Quinoa Tabbouleh with Chickpeas

Tabbouleh is a popular Middle Eastern side salad that originated from Lebanon and traditionally consisted of parsley, mint, tomatoes, spring onions, lemon juice, olive oil, and bulgar.  Like most great recipes, the ingredients are simple yet the taste is enticing.  Tabbouleh is one of my favorite dishes so I used it for inspiration to create a complete and simple meal in one.

This salad is one of my favorite summer lunches since it is light, energizing, and easy to take on the go.  Cucumbers are high in water, which are naturally hydrating, while also delivering a great source of immune protecting vitamin C.  Quinoa and chickpeas are packed with protein, fiber, and additional nutrients like folate and manganese.  The protein and fiber will fill you up while stabilizing your energy all day long.

Quinoa Tabbouleh with Chickpeas

makes 4 servings

1 cup dry quinoa

2 cups water or low sodium vegetable broth

1 cucumber

1/2 red onion, diced

8-10 cherry tomatoes, quartered

3 dates, pitted and chopped

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or about 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas

1 lemon, juiced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon each: sea salt and pepper

1/4 cup chopped parsley *see recipe note below*

Wash quinoa under water to remove any powdery residue.  Add quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 12-15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and quinoa forms little white-spiral “tails.”

While quinoa is cooking, assemble the rest of the salad.  Peel the cucumber and cut in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds and chop into bite-size pieces.  Combine cucumber, red onion, tomato, dates, and chickpeas in a large bowl.  Once quinoa is cooked add to the bowl with chopped veggies.  Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Toss vinaigrette into salad and let sit for 15 minutes before serving to let flavors marinate together.

Recipe Note: Traditionally tabbouleh consists of parsley and mint.  I only added parsley since that is what I had on hand but feel free to adjust based on your preferences or what you have lying around the kitchen.  Actually the combinations in this salad work great with any herb such as cilantro or basil.

Nutrition facts per serving: 402 calories, 9 g total fat, 0.7 g saturated fat, 286 mg sodium, 68 g total carbohydrates, 12 g fiber, 15 g protein

BALANCE IT OUT: Serve this salad over a bed of greens or on its own for a delicious meal.  Or reduce serving size for an excellent side salad.

“The secret to happiness… be satisfied and be grateful.” -Mitch Albom



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