The first time I had tabbouleh was at the since closed Café Athenee in far North Dallas. My former Latin Teacher recommended I take my future wife there for Valentine’s Day. I guess it was a good call on his part. At the time it was the only Romanian restaurant in the city as there just wasn’t much attention paid to Eastern European cuisine. And in retrospect, my girlfriend at the time and now wife, would argue I didn’t pay her enough attention and/or show enough love. Café Athenee, despite its nondescript exterior and minimalist signage was one of the most romantic restaurants in all of Dallas and marked the beginning of my new and improved courtship.
I remember I couldn’t stopping eating the tabbouleh which was prepared pretty traditional with bulgar, chopped parsley and mint along with diced cucumbers and tomatoes. I had an abundance of cherry tomatoes on hand as well as a fresh bunch of turnip greens from the farmers market, and oh yeah I had been listening to a mix of songs of the Dallas homegirl Erykah Badu. In my humble opinion, Badu is the best artist of my generation. If you want to debate this, let’s go!
As I listened to “No Love”, a song she doesn’t play nearly enough in concert, I got my usual music high and reminisced on the early days, including conversations with wifey over tabbouleh at Café Athenee. “No Love” is slow head bobbin music and has a perfect cadence for chopping up vegetables for my version of a tabbouleh. In addition to the turnip greens and cherry tomatoes, I used quinoa in place of the bulgur to get a bit more protein and to make it gluten free. This rounded out my tabbouleh remix.
Great beats, better eats. Enjoy!
Turnip Greens Tabbouleh w/ Quinoa
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 bunch turnip greens finely chopped
- 2 cups finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley from 3 bunches
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
- 8-10 cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/2 seedless cucumber* peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pour the quinoa into a fine mesh colander and rinse under running water for at least 30 seconds. Drain well.
Combine the rinsed quinoa and water in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat, cover, and simmer.
Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, about 10 to 20 minutes.
Remove the pot and let the quinoa steam for 5 minutes. This step gives the quinoa time to pop open into little curlicues, so it’s nice and fluffy.
Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork.
Transfer quinoa to a bowl and toss with remaining ingredients until combined well.