My husband finds it incredibly ironic that my first post-Lent blog is for a vegan dish. (Note: the Radish & Leek Toasts don’t count. Even though I posted them after Lent, I made and consumed them during Lent).
Ok, I’ll admit…it is slightly ironic.
But, to be fair, the (vegan) quinoa tabouleh was served alongside of a roasted leg of lamb and a host of other non-vegan Easter delectables. I’m simply choosing to post my tabouleh recipe because it is really quite delicious (and because my friend Beyth has been begging me to post it for months).
That being said, Lent is over!!! Nich and I celebrated Easter in true Greek fashion, at St. John’s in Beaverton. Easter service begins at 11:30pm on Saturday and goes until about 3:30am (yes, you read that correctly. Church goes until 3:30 in the morning!). When the service was over, everyone broke the fast together and feasted on meat, cheese, wine, and other goodies. I can honestly say I’ve never drank wine with a priest (at church!) at 4:00 in the morning. It was kind of awesome.
But, in all seriousness, I loved every minute of it. The Orthodox know how to fast, but even more so, they know how to feast. There was so much joy in the whole experience, as people ate and drank together and celebrated the resurrection. You could see it in people’s eyes – they really believe it. Christos anesti. He is risen.
I feel grateful and humbled by the whole experience. Giving up meat, dairy and wine for 6 weeks wasn’t easy. But it was worth it. I learned a lot about myself. Quite frankly, I learned that it is good to go without.
So, I’m back to eating meat and dairy. And yet, here I am posting a meat and dairy-free recipe. The thing is, I really like vegan food. And while I’m not a full time vegan, I appreciate so much of what the vegan diet has to offer. I still plan on incorporating a lot of vegan meals into our meal rotation. That being said, I love cheese (and pork!) far too much to give it up completely. :)
So, all of this to say: use this tabouleh recipe in whatever way you please! It could easily be the star of a vegan meal, or it could be a lovely compliment to a roast leg of lamb. And of course, Happy Easter, happy Passover, and happy Spring. I hope this beautiful season finds you well.
1.5 cups uncooked Quinoa
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 bunch of curly parsley (not flat leaf), stems removed
2 Tablespoons fresh mint
1 small red onion (or 1/2 a large red onion)
The juice of 2 lemons
1/2 red bell pepper, diced (*you could use a full bell pepper, but I only had 1/2 on hand!)
1/4 cup olive oil (more, if needed)
Cook quinoa according to package directions (I cook mine in the rice cooker like rice. 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa). Set aside, allow quinoa to cool.
Chop vegetables into a very small dice. I use a food processor to chop the red onion, parsley and min. I chop the tomato and bell pepper by hand (as I like my tomato and bell pepper to be a slightly larger dice than everything else in the tabouleh).
Once the quinoa has full cooled, mix in tomato, parsley, onion, bell pepper and mint. Stir in lemon juice and olive oil. Season with fresh black pepper. Taste, and add more olive oil if the tabouleh seems dry.
Allow to sit for at least a couple hours before serving. The longer the tabouleh sits, the better it will taste. Squeeze a little extra fresh lemon juice over the tabouleh prior to serving.