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Quinoa Tabbouleh, a gluten-free take on a Middle Eastern classic

| Saturday, May 18, 2013, 6:30 p.m.
Kate Sears
Quinoa Tabbouleh, from “Weeknight Gluten-Free” by Kristine Kidd (Williams-Sonoma, 2013)

Gluten-free has become a serious eating choice for many, not only those diagnosed with celiac disease but also people who are sensitive to wheat products. There are many books on the subject. What sets “Weeknight Gluten-Free” apart from the others is that the author is Bon Appetit magazine's former food editor, Kristine Kidd.

She has developed more recipes than most cookbook authors in her career. Her mission was to cook pleasing dishes that are naturally gluten-free rather than reinterpreting disappointing versions of recipes that rely on wheat, rye or barley.

One of the concepts that shines through in this volume is that there is no need to fret about adhering to a gluten-free diet. The recipes are made for home cooks who want to put a satisfying and tasty meal on the table — a task seemingly made that much more difficult for cooks limited to gluten-free dishes. In fact, there are so many tempting recipes in her latest book, it was difficult to decide which one to test and share.

Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern salad that is traditionally prepared with bulgur wheat. The simplest version includes tomatoes, cucumber, parsley and bulgur wheat. Kidd's version transforms the classic dish into a gluten-free version by substituting high-protein quinoa for bulgur. It gets a further flavor boost from feta cheese, chickpeas, fresh mint and lemon juice.

I like to serve this as part of a mezze platter. You can pick up quality hummus and tzatziki, and arrange on a serving platter. Don't forget warm cut-up pita bread or pita crackers for scooping along with the romaine leaves. I prefer the inner light-green, white leaves for their sweeter flavor and crisp texture. Serve a chilled white wine like sauvignon blanc or chardonnay to accompany.

Write Diane Rossen Worthington at www.seriouslysimple.com.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

1 cup (6 ounces), quinoa, preferably multicolor

Water

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 pound halved cherry tomatoes, preferably heirloom

1 can (15 ounces), chickpeas, rinsed and well drained

6 radishes, chopped

3 Persian cucumbers, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, cut into 12-inch pieces

4 green onions, chopped

34 cup chopped fresh flatleaf parsley

3 tablespoons minced fresh mint

12 cup crumbled feta cheese, optional

14 cup extra-virgin olive oil

14 cup fresh lemon juice

Romaine hearts, for serving

Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan. Rinse with cold water, drain. Repeat rinsing 3 more times, and then drain the quinoa and return to the pan. Add 1 12 cups water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until all the water is absorbed, for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand for at least 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Transfer the quinoa to a large, shallow bowl and cool to room temperature. (Refrigerate to speed up the cooling).

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, chickpeas, radishes, cucumbers, green onions, parsley, mint and feta, if using. Add to the cooled quinoa.

Add the oil and lemon juice, and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with romaine hearts for scooping.

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