I love the flavors in traditional tabbouleh, so I added the seasoning to wonderfully healthy, protein-rich quinoa.  I also made this more of a meal, rather than a side, by adding marinated chickpeas.  Serve this as part of a Middle Eastern menu with hummus, babaganoush (roasted eggplant dip), an Israeli salad (chopped tomatoes and cucumbers with lemon and olive oil) and whole wheat pita.  This salad is light yet filling and flavorful; the perfect meal for a warm summer night.  Leftovers are great for lunch.

Middle Eastern Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

2 C. quinoa, rinsed

3 C. low-sodium chicken stock

15oz cooked garbanzo beans, rinsed (about 1 ½ C.)

2 lemons, zested and juiced (about ¼ C. juice)

½ medium red onion, minced

1 hothouse cucumber, seeded and diced

8oz roasted red peppers, diced

½ C. parsley, chopped (½ bunch)

¼ C. extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbs. kosher salt

½ Tbs. fresh-ground black pepper

1.            Rinse quinoa under cold water until water runs clear (don’t skip this step – quinoa has a bitter outer layer that you need to rinse off).  Place quinoa and broth in medium saucepan and bring to boil.  Once boiling, cover and reduce heat.  Simmer 15 minutes, or until liquid absorbs into quinoa.  Fluff quinoa with a fork.  Transfer to a medium bowl and cool.

2.      While quinoa is cooking, combine garbanzo beans, lemon zest and juice, and red onion in a small bowl.  Allow the beans to marinate while you prepare the rest of the salad.

3.            Combine olive oil through pepper in a large bowl and whisk together.  Add in cucumber, red pepper and parsley; toss to coat vegetables.  Add in the quinoa and chickpeas (including marinade) and toss to combine.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if you’d like. Can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container (the flavor improves if it sits for a few hours, giving the quinoa time to absorb the other flavors).