Royal Quinoa Negra Tabbouleh

Chef Jesse Lepkoff

The name tabbouleh comes from the Arabic word “taabil” which means to season or spice. Tabbouleh was first eaten in the mountains of Lebanon and Syria more than 4000 years ago. It is highly nutritious—made with lots of finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, mint, green onions, bulgur wheat and tossed with olive oil and lemon juice. We took this amazing ancient recipe and substituted A Perfect Seed’s heirloom black Royal Quinoa Negra variety for the bulgur wheat—making it even more nutritious, delicious, dramatic—and Paleo friendly. Bringing the ancient grains of the Andes—cultivated and eaten 4,000 years ago—to the ancient recipe of Tabbouleh blends authentic heritages across the globe. Unlike bulgur wheat, Royal Quinoa Negra is not a grain but a seed—related to swiss chard and spinach. Quinoa Negra is gluten-free and provides a complete protein with all 10 essential amino acids, minerals and antioxidants. A healing combination of mint helps ease digestion, parsley boosts the immune system, lemon cleanses the blood neutralizing body acid, olive oil feeds the heart, and quinoa negra with its full protein, fiber, iron and powerful antioxidants—feeds the muscles, blood and body. Blessed by the farmers before planting and upon harvesting, this sacred seed also nourishes the soul. On the aesthetic side the dark shade of this quinoa contrasts with the brightly colored vegetables and herbs—producing a striking, dramatic presentation.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 6 servings (1 cup each)
Category: Salad, side dish, light meal
Cuisine: Lebanese


1/2 cup Royal Quinoa Negra (ancient variety)
1 1/4 cup of water and a pinch of salt
1 cup diced, pealed cucumber (1 small-to-medium)
1 cup diced tomato, de-seeded (1 large)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
1/3 cup chopped curly parsley
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup chopped green onion
1/3 cup extra-virgin first cold pressed olive oil (best flavor)
3 to 4 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon (organic recommended)
2 medium cloves garlic, minced


Wash and cook the quinoa in water with a pinch of salt for 28 minutes or until it is fluffy and its black seed is open and you see can the white specs (quinoa “tails”).

While the quinoa cooks, combine the diced cucumber and tomato in a medium bowl. Mash the minced garlic with the salt to bring out the garlic flavor and oils. Add this to the cucumber/tomato mixture. Stir, and let the mixture rest for at least 10 minutes, or until you’re ready to mix the salad.

To prepare the parsley, cut off the thick stems, then, finely chop the parsley. Prepare the mint the same way, removing any thick stems and finely chopping the leaves. Mix this with the parsley. Chop the green onion into tiny rounds and add this to the parsley/mint mix as well.

Once the quinoa is cooked, add it to the cucumber and tomato mixture. Stir in the chopped greens (parsley, mint, onion).

In a small measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, and lemon zest. Pour it into the salad and stir to combine.

Let the salad rest and cool for 15 minutes before serving to let the flavors mingle. It can also be chilled and served cold. Tabbouleh will keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 days. Our favorite way to serve it is warm, so the favors are most noticeable.

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