Secret Ingredient:

Quinoa is the original powerhouse food.

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Crunchy Harvest Vegetarian Quinoa Tabouli

Quinoa is the original powerhouse food. I've got nothing against a bulgur tabouli/tabouleh, but every now and then I need to make sure I've received all of my amino acids for the year. My mom used to make tabouleh to take to the beach, as a perfect beach food, since it was about the only thing that tasted the same even if a little sand got in it. This recipe combines my memories of her unsanded tabouli as well as my crunch memories from her Farmers Chop Suey (cottage cheese and crunchy veggies). While I've labelled this recipe as vegetarian, you could obviously quite easily make it vegan too, not that I am overly concerned about such things - I realize that some people who eat my food are.

Serves a crowd

In a 3+ quart heavy bottom saucepan over medium-high heat, brown 1 T butter with 1 T olive oil and add:
2 cups quinoa
Then toast, stirring constantly until lightly browned, nutty and fragrant (this is called Pilaf), about five mins, and add:
1 quart warm water that has been mixed with
1 tsp Better Than Bouillon Vegetable base
Bring to boil, cover with tight fitting lid, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed, the quinoa has unfurled and become translucent (if it hasn't then add more water) and bottom of pot is dry (but not burnt)
Spread quinoa out on a half sheet pan to cool while you assemble:
1 large bunch of mint (spearmint is great for this!)
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
small bunch of chives
Optional other fresh herbs you might have around - throw it all in here (but leave mint and parsley as the dominants!)
1/2 bunch of green onions
All herbs except chives need the leaves stripped from stems and then you can mince all herbs together
Cut into 1/4-1/3 inch dice:
3 carrots
2 ribs celery
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 cup sugar snap peas (de-stringed)
Half a red onion
Half a red bell pepper
1 English hothouse cucumber (leave skin on)
Combine all of the above in a large bowl, add 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, juice and zest from one orange AND two lemons, 1/4 cup champagne vinegar, ground black pepper and salt to taste (about 2 T Kosher, depending).
Toss to combine then let flavors marry in the fridge, covered, overnight.
Before serving, cut 3 heirloom tomatoes into 1/2-3/4" dice and mince some more fresh parsley and mint and toss in.
Serve garnished with toasted slivered almonds

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