365 Project – 75 : RECIPE: Quinoa tabouleh (gluten-free) (March 15, 2012)

Shutter Speed: 1/1250, Aperture: F/1.4, ISO: 200, Manual Focus

Tabouleh is such an easy salad…AND, I think it also photographs well! LOL I don’t normally food-blog for these 365 Project posts but, this is an easy recipe so why not?

In the past I typically used couscous but, since I’m trying to go gluten-free I decided to use quinoa, which is a staple in my freezer (you don’t have to freeze it but, since I get the large bag from Costco I freeze it.) Because of the high protein value in the quinoa and the feta cheese, this salad can be sufficient as a vegetarian entree, or it makes for a colorful, complementary side to any simply prepared or mediterranean-spiced meat dish. Here’s the fast, easy recipe:


Quinoa: Follow package instructions to prepare 1 cup uncooked quinoa cooked in 1 3/4 cups broth/water. Package directions will tell you to use 2 cups of water. I find that makes for a soggier tabouleh. Make sure all the liquid is absorbed before removing from the heat.


1 minced garlic clove
1/4 cup oil
juice of one lemon
1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt (salt to taste but, keep in mind the feta cheese will also add salt to this dish)
dash of ground cumin powder

1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes (~ 12 cherry tomatoes sliced in quarters)
1 cucumber seeded, peeled and diced*
1 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Prepare the quinoa, fluff with a fork then set aside and let cool slightly. While the quinoa cooks, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients in a salad bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumber and parsley to the vinagrette and toss to marinate. 20 minutes before serving, add the cooled quinoa to the veggies, toss well. Lightly toss in the crumbled feta cheese right before serving. Serve immediately at room temperature.

* To seed your cucumber, peel it then slice it lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds like you’d scoop them out of a canteloupe.  Then dice.  This is an optional step but, it really makes for a nice crunchy bite to your salad.

MAKE AHEAD: You can make the vinaigrette up to a day before. You can marinate the veggies up to an hour ahead of time. Quinoa can be prepared a few hours before serving. Make sure to fluff the quinoa and refrigerate.

See more of my 365 Project: Untouched photos from my Nikon D5000 with 50mm lens

10 comments on “365 Project – 75 : RECIPE: Quinoa tabouleh (gluten-free) (March 15, 2012)

  1. Helen says:

    This looks delicious 🙂 I’ve never tried quinoa but I’m going to give it a try!


    • meelswa says:

      Helen: Thank you! Oh, you definitely should try quinoa. You get so much nutrition out of that little grain, it’s so easy to cook, and really versatile. Thanks for stopping by. Please do give this easy recipe a try and let me know if you like it! 🙂


  2. this looks delicious! I’ll have to try it soon. I love quinoa. Love the photo too!


    • meelswa says:

      artistrybyadele: Thank you! It’s such an easy recipe. I realized I forgot to mention the tip to “seed” the cucumber. I am going to update the recipe now! Thanks for your compliment and for stopping by! 🙂


  3. Steve (SLHPHOTO1 at Photobucket) says:

    Are you sick of me yet?

    Like the style, color and composition, BUT … that darn shallow DOF again!! If this were shot at 5.6 I think it would have been much more appetizing!

    I come from a marketing background. For me every good photo “sells” something. An idea, a product, a mood, a feeling, a person, a destination,
    pure beauty or something. This photo IS a nice photo, but you probably wouldn’t see it in a cookbook or menu … too “dreamy”.

    Perhaps this is just your chosen individual “style”?

    Humor me … next food shot, shoot your usual 1.4 – 4 shot, then shoot a 5.6 or 8 shot of the same set-up. Post em both and see which one your audience thinks looks best.

    Vivid might be MORE vivid with just a tad under exposure. Maybe Auto Bracket is worth a try? See how the cheese crumble is blown out? The D5000 should be holding the whites a little better.

    Are you manually focusing or using AF?


    • meelswa says:

      Steve: Nope…absolutely NOT sick of you. You’re like my online shutterbug mentor! In fact, I had you in mind when I shot it! I mis-interpreted one of your previous comments, about my lasagna, that I needed a shallower depth of field. I guess I went TOO shallow?

      And, to answer your question, it wasn’t auto-focusing for me when I was getting in this close to I ended up manually focusing. I forgot to mention that in the camera settings in my caption.

      I’m baking cupcakes with my daughter this weekend I’ll take a couple pics per your recommendations. Thanks! 🙂


      • Steve (SLHPHOTO1 at Photobucket) says:

        Definitely Not shallower!! That 50mm looks to have about 3/4 inch of DOF up close at f 1.4. Not much! For a food shot like the salad I think you need about 3 inches. Stop down as I said. Same with the lasagna … The chicken, maybe even more.

        Funny, … I almost never use a 50mm … it is nice to have the extra light gathering ability of the 1.4 … if you need it.

        Wide open is great to “isolate” something, a bee on a flower, a diamond ring on a hand, a special piece of chocolate in an arrangement, but I don’t think that’s the goal in most food shots. It’s not that your food shots don’t look yummy … they do … but a bit more DOF would look even yummier! Is that a word?

        You are doing A LOT of things right Amelia. Think more about the effect on DOF your chosen f stop will have on the finished shot.

        Unfortunately Nikon chose to leave off the “professional” DOF preview feature off the D5000. My old D70 has it as did all my past Nikons. That feature probably would help you greatly to pre-visualize you final image.

        Use your big screen to review and examine the effect of different f stops.


      • meelswa says:

        Got it…thanks! 75 photos into my project and I’m wondering if I’ve pigeon-holed myself into a restricted photography goal of shooting SOTC shots specifically with my 50mm. I am trying to prove to myself that I don’t need to buy any more lenses, or upgrade to another camera. I also have the two kit lenses that came with my D5000. My theory is that I will become a better photographer if I can learn how to improve my photos using the equipment I have. We’ll see!!


  4. Steve (SLHPHOTO1 at Photobucket) says:

    The lens restriction does force a kind of discipline. The cost of film and processing was also a kind of discipline…

    … Discipline is good!

    You have good, make that VERY good equipment. YOU are the most important part of the picture taking formula.


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