This salad was inspired by my yoga teacher, Linda Apps, who runs the Yoga Nook , a small yoga centre in Dulwich Hill, in the Inner West of Sydney. She follows my blog and every now and then, when not discussing yoga, we talk about food. She asked for a recipe that was yummy, and vegetarian, that she might share with the readers of her monthly newsletter. This salad immediately came to mind because it’s largely plant based and is healthy and delicious. Plus, i’ve been keen to write a recipe that uses pomegranate. Up until a few years ago, I was ignorant of it’s beauty.
Traditionally tabbouleh is made with cracked wheat also known as bulgur. For a more nutritious salad, I like using quinoa. Any of the coloured varieties can be adapted here – red, white, or black. This salad relies on fresh parsley and mint. If you can snip these straight from the garden or planter box you will be rewarded. If you must buy your parsley and mint, smell it first! When demand out grows my supply of fresh herbs I’ll only buy them when I can smell them. If they have no smell they get left on the shelf. Both parsley and mint act as a digestive aid and this is reason in itself to eat this salad.
Pomegranate truly is one of the prettiest fruits I know. The jewel shaped kernels burst in the mouth with a sweet yet slightly bitter flavour. And the bright red colour is not only attractive to the eye but makes such a decorative garnish. For us Southern hemisphere folk, pomegranate are in season from March to May. Northern hemisphere dwellers will have to keep this salad in mind for September through to February.
You only need a little extra virgin olive oil to dress the quinoa. You can also drizzle this salad with avocado or hazelnut oil.
A few other simple ideas include serving this salad with grilled salmon – a dear friend of my Mum’s served it this way – It’s a really nice combination and makes a fancy yet simple meal. When served with salmon I prefer to leave the feta out as I tend to stick to the rule of – don’t mix fish and cheese.
I also like to add sliced avocado and eat this salad with a piece of toasted rye bread, or sourdough to the side.
Quinoa tabbouleh – serves 2-3 or 4-6 as a side dish
1 cup organic quinoa – white, red or black
3/4 cup picked and washed parsley leaves
3/4 cup picked and washed mint leaves
1/2 a pomegranate, seeds removed
1/2 lemon, juiced
Extra virgin olive oil
50g feta, crumbled
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
Cook quinoa in plenty of boiling water for about 15 minutes, Drain well and set aside to cool.
Once cool, place cooked quinoa in a medium bowl, add washed mint and parsley leaves, lemon juice, sea salt, cracked black pepper and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Toss to combine and either place on a serving platter, or divide between bowls.
Cut the pomegranate in half and gently break the membrane around the pomegranate to release the seeds. Collect them in a small bowl. Sprinkle the salad with plenty of pomegranate seeds and crumble over some feta. If preparing this ahead of time, don’t dress with the lemon juice or extra virgin olive oil till ready to eat.