Purslane and Quinoa Tabbouleh

Adapted from Rosemarie Taylor-Perry’s Wild Community Garden Cookbook

Quinoa is a utricle, not a grain; it has a saponin-rich protective coating on the outside. Before using quinoa for any recipe, place the dry seeds in a very fine-mesh sieve and soak them in tepid water for five minutes following with a rinse under running water, or until the water runs clear, stirring the seeds around constantly.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 cup washed and chopped fresh purslane leaves and stems (or green elm samaras; purslane is available mid-to-late summer, and the samaras are available early to late spring)
  • juice and zest of 1 large lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large peeled and seeded tomato (Cherokee Purple is my favorite in this recipe)
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped spearmint leaves
  • 1 large Persian cucumber, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons diced black olives (preferably sun-dried, or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon dried dillweed
  • 1 teaspoon za’atar (or 1 teaspoon fresh sumac berries, crushed, plus 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)

Instructions

Add sea salt to water in a large saucepan, and boil the rinsed quinoa for 15-20 minutes. Drain off hot water and rinse quinoa in cold running water for five minutes to stop it cooking; allow quinoa to drain in the colander, then transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Add all the rest of the ingredients, and stir together well. Chill for at least two hours before serving. Serve cold with boneless, free-range lamb roast stuffed with Mushroom and Iberico Ham Stuffing, or as a main course salad on a bed of arugula and watercress tossed with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.