What Life Dishes Out A Gluten Free and (almost) Vegetarian Cooking Blog

September 12, 2010

Gluten Free Quinoa Tabbouleh

My job has been a little too busy for my tastes lately.  Since I work from home, I usually have a fair amount of free time on my hands for cooking, baking, scrapbooking and of course, blogging!   Just think of all the free hours that add up since I save on a long commute to and from the office.  Not to mention not having to shower, get dressed, or apply makeup!  Okay, you probably think I’m joking, but on some days you just might find me chained to my desk (not to worry – only figuratively) and still in my jammies still at 2 o’ clock in the afternoon! 

On these crazy busy days, it helps to have a quick lunch ready to go so I can just grab it and head right back up to my home office.  This dish is perfect served alongside Baba Ghanoush, with a grilled pita or a few raw veggies for dipping.

Traditionally, Tabbouleh is made with Bulgar.  On a Gluten Free diet, Bulgar – which is made from Wheat – is, of course, a big fat No-No!  Yet Quinoa makes a delightful stand-in for the grain and improves on the nutritional value as well.  Unlike wheat, Quinoa’s amino acids form a complete protein, so you can feel even better about this vegetarian dish!

Have you tried Quinoa yet?  This seed (it’s not a grain) is from the Chenopodium quinoa plant.  It originated in South America and was revered among the Incas, but scorned by the Spanish colonists.  What fools those colonists were, because Quinoa is highly nutritious, loaded with fiber, and quite tasty!  It’s also easy as pie to make – it cooks up just like rice!   One of my best friends, who is Gluten-Intolerant, keeps a bowl of cooked Quinoa in her refrigerator.  She tops it with Honey and Cinnamon for a quick breakfast before rushing out the door to work on frantic mornings.  She’s a clever girl!

Okay, enough small talk.  Let’s make lunch.

You’ll need:

1 Large Bunch Fresh Parsley

1 Handful Fresh Mint Leaves (I used Lemon Mint.  If you don’t have Mint at all, you can omit it.  The dish won’t be quite the same, but still will be good!)

1 small Tomato

1 slice Red Onion

Juice of 1 Lemon

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1/2 cup Cooked Quinoa

Salt & Pepper

What to do:

Rinse, drain, and remove tough stems from Parsley.  Then, chop it and throw it in a bowl.

So that it won’t feel left out, chop up the mint as well.  Toss it in with the Parsley.

Ditto the onion…

and Tomato.

To the bowl, add Lemon Juice…

and Olive Oil.

Now, add the cooked Quinoa and a sprinkling of salt and pepper (about 1/4 tsp each).

Stir it all together.  Can’t you just smell it?

Ta dah!

You can serve this up straightaway but for the best flavor, let it sit for a while first to let the ingredients mingle.  My kids like this salad packed into a pita pocket or rolled into Flatbread as a sandwich filling.  And how awesome would this be sprinkled atop Hummous on a sandwich?!?!

Spawn #2 gives this a big thumbs up!  I hope you like it, too! :-)

September 2, 2010

Baba Ghanoush

Filed under: Appetizers & Dips,Recipes,Vegan,Vegetarian — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 6:49 am

Or Baba Ganoush’.  Or Baba Ghannouj.  Or Baba Ghannoug.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Anyway it’s spelled, this is my favorite amongst favorites of the Greek restaurant dishes.  Sure, Hummous rocks my world.  I’m very fond of Tabbouleh.  And of course, I love me some Greek Salad.  

But Baba Ghanoush holds a very special place in my heart.  It’s creamy.  It’s smokey.  It’s so satisfying and nutritious. 

And until now, I was never able to replicate the restaurant flavor at home.  I tried a few times, but each attempt was followed by a soupy, not-at-all-smoky-tasting bowl of mush which ended up in the trash.    Maybe my inability to recreate this dish well is why I held it at such high esteem among the other Mediterranean recipes.   Absense makes the heart grow fonder, they say.  (Who exactly are “they”, by the way?  Does anybody really know?)

I saw this recipe over at Tasty KitchenThe Parsley Thief had posted it, and even though I had tried to make Baba Ghanoush time and time again, the recipe caught my eye and I was inspired to give it one last chance.  I’m so glad I did, because this is the Baba Ghanoush of my dreams!

I’ve roughly doubled the recipe here, just ’cause I just can’t get enough of this stuff.

What you need:

2 Medium Eggplant (Mine were slightly overgrown fruits from my own garden)

2 Cloves Garlic, peeled

2 tsp Course Sea Salt

1/3 Cup Tahini (Sesame Paste)

4 Tbsp Lemon Juice (or the Juice of 1 Lemon)

Olive Oil

Chopped Fresh Parsley

What to do:

Prick eggplant (both the normal and mutant-looking one) with a fork in a few places and place on grill over medium heat. 

Cook, turning as needed, until nearly completely blackened all over.

Turn off grill, close cover and let cool for a couple hours.

Remove eggplants to dish, cover and chill in refrigerator for 24 hours.

Cut into eggplant and scrape flesh from blackened skin.  Or vice-versa. 

Either way, it’s going to be a slimy job, but somebody has to do it.

It won’t look pretty either.

Place the “guts” in a colandar.

It’ll be worth it, I swear.

Discard the burned skins, unless you can think of something crafty to do with them.

If you can think of something crafty to do with these, well then….move over, Martha!

Let the pulp sit in the strainer for half an hour or so to drain off excess liquid.

Place Garlic, Salt, Tahini and Lemon Juice into the bowl of your Food Processor.

Add Eggplant pulp.

And pulse until smooth and creamy.

Remove to serving dish, and drizzle with olive oil and chopped fresh Parsley.

Serve with grilled pita wedges or fresh raw veggies.

It’s not even 7 a.m. yet and I’m thinking of tossing my granola and eating this for breakfast instead!  It’s so yummy!!

 
 

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