Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Taste of Israel: Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

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And... I'm back. After spending a long weekend in Portland, OR for the International Food Bloggers Conference {which I'll be writing about soon!}, my suitcase has yet to be emptied because I'm gearing up for another trip in a few days. This coming Saturday, I'll be headed to New York to catch the second leg of my flight abroad. Where, you ask? Israel. Random destination? Yes. Foodie adventure? Most definitely.
I'm one of 7 bloggers that were chosen from around the world to participate in the Taste of Israel - Eat.Tweet.Love. Program and I couldn't be more thrilled. We'll be spending about a week in Israel visiting various cities to experience its wide cuisine and beautiful culture. During my visit to Israel, I'll be checking out restaurants, markets, wineries, agricultural sites, and cheese manufacturers – all in an effort to have a full and complete experience of what culinary adventures Israel offers. I look forward to learning first hand about Israeli hospitality, culture, history and landscapes in my favorite way... with food, of course! My tentative itinerary includes stops in:
  • Tel-Aviv
  • Nazareth
  • Beit Jan
  • Tiberous
  • Zirah
  • Jerusalem
  • Dead Sea
Just with those cities listed, I'm anxious for the fun that awaits! I'll be sharing the experience every step of the way through social media, so tune in and catch me on Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Instagram {itsjoelen} to join me on this adventure virtually! Here's a little video of what's in store next week...

With Israeli cuisine on the brain, here's a recipe for Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad. Tabbouleh is a staple salad in Israeli cuisine that I anticipate seeing it on the menu of all restaurants during my trip. Traditionally it's made with bulgur - an ingredient that has gluten in it. But that's not to say I can't enjoy this dish. By substituting the bulgur for quinoa, I can have a gluten free version that's packed with nutrients and protein too. Cucumber, parsley, tomato, green onions and quinoa are tossed together with a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and garlic for a light, refreshing salad...

Quinoa makes for a great gluten free substitute in dishes calling for bulgur, barley and even couscous. But you don't have to be gluten free to enjoy this! Quinoa is a nutritious ingredient that I've been incorporating more into my dishes. It's a great source of protein, rich in fiber, full of calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and other minerals. If you haven't tried quinoa yet or perhaps want to give it another try, I highly recommend it!

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
recipe adapted from Cooking Light
1 cups uncooked quinoa
2 cups chicken broth or water
1 1/2 cups diced English cucumber
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup diced tomato
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground  black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced

Cook quinoa per package directions and transfer to a large bowl.

Add cucumber and remaining ingredients to quinoa; toss well. Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving.

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