I was inspired by this salad when I wanted something full of flavor, fresh and light as we finally get to enjoy some Spring weather. This Strawberry Quinoa Tabbouleh salad did just that, and can easily be a side dish or a main course.

Ingredients:

1 c quinoa
1.5 c water
1 lb strawberries, fresh, finely diced (about 1 pint)
2 c cucumber, finely diced
1/4 c red onion, finely diced
1 c fresh mint, finely diced
1 c Italian parsley, chopped
4 T olive oil
1 T red wine vinegar
2-3 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 t salt, plus more to taste
fresh pepper

Optional Toppings: Feta cheese, toasted almonds and avocadoes

Directions:
1. Rinse your quinoa well, then drain. In a medium pot, add 1.5 c water and quinoa. Bring to a boil before covering and turning heat down to low. Cook for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave covered until the water is soaked up. Fluff up your quinoa and chill in the fridge. You can also prepare this ahead of time and refrigerate overnight.

2. Prepare your ingredients. Add quinoa to a large bowl and add finely diced strawberries, cucumber, red onion, chopped mint, chopped parsley and add to the bowl. Mix well.

3. Pour in olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix again. Let stand for a few minutes. Mix again.

4. Serve on a platter for a party/luncheon or serve in a bowl. Add optional toppings (found below).

Tips and Hints:

1. Rinsing quinoa is a necessity. This removes the bitter flavor from it. Use less water than directions state to help keep it a touch drier.

2. Use plenty, and I mean plenty of herbs. This is where you’ll get so much flavor.

3. Your lemon juice and salt will need to be adjusted some as you serve it. The quinoa will soak up some of that flavor so be ready to add some more as necessary.

4. Some time to sit will help the salt and acid come together in the salad. 5-10 minutes is all you need, but you can let it sit longer in the fridge if needed.

5. OPTIONAL TOPPINGS: In my opinion, these toppings aren’t optional though. You’ll want toasted almonds, feta cheese and avocadoes to go with it.

6. Make this a main course by adding some seasoned diced or shredded chicken on the side.