Monday, May 5, 2014

Sprouted Tabbouleh Salad

This recipe is a raw salad, with sprouted ingredients, it’s vegan, gluten-free and best of all, you will need quite a few bouquets of fresh herbs.  I love preparing dishes with a lot of fresh and aromatic herbs.  Sadly herbs are only once in a while the central focus of a recipe, but most often, they are just a last-minute addition or a finishing step.  This is why I'm so excited about Tabbouleh because it is basically a chopped herb salad.  And don’t worry, purchasing bunches of herbs is actually quite inexpensive and if you’re lucky enough to have an herb garden, you will love this recipe even more. 


Tabbouleh is a well known signature Lebanese salad or side dish.  It’s really refreshing because it’s made with finely chopped parsley and mint, bulgur wheat, tomato, cucumber, onion and fresh lemon juice.  Our recipe is not an authentic version of Tabbouleh, but the flavors are still very close to Tabbouleh salads we had at Lebanese restaurants.   This recipe substitutes sprouted quinoa for cooked bulgur wheat in order to make this recipe gluten-free and raw.  We also substituted a mix of freshly grown sprouts and chopped scallions for the onion and garlic the traditional recipe calls for.  I chose to make these substitution because I suffer an adverse reaction when consuming meals with onions or garlic, but I still wanted to preserve the flavor and bite the onions adds to the Tabbouleh.   I urge anyone to give this alternative version a try because it really showcases all the fragrances and flavors of the beautiful herbs in it that could so often get lost when mixed with a lot of onion.


Now, let’s grab a large bowl and start chopping and mixing up this salad!

  • 2 bunches of fresh Flat-Leaf or Curly Parsley;  very finely chopped
  • 1 large Tomato;  diced into small cubes
  • 3 stalks of fresh Mint;  very finely shopped
  • 1/2 English Cucumber;  diced into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup fresh Sprouts
  • 3 Tbsp. Quinoa (you could also use Bulgur wheat)
  • 1/2 Lemon;  juiced
  • 1/2 cup Pine Nuts;  toasted
  • Salt and Pepper;  to taste
  • Thoroughly wash and clean all the vegetables in cold water.  It is also important to rinse the quinoa several times before soaking and sprouting it to remove impurities and to make the grain less cloudy.  For best result, sprout the quinoa in cold water overnight or a couple of hours before preparing this salad.  For this recipe, we are only using three tablespoon of the gain, because the the amount of quinoa generally swells three times in size.
  • Heat a frying pan with no oil or butter and then toast the pine nuts for only a few minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat, but don’t remove the nuts from the pan just yet.  While you busy yourself chopping the rest of the ingredients, the residual heat in the pan will work its magic on our little pine nuts and give their underside a gentle browning we’re looking for.  The correct toasting of the pine nuts will add a tremendous amount of flavor and texture to the Tabbouleh.
  • Finely chop the parsley, the mint and the other vegetables according to the recommendations above.
  • Combine all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl, squeeze the fresh lemon juice over it and season the dish with salt and pepper.  There are many variations on this recipe and some call for a lot more lemon juice in order to balance the acids correctly.  This all depends on the season and the freshness of your produce.  We found, if you add ripe, juicy tomatoes and cucumber, the juice of 1/2 a lemon is sufficient.  Please feel free to add more lemon juice if you like, but remember you can always add, but you can never take away.
  • Also, please feel free to chop up some bell pepper or radish and add them to the salad.
  • We love serving Tabbouleh in a large bowl and spoon it on romaine lettuce leaves with a little hummus.  This makes such crunchy lettuce burritos and it’s really good!  I love having it as a salad, or eat it like salsa with chips.  Leftovers of this salad makes a wonderful side or topping for a variety of savory breakfast and lunch dishes.
  • Enjoy!
        Nina & Spencer
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