High protein quinoa substitutes for traditional bulgur wheat in this Middle Eastern parsley and grain salad. Quinoa is considered a complete protein because it contains all 8 essential amino acids. It’s also higher in unsaturated fats and lower in carbohydrates than most grains. You can use red or tri-color quinoa, I used regular quinoa this time.
Remember to rinse the quinoa well as this will get rid of the saponin it contains. Saponin is a natural pesticide quinoa produces so birds won’t eat it. It doesn’t harm humans; it just makes the quinoa bitter if not rinsed well.
1 cup quinoa, rinsed with hot water
2 cups water
1 bunch fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped arugula leaves
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch wedges, or 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
½ cup grated carrots
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Real Salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Stir in the quinoa and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Just as with rice, do not stir—tilt the pan to see if there is any water left. Set aside.
Meanwhile, trim and discard the parsley stems. Chop, chop, chop the leaves until they are very fine, no piece larger than the head of a pin. you should end up with a heaping 1/2 cup of chopped parsley.
Transfer the quinoa to a bowl, fluffing with a fork. Stir in the chopped parsley, arugula, carrots and tomatoes.
In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt and cayenne. Pour over the quinoa and toss well. Season to taste with more salt and lemon juice, if desired. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to chill.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.