Quinoa Tabbouleh

This classic Middle Eastern salad gets an of-the-moment
 upgrade with the "it" grain, quinoa.

Quinoa is all the talk these days and rightfully so. It is a healthy alternative for rice and pasta. If you are not familiar with it here is a list of things you should know about it.

1. It is naturally gluten-free, making it and excellent food for celiac patients or other people following a gluten-free diet.

2. It contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains.

3. It is high in riboflavin (B2), which helps improve energy metabolism and help create proper energy production.

4. Although it is eaten like a grain, it is technically a seed.

5. They come in a rainbow of colors, from red to purple to green to yellow, to the common off-white color.

6. Pronounced Keen-Wah, the Incas began to cultivate it over 5,000 years ago, believing that it gave power and stamina to their warriors,

7. It is a complete protein, which means that it contains all the amino acids necessary for our protein needs.

8. It's also high in iron and calcium, and is a good source of manganese, magnesium and copper, as well as lysine.

9. It is so versatile that you can substitute it in a dish for rice, add it to soups, casseroles, or even use it to make a sweet breakfast entree to replace oatmeal. You can even sprout it.

10. Nutritional facts at this site: nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/10352/2.

11. If you use quinoa enough you can make up a large batch and keep it in the fridge for 4 or 5 days and use it as you go along as a time saver so you don't have to start off your recipe cooking it each time. Depending on the recipe you can also use chicken or vegetable stock instead of water to add more flavor to your recipe.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 english cucumber, diced
large handful parsley, chopped
small handful fresh mint, chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced
dressing ingredients listed below

Soak quinoa in water for about 15 minutes, double that if you have the time. This will take out any bitterness. Drain, rinse well and drain.

Bring quinoa , 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over hight heat, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until quinoa is tender and all water is gone, about 15-20 minutes or in rice cooker per instructions. Remove from heat and let stand, covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork.

Set quinoa in fridge to chill for a half hour so when you add the vegetables they will not wilt.

Meanwhile make dressing:
4 Tablespoons Canola oil
4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoon vinegar
3 to 4 teaspoons sugar, depending on taste OR if you prefer use a sugar free sweetener
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all dressing ingredients together. Set in fridge while finishing tabbouleh.

To finish the tabbouleh:
Add cucumber, tomatoes, green onions, parsley, and mint to quinoa and gently mix. Drizzle dressing over tabbouleh and gently mix. Chill for at least another hour. This is a great make ahead dish, even the day before.