds, become a master hunter-gatherer with tips on grocery shopping and food storage, learn all about whole grains, even find out which family of vegetables causes cancer cells to self-destruct. Mairlyn also reveals the real truth about legumes and flatulence…

Quinoa tabbouleh is a perfect example of her well-balanced yet innovative recipes. Traditional tabbouleh is made with bulgur or couscous – her version uses quinoa, which makes it lighter in texture, nutty in flavor and protein-rich. She advises beginning this recipe a day ahead of time.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

reprinted with permission from Healthy Starts Here! (Whitecap Books)

Tabbouleh:
½ cup (125 mL) quinoa
2 cups (500 mL) lightly packed parsley sprigs
½ cup (125 mL) lightly packed fresh mint
1 cup (250 mL) grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 large shallot, diced

Lemon dressing:
1 large lemon, scrubbed well and dried
2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil

For the tabbouleh, the night before you want to serve it, place the quinoa in a fine wire-mesh strainer and rinse it well. Place the rinsed quinoa in a medium saucepan. Add 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until the grains are translucent and all the water has been absorbed, 18 to 20 minutes.

Fluff the quinoa with a fork. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes. Let the quinoa cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container overnight.

The next day, wash and spin-dry the parsley and mint. Make sure the herbs are very dry or the salad will be soggy.

Chop the parsley very finely, and chop the mint into slightly bigger pieces.

Mix together the quinoa, parsley, mint, tomatoes, and shallot in a salad bowl, and toss well.

For the lemon dressing, remove the zest from the lemon using a Microplane grater. Set aside.

With your palm, roll the lemon on the counter (this makes it yield more juice), then cut it in half and squeeze out ¼ cup juice.

Whisk together the lemon juice and oil in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and toss again.

Makes 4 cups; 4 servings.

Per serving (1 cup): 181 calories, 8.5 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 25 mg sodium, 22.8 g carbohydrate, 4 g fibre, 1.7 g sugars, 5 g protein

Diabetes Food Choice Values per serving: 1½ Carbohydrate, ½ Meat and Alternatives, 1½ Fat

Photo courtesy of Healthy Starts Here! (Whitecap Books)

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