This recipe, created by Leah Matthews, won Best Side Dish in VT’s 2011 Chefs’ Challenge. Matthews came up with this tabbouleh-inspired salad while working as a sous chef at Twist, a Rhode Island restaurant specializing in gluten-free food. When the summer menu needed an additional item, she worked out a recipe in a matter of hours. “I grabbed seasonal and versatile ingredients from the refrigerator, knowing that cucumbers, tomatoes, lemon, and parsley form a flavor profile,” she says. Using quinoa instead of wheat-based bulgur or couscous keeps the dish gluten-free.
1. Bring 2 quarts salted water to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 12 to 14 minutes, or until quinoa is tender and small “tails” bloom from grains.
2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread pine nuts on baking sheet, and toast 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool, then transfer to large serving bowl.
3. Drain quinoa, and rinse under cold running water. Drain again. Add quinoa to pine nuts, and stir in cucumber, tomatoes, onion, and parsley. Fold in oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.