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Quinoa-spinach-hibiscus Tabouli

As a watercolorist, I am a purist and believe in saving the white of the paper without the use of masking fluids or tape.    I am equally-sensitive about certain traditional foods, and it seems a bit wrong to call this, “tabouli,” just because it looks like tabouli!   I welcome suggestions for a better name!

Whatever we call it, this recipe uses quinoa instead of wheat and is a much-better choice for diabetics or people with wheat sensitivities. (When using fresh flowers, always be sure that they have not been treated with pesticides!)

This is so easy!

(Faux Tabouli?!)

INGREDIENTS: 2 cups quinoa, 1 large onion, 2 tomatoes, fresh garlic, fresh lemon, chopped fresh spinach, parsley, mint (optional) and green onion tops.

Wash the quinoa well;  while rinsing, scrub the seeds together until the water is no longer cloudy.  Set aside to drain.

Dice and saute an onion (or two) in a small amount of cooking oil over low – medium heat.  Remove/reserve the sauteed onions and add the quinoa to the onion-seasoned skillet.

Slightly ‘toast’  the quinoa over low to medium heat for five minutes – just enough to enhance its flavor. Stir often.   Add one large minced garlic clove while toasting.

Transfer the quinoa to a medium pot and barely cover the seeds with water.  (Less than 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa.) Add salt to taste.  Stir occasionally on low heat until the water has almost evaporated.  (5 minutes or a little longer.)  Fold in the onion and stir.   Add two chopped tomatoes and the juice of one or two lemons.

The quinoa should be slightly crunchy and not overcooked.  If necessary, add a bit more water to keep the mixture from sticking to the pan.

Add the chopped spinach and a little more water (2 – 3 Tablespoons) to steam the spinach for a minute or two, depending on variety. A delicate and tender leaf only needs the heat of the already-cooked quinoa.  A tough leaf might need several minutes of cooking.  The spinach should stay bright green.

Add chopped parsley, green onion tops, chopped unopened hibiscus buds and fresh mint (optional).

Garnish and enjoy!