Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Snack Attack: Quinoa Tabbouleh!

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Are you ready for this week's installment of the Snack Attack? I'm a big fan of Mediterranean food, and when I think 'Mediterranean', I think tabbouleh! Tabbouleh is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine. If you've only had tabbouleh at a restaurant or bought it pre-made from the grocery store, then you better sit down because this tabbouleh will blow your mind! 

This recipe for Quinoa Tabbouleh is another one of my favorites from Ella Nemcova's 'Cleanse Cooking Class' at Freshmade NYC. It's great because it has a variety of ingredients that all have excellent nutritional benefits. Here's just a preview of some of the main ingredients...

QUINOA - Quinoa is an excellent source of plant-based protein (and it's a complete protein, meaning it contains ALL 9 essential amino acids!).

TOMATOES - The lycopene in tomatoes acts as an antioxidant in the blood, reducing the risk of heart disease.

CUCUMBERS - The extensive variety of antioxidants in cucumbers fight cancer-causing free radicals, while also fighting inflammation throughout the body.

PARSLEY - The volatile oils in parsley have been shown to inhibit tumor growth in animal studies, especially tumors in the lungs.

MINT - Mint acts as a digestive aid, while also cleansing the blood.

Are you ready to make some tabbouleh? Here we go!

Cook 1 cup of quinoa according to package directions (or check out my instructions here). 
It should look nice and fluffy when you're done. 
While the quinoa is cooking, chop everything else up - 2 large tomatoes (diced), 2 seedless cucumbers (diced), 2 bunches of scallions (chopped), 1 bunch of parsley (chopped), 1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves (chopped), 2 lemons (sliced in half) and...
...1 clove of garlic, crushed or pounded with salt. Sprinkle sea salt on the garlic and use the side of your knife to press down on the garlic repeatedly, creating a paste.
In a large mixing bowl, add the cooked quinoa, tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, parsley, mint and garlic. Mix in approximately 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil.
Now squeeze the lemons in.
Grab your seasonings... sea salt and black pepper (to taste) and 1 Tbs. dulse flakes (optional). FYI: Dulse is a type of seaweed. Sprinkling the flakes on your food provides you with an additional source of protein, vitamins and minerals. You won't even taste it in this dish!
Mix everything together...
...and serve with your favorite pita chips (or make them homemade with my recipe here).

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