Is Quinoa Paleo? It depends on who you ask. Quinoa is what’s referred to as a pseudo grain; a seed, technically, but eaten like, and somewhat similar to a grain. Even though it’s technically a seed, many in the Paleo community don’t consider it Paleo because of the saponins it contains that can make it difficult to digest. For that reason, I won’t call this Quinoa Tabouli Paleo, but I won’t tell you not to eat it, either. I absolutely do, and my body and taste buds are both happy about it.
What I will say is that this Quinoa Tabouli is gluten-free, vegan, and nutrient-dense.
While parsley has been way over used as a less-than-beautiful garnish, it’s better suited in the food, given it’s nutritional profile: high in Vitamins A, K and C, potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, and folates. For something that has almost zero calories, it packs a pretty serious nutritional punch!
Traditionally, Tabouli is made with bulgar wheat, which is most certainly not Paleo, nor is it gluten-free. Since Tabouli is one of the foods I find myself missing, I’ve been making this rendition – Quinoa Tabouli – for the past few years.
I’m a big fan of grazing, so a Mezze platter is one of my favorite things to make when I’m throwing a party or having people over for dinner. In the case of the one I made the other night, Hummus and Quinoa Tabouli were the cornerstones, which were surrounded by fresh veggies, olives, grilled artichoke hearts, dolmas, pita bread and crackers. It’s so simple to make and there’s something on it for just about everyone.
Looking for a Paleo Hummus recipe? My Butternut Squash Hummus is my favorite (and I’m not even a big fan of squash!) If you’re okay with garbanzos, Ottelenghi’s recipe is the best homemade hummus I’ve made.
For the quinoa:
- 1/4 cup quinoa
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- pinch salt
For the tabouli:
- 1 cup minced flat leaf parsley ((about 1 large bunch))
- 1/2 cup finely diced tomatoes ((about 2 romas or a handful of grape or cherry tomatoes))
- 1/4 cup finely diced scallions ((about 3–4 scallions))
- 2 tablespoons minced mint ((2–3 sprigs))
- 2–3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
To make the quinoa:
- In a fine mesh sieve, rinse the quinoa very well under cold running water. Transfer to a small pot with a tight fitting lid and add the water, olive oil and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and put the lid on. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the germ has spiraled out from the grain.
To make the Tabouli:
- While the quinoa is cooking, mince and dice the herbs and veggies and place them in a medium bowl with the remaining ingredients.
- Stir in the cooked quinoa. Season to taste with salt and lemon juice if desired.
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