You know how there’s always a “song of the summer”? 🎶 Well, this is the SALAD of the summer that’s playing on repeat in my kitchen: Summer Quinoa Tabbouleh, with heaps of fresh herbs, local cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, avocado, feta, and a sunshine-y lemon vinaigrette. Tabbouleh is a classic Middle Eastern dish traditionally made with couscous, but I've swapped it for quinoa, which is a naturally gluten free seed that's packed with protein, and is one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. This is a substantial salad that can easily be served as a vegetarian main course, though it's also a lovely side salad to round out a summer meal.
The recipe (see below) is quite loose and forgiving, so feel free to swap in / out whatever summer veggies and herbs you have on hand. You'll notice the ingredients and instructions for the lemon vinaigrette are intentionally vague, to encourage you to whip up a vibrant vinaigrette with just a few ingredients, a mason jar, and your kitchen intuition. If you need a little extra guidance, here is a YouTube #eatlikeafarmer video where I walk you through the technique of making your own vinaigrette (without using a single measuring spoon)!
PREP + COOK TIME:
- 2 cups uncooked quinoa
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 hothouse cucumber (or 2 Persian cucumbers), cut to a small dice
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 ripe avocados, diced
- 2 ears of corn, kernels removed
- 8 ounces feta cheese, diced
- A few cups of fresh arugula
- Chopped fresh parsley (about a 1/2 cup)
- Chopped fresh mint (about a 1/4 cup)
- Chopped fresh basil (about a 1/4 cup)
- 1 bunch scallions/green onions, thinly sliced
- Juice of 2-3 large lemons
- Olive oil
- Dijon or Whole Grain Mustard
- Minced garlic
- Freshly chopped herbs (optional)
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- To cook the quinoa:Bring 3 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to a boil in a medium sized saucepan. Stir in the quinoa, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat and allow quinoa to steam with the lid on for 5 minutes, then uncover and fluff with a fork. Spread out quinoa on a large rimmed baking sheet and let cool.
- To make the lemon vinaigrette: Juice your lemons and pour the juice into a mason jar. Add twice as much olive oil as lemon juice to the jar. Add a good squeeze (about a teaspoon) each of mustard and honey. If you'd like, add minced garlic, fresh herbs, and/or lemon zest for added flavor. Add salt and pepper to taste and shake, shake shake! Taste the dressing and adjust seasoning as necessary - you're looking for a good balance between sour, sweet, and salty.
- Transfer cooled quinoa to a large salad bowl, mix in 1/2 cup of your vinaigrette and stir to combine.
- Add the sliced red onion, diced cucumber, halved tomatoes, avocado, corn kernels, feta cheese, arugula and chopped herbs to the bowl with the cooked quinoa. Pour in the remaining vinaigrette and stir gently to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve warm or at room temperature. Keeps for several days in the fridge.