There is rarely any ingredient variation in tabouli* and rarely would I ever call for any ingredient variation in a recipe whose roots are far older than my deadest ancestors. Tradition is to be respected.
However, this is an exception. It is made with quinoa and adds fresh basil and cilantro, all of which are no-no’s in the tabouli world. And it’s not because tabouli is not good as is, but rather because tabouli is often not great on this side of the Red Sea. It rarely makes you think about the next time you will eat tabouli. It rarely starts a conversation about tabouli. It rarely makes you want to roll around on the floor and shout out “mammmma,” which is the actual definition of good food.
What I do propose is a recipe that gives you, or at least me, exactly what I want to eat: a healthy, wheat-free, heart warming dish with protein whose fresh herbed flavors meld together and heighten the experience of the entire meal. It is both rich and light, food adjectives that are often hard to achieve in the same dish. I love to serve this as a side dish to my Spiced Lamb Skewers, but also enjoy it as a small meal on its own.
Remember, the key to making a good quinoa salad is to toss and dress it while it is still warm. And the key to any good food is to make it with love. Keep those two things in mind and life will seem easy…for at least a half hour or so.
*A Middle Eastern dish, tabouli is traditionally made with bulgar wheat, mint, parsley, lemon, olive oil and chopped tomato.