If ‘Sautéed’ is the only word you recognize in that title, don’t be afraid. This dish is an increasingly popular play on a traditional tabbouleh (a Middle Eastern dish made with couscous) but this one uses quinoa – a protein-packed South American grain that can be incredibly tasty if prepared right. To top it all off, we’re adding some sautéed marinated tempeh (a soy product similar to tofu, but fermented and more meaty) for even more protein.
I often make a big batch of this quinoa tabbouleh on the weekends and save it for lunch during the week – it gets even better after chilling for a day or two!
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- ⅓ cup parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- 3 green onions
- 1 lemon (juice + zest)
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- Salt & black pepper to taste
- Splash of olive oil (optional)
- 8 ounces Tempeh, cut into ½ inch cubes
- Rice Vinegar
- Tamari (you can sub soy sauce if necessary)
- Cayenne pepper
Rinse the quinoa well. This is perhaps the most important step of all. Many people simply dump the quinoa into boiling water and discover a chalky, bitter taste in the finished product. Quinoa has a natural coating that prevents birds from eating it in the wild. In order to remove this and unlock its soft nutty flavor, add the quinoa to a strainer and rinse under lukewarm water for at least 3 minutes.
Then, add the quinoa to a pot with water and simmer according to package instructions (about 25 minutes). It’s finished when the grains are soft, translucent, and don’t clump together.
Meanwhile, get chopping! Loosely chop the parsley and cut the green onions into thin slices. Throw these into a bowl with the pine nuts. Gather the spices and slice the lemon in half. Set all these ingredients aside until the quinoa is cooked.
When the quinoa is fully cooked, remove from the heat and transfer to a mixing bowl (a large salad bowl works great). Add the parsley, green onion, pine nuts, spices, and juice+zest of the lemon into the mixture. You can also add a tablespoon or two of olive oil if you don’t mind the extra calories. Toss gently until all ingredients are well incorporated. Have a taste and adjust the spices as necessary. At this point, it can be eaten warm, but it is traditionally served slightly chilled. Cover and refrigerate for at least 90 minutes or up to 3 days.
When ready to serve, prepare the tempeh. Cut it into small cubes. Begin heating a skillet and add equal parts tamari and rice vinegar to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the tempeh and toss to coat. Continue tossing regularly and the tempeh should cook in 5-7 minutes. Add a dash of cayenne pepper as it begins to brown. If the pan dries out too quickly, add another dash of rice vinegar. Pour the warm tempeh over the chilled quinoa and enjoy!
Note: This is a “base” quinoa tabbouleh. Once you have the basics down, try expanding it by making a sweet version with cranberries and orange juice, or a savory quinoa salad with walnuts and sweet potatoes. Follow your imagination (and let me know what you come up with!)