Why Quinoa in Summer?

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a great grain choice for summer for many reasons.

  1. it only takes 20 minutes to prepare so your kitchen won't heat up
  2. virtually all chopped vegetables blend nicely with quinoa
  3. it is both a complex carbohydrate and a complete protein
  4. it is easily transported without requiring refrigeration
  5. with quiona being a complete protein, you won't need meat or cheese to feel nourished

One of my favorite recipes is Quinoa Tabouli.  It has the subtle flavors of lemon and herbs and is coupled with the bite of red onion.  I choose tomato and cucumber as the go-to vegetables, but you could finely chop zucchini and summer squash or red and yellow peppers for a different taste. 

Quinoa Tabouli

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt and more to taste
2 lemons, juiced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves, chopped
2 sprigs of mint leaves, chopped or 1/2 teaspoon dry mint
1 large ripe tomato, chopped
1 medium cucumber, chopped finely. Peel if skin is bitter.
1/2 cup red onion, minced
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring the quinoa, water and salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan.
Cover and turn to lowest heat. Cook undisturbed for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let quinoa steam for 5 more minutes. Fluff it with a fork. Transfer the hot quinoa into the bowl.
In a bowl combine the rest of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Gently mix the quinoa into the vegetables. Chill for 30 minutes.

Be sure to use fresh lemons.  The fresh lemon is what makes this dish so flavorful.  Serves 4.