In the traditional sense, this salad probably isn’t tabbouleh at all. It does share many of the best characteristics of the classic Mediterranean original, though: great to make ahead, based on an easy-to-prepare grain, and chock full of seasonal herbs and juicy tomatoes. Creamy dressing and avocado chunks make it extra satisfying, and mixing in some cooked chickpeas truly makes it a one-dish meal.
- 2 1/4 C vegetable stock or water
- 1 1/4 C dry quinoa, rinsed
- 1/4 C pine nuts
- 1 large ripe avocado
- 2 lemons
- 3/4 lb. grape or other seasonal tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 large cucumber, seeded and grated (with peel on)
- 3/4 C loosely packed parsley or basil leaves
- 1 T mayonnaise (or tahini)
- 1/2 t honey or maple syrup
- 1/4 C good quality olive oil
- Kosher or sea salt
- Ground black pepper
- 1 large bunch green kale, stems removed and chopped into bite sized pieces
- 2 C cooked chickpeas (optional; for a more filling entree salad)
- Bring stock or water to a boil in a medium saucepan, then add quinoa and stir once. When water returns to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes without stirring. Taste quinoa for doneness, then drain and empty to a large mixing bowl to begin cooling.
- Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium and add pine nuts. Shake or stir frequently until almost all the nuts are golden brown, then quickly remove to a paper towel or plate to cool.
- Chop the avocado and coat in juice of 1/2 lemon to keep from browning. Finely chop half the herbs and set aside. Mince (or process) the other half and add to a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Add mayo, sweetener, and the juice of 1 lemon and whisk to combine. Pour in olive oil slowly as you whisk. Taste the dressing and season with salt and pepper, as needed.
- Toss warm quinoa with enough dressing to moisten (start with half). Cool to room temperature, then add pine nuts, avocado, tomatoes, cucumber, and chopped herbs and stir to combine. If using, stir in the chickpeas. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed.
- In another bowl, add juice of remaining 1/2 lemon and a pinch of sea salt to the kale. Grab small fistfuls of kale and squeeze firmly, repeating to “massage” all the kale until it’s dark green, fragrant, and tender. Serve tabbouleh over the massaged kale with any remaining vinaigrette.
Prepared as prescribed, the salad is gluten free and vegetarian. Make it vegan by substituting vegan mayo, such as Just Mayo.
The vinaigrette can be prepared a day ahead of time. The salad keeps well for several days. If you’re making it for a party, wait until serving to add the pine nuts, for maximum crunch.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Category: Salad
- Cuisine: Mediterranean Fusion