Now that it’s spring, all I want to eat are salads. Not the iceberg lettuce salads that are popular at buffets and most restaurants. The salads I love eating are packed with veggies, fruits, nuts, and whole grains. Not a lick of iceberg lettuce in sight. And my favorite salad of all springtime salads is my Sweet and Spicy Springtime Tabouli.
This is a recipe I adapted years ago from a recipe I found in Alicia Silverstone’s cookbook and one that continues to evolve. I actually posted a version of it 2 years ago, but I wanted to revisit it in the way I happen to make it these days, based on what I have available locally. Which means it will likely change again sometime in the future.
That’s ok. Change is good. Plus, adapting your food to your location is healthy for your body. Nature grows exactly what your body needs to survive seasonally.
In this age of global food, we tend to eat a lot of things out of season (think tomatoes in winter and apples in the spring). Now there’s nothing specifically wrong with that and there are certainly lots of benefits to having access to foods that don’t grow in your area (I’d really miss avocados, which are my primary food group). There are also a lot of benefits to “eating from your patch” and honoring the seasons by eating what grows and thrives in each season.
This is a salad I can only eat in spring because radishes, cucumber, and strawberries are spring plants. I can have it in late summer/early fall, just without the strawberries (depending on where I live). I happen to have local tomatoes where I am now, which are usually late summer fruits. This salad is delicious with or without them, although I prefer with.
In any case, think of this as a template for your own sweet and spicy tabouli. Look at what is fresh locally for you right now and play with flavors. Experiment and enjoy the experience of feeding your body with foods that thrive exactly now and notice how eating these foods impacts your body.
In my opinion, this delicious, non-traditional take on Tabouli is a great place to start!
Sweet and Spicy Springtime Tabouli
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water
1 small cucumber, halved and sliced thinly into half moons
16 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 bunch of small radishes (about 5 or 6), halved and sliced thinly into half moons
16 strawberries, halved
1 cup parsley (and cilantro or mint — whatever you have available), finely chopped
salt/pepper to taste
a dash of lemon and olive oil, if you’re feeling fancy
Cook quinoa in water. Should take about 10-15 minutes until the quinoa is fluffy. Set aside to cool.
Combine the quinoa, tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, strawberries, and herbs in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly so all veggies are well distributed throughout the quinoa. If you have trouble mixing, add a little olive oil to help combine everything more smoothly. Or add that dash of lemon for a little flavor boost.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Note~I like to eat this with sauteed kale because I love kale with everything. Any dark leafy green would be great, though.