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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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: