Also known as Tabbouleh and Tabouli, this is a super-refreshing Arab dish. It's typically eaten as part of a mezze, which is sort of like a tapas thing served in a spread of several small dishes.
Changing an original recipe could be looked at as either amazingly awesome or incredibly blasphemous. On one hand, we are not limited by conventional "must do it like this" ways and are free to tweak and twist ingredients and foods to fit our own likes and dislikes. However, there is definitely something to be said for preserving the history of hundreds of years of culinary tradition.
Either way, Tabouleh is a really yummy salad or side or main dish. It's especially good in the summertime when the tomatoes and cucumbers and parsley are so good it makes me want to slap my Granny. (I don't really want to slap my Grandma. For those of you who have not heard that expression, it's a southern thing).
Here's the thing - you can change so many of these ingredients to suit your own palette, it can only be delicious to you. Some people use green onions instead of red. You can also leave the mint out if that's too strange to you. There are recipes that have more of a parsley base and the grain is the addition, but I prefer the grain as the base. If you don't like Quinoa, you can use the traditional bulgar, or even couscous.
For this batch, I found I was nearly out of Quinoa so I supplemented with some whole-grain couscous. Play around and let me know what you like the best!
1 c. quinoa
2 c. water
3/4 c. small diced red onion, or about 1/2 a medium onion
1/4 c. lemon juice, or juice from 1 lemon
1 cucumber, peeled and small diced
4 roma tomatoes, seeded and small diced
3/4 c. fresh minced parsley
1/4 c. fresh minced mint leaves
4 T. olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
In a large bowl, mix the red onion and lemon juice. Allow to sit (the lemon juice helps to cut the sting of the onion) while you prepare the rest.
Bring quinoa and water to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer on low, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir and re-cover, and set aside off heat for 5 minutes. Bring to room temperature and fluff with a fork.
Mix all ingredients, including the onion/lemon juice mixture and cooled quinoa. Serve as a side dish, or with pita bread, or in a toasted pita half.