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Gluten Free Tabbouleh

So lately when I’ve been going outside to water my few plants and herb garden (all in pots on my balcony as I live in an apartment), I’ve been noticing that my Italian Parsley plant has been getting a little out of control. This is surprising because I am a horrible gardener; in fact, I had to replant most of my vegetables this year because 1) I put them outside to early and they froze and 2) I’m really bad at this whole “watering” thing. Gardening is one of those things I wish I was good at; I would love to have my balcony be completely filled with delicious produce but as I’ve said, I’m just not good at it, and I just don’t like doing it. I hate weeding, I hate having my hands buried in soil. Etc.

Even more inexplicable is the fact that both my parents are very good gardeners, especially my mama. I’m sure she will eventually devise some way to live outdoor in her rose bushes. Maybe the green thumb gene just ended at their generation and that’s it, no more. Either that or it’s recessive, because I certainly don’t have it.

So anyway, back to my parsley problem. Or not so much a problem, really, more of a what on earth am I going to do with ten cups of parsley? To my knowledge they were obsessed with using it as garnish back in the 90s. As usual, I turned to the Internet for culinary inspiration.

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I literally typed into google: “gluten free parsley recipe”. I didn’t want a recipe that just called for a tablespoon of chopped up parsley at the end, or a sprig of it in a salad, I wanted a recipe that would really utilize and bring out the flavor of a large amount of parsley.

I clicked on one of the very first search results that happened to be a Youtube video. It was gluten free Tabbouleh recipe by some guy who is apparently a “darn good cook”. I figured I’d take his word for it. The video can be found here for those who are interested. (Again, this is one of those recipes that I don’t follow exactly, so the recipe in the video and the one found here have a few slight differences.)

Now I’ve never made Tabbouleh, never tried it before, not even completely sure how to pronounce it. But I watched the video and not only did it seem very easy to make, I had most of the ingredients on hand.

I started by first making the quinoa, a cup and a half of it. I believe Tabbouleh traditionally calls for bulgur wheat but because we’re making this gluten free I used quinoa. I love quinoa, but it’s one of those foods that I’ll make over and over for every meal until I retire it to the cupboard for a little while. This was one of those times where I hadn’t had any in weeks, so it made me that much more excited about making this recipe.

Once the quinoa was done I transferred it to a large mixing bowl and spread it out as per the video’s instructions to help it cool faster. It’s important to add the other ingredients to the quinoa only when it’s cooled because otherwise it could effect the flavors of the parsley.

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As the quinoa was cooling, I got to work on chopping the parsley. I’m not sure exactly how much I used, probably a cup or two.Chop it up as finely as you can, you don’t want parsley leaves stuck in your teeth. The original recipe, and I think Tabbouleh is general, traditionally uses mint as well, I decided not to use any for two reasons. Firstly, I didn’t have any on hand, and secondly, I’m not a huge fan of mint in savory dishes. I’m more of a mint and chocolate kind of person. That being said, I wouldn’t be opposed to trying Tabbouleh made with mint or anything, and if I had some in my herb garden I probably would’ve thrown some in, but I wasn’t about to rush of to the store just to get some.

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The video uses sweet onion, but I had recently purchased a nice red onion at the market so I decided to use that. I’m also a big fan of red onion used raw.

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As a dressing I just guestimated amounts of olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt, as well as a few sprigs of chopped up green onion. Mix everything together and there you have it, gluten free Tabbouleh!

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As I mentioned before, I’d never had Tabbouleh and hadn’t used much fresh parsley before in my life so I didn’t really know what to expect from this recipe. I was very pleasantly surprised! This salad is delicious and light, perfect for summer. You can use it as a side dish, or you can just eat a giant bowl of it which I’m sure I will do at some point soon. With it being so easy to make, it’s definitely going into regular rotation. So here’s the recipe, summarized: (as always, these measurements are rough estimates)

1 1/2 cups quinoa

1-2 cups freshly chopped parsley

1/4 cup chopped red onion

Dressing:

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

juice from one large lemon

a few sprigs of green onion

tablespoon of salt

And now I leave you with a song about Tabbouleh:

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Radish and Pea Salad

So now that all that chit chat about why I can’t eat gluten is done with, we can get to more interesting things. Like delicious food!

As I mentioned briefly before, I love to cook. Usually I can look into my fridge and just make something up. Jeff always asks, “How do you come up with this stuff?” and the truth is I don’t know. I just look at food, and recipes fall from the sky and into my brain. It probably has something to do with years of watching nothing but Food Network on TV. I still curse the fact that that channel is not available on basic cable because I am poor.

All that being said, sometimes I fall into a rut of always buying the same ingredients and then always making the same or very similar things (When I first got a Costco membership a while back I bought asparagus and mushrooms every single time I went there for probably six months). When I feel enough is enough, I tend to look for inspiration elsewhere. Occasionally I buy too much of one ingredient and then am at a loss for what to make (like the time I bought two massive bags of carrots, also at Costco). So I turn to the Internet.

Tangent: sometimes after I’ve been eating, say, apples for a few weeks I understandably really get tired of them. This makes me wonder how they managed back in the day before grocery stores. I mean back when everyone pretty much grew their own food and that’s pretty much what they had to live on for the year. Even if you had a really kick-ass harvest of tomatoes one year, something tells me come spring time the following year you were probably so sick of seeing them that that’s probably how they came up with La Tomatina. Although I could be wrong about that. And even if you traded goods with your neighbor, chances are he wasn’t growing something exotic like bananas and watermelon out in the Canadian wilderness. I guess we’ve just been spoiled in a way with having such a variety of food at our fingertips.

End Tangent.

So the point of all this is that the recipe I’m about to share is one I found on Ezra’s blog Teaching Cancer to Cry (actual post with recipe here). It’s a really easy and simple recipe that features peas and radishes. I already had a little bag of radishes sitting in my fridge when I first read it, and so when I went to my local Stirling market and saw that they were selling snap peas, I decided to get some and try it out.Image

So I’m not big on measurements and such, so here’s an ‘approximate’ recipe, if you will. (I didn’t make quite the exact vinaigrette as on the original blog where I found this, simply because I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand, so you have two options to try basically.)

All you have to do is basically chop up your radishes (a cup or so) and snap peas (a cup or two) into thin slivers. Or you can chop them into chunks or dice them or whatever else you want, but I really enjoyed the texture of little slices. And just to be clear, snap peas are the ones that you can eat shell and all… Shell peas have to be taken out of the pod. This would probably be just as good with shelled peas too though.

Throw everything into a bowl and for dressing I used some olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper, and some fresh chopped dill from my herb garden. Herb gardens are the best, by the way. If you don’t already have one, you should get one.

And that’s pretty much it! Toss it all together and let it sit for a little bit before serving if you have the patience. Easy, summery, simple and yummy. Enjoy!

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