Couscous-Quinoa Tabouli

Try this variation on the traditional Mediterranean green-and-grain salad. It’s different and delicious, with the addition of a few non-traditional spices—and it’s a great way to slip some of that nutritious wonder-grain, quinoa, into your diet.

Couscous-Quinoa Tabouli

closeup bowl of couscous
Serves 6 to 8
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup uncooked instant couscous
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 cups (packed) minced fresh parsley (flat or curly-leaf)
  • 1 cup minced fresh mint
  • 3-4 scallions, finely minced
  • 1 cup minced red onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 1 or 2 small (6-inch) cucumbers, peeled, seeded if necessary, and diced
  • 1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt (possibly more to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4-6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 or more tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)

  • Optional garnishes

    • Tiny cherry tomatoes, for garnish (cut in half if not really tiny)
    • A few toasted walnuts, minced
    • Toasted pita bread
  1. Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse under cold running water. Transfer to a small saucepan, add 1¼ cups water, and bring to a boil. Cover, turn the heat way down, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and fluff thoroughly with a fork to let heat escape. Set aside. (Continue to fluff the quinoa from time to time as you prepare the other ingredients, so the grains stay dry and separate.)
  2. Place the couscous in a medium-large bowl, and add the boiling water. Cover with a plate and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove the plate, and fluff with a fork as you did with the quinoa. Then add the quinoa to the couscous, and fluff mightily. (It’s very important to the texture of this dish that the grains be separate and “tender-dry.” They will borrow moisture from the other ingredients, and you don’t want the salad to turn to mush.)
  3. Meanwhile, lightly toast the seeds in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat until they are fragrant. Cover and stir often, so they don’t burn. Transfer to an electric spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. Grind to a powder, and add this to the cooked grains. Set the bowl aside until the grains have cooled at least to room temperature.
  4. When the grains have cooled, use a fork to stir in all the remaining ingredients except the optional garnishes. Cover tightly and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
  5. Serve cold, topped with cherry tomatoes and/or minced walnuts, and with some toasted pita bread on the side, if desired.

Nutrition facts:

Per 1/6 of recipe, excluding optional garnishes 350 calories 9 grams of protein 50 grams of carbohydrates 6 grams of fiber 220 milligrams of sodium 13 grams of fat ( 2 grams of saturated fat 9 grams of monounsaturated fat 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat )

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