Try this fun vegan parsley salad! Packed with vibrant parsley and quinoa it makes a great lunch or side. In addition, the carrots, cranberries, almonds, and sesame oil add color and crunch and a delectable mix of tastes.
The land of fresh vegetables
One of my favorite things about living in the Mediterranean are the salads! Above all the vegetables are so fresh and crisp. There is no such thing as a meal without salad. People begin their day with eggs and a giant pile of chopped vegetables. When you sit down at a restaurant you will often be greeted with a variety of salads before you even order.
Once or twice a month Sophia, my husband and I drive out of the city to his parent’s house and fill up our trunk with lemons, avocados, and grapefruit from their trees, and a jug of misty olive oil homemade by their neighbors. When you eat a salad made with the best ingredients there’s no going back to iceberg lettuce and ranch dressing. You begin to crave the variety of colors and textures that a good salad can provide.
It can be hard to travel
On our last trip to the US, I started getting vegetable withdrawal. I began dreaming of deep green kale and garden tomatoes and crispy cucumbers. We had to hunt for a farm stand in order to get vegetables that felt real. Produce that wasn’t pre-chopped, peeled, and wrapped in layers of plastic. On the other hand, arriving home in Tel Aviv was like finding a spring after having wandered in the desert for days. I feel lucky to live in a place where fresh vegetables are seen as a necessity by everyone, not only by those specifically into healthy food.
Another great part of being in the Middle East is the vast variety of salads that we’re exposed to. After living here for a while, I realized that almost any vegetable can be the star of the salad. Parsley, for example, is often used as a mere curly decor in the United States, while here in Israel it is viewed as a serious ingredient. Just think of tabbouleh salad, of kababs stuffed with parsley, of parsley pestos, and green smoothies packed with parsley. Parsley is a delicious and sly way to add greens to your diet and keep your kidneys and urinary tract happy. The Meditteranean diet is viewed as so healthy because it lets vegetables shine. You don’t eat them out of necessity, but with immense pleasure.
Try our crunchy parsley and quinoa salad
Here are pictures from a recent picnic that we went on with Einav and her family. We found a lovely spot near their home, next to a small stream. It felt special to be near the running water, as in a few months’ time it will have dried up from the summer sun. We brought a simple meal. Bread, tahini, roasted veggies and a large parsley salad.
We’ve shared the recipe below for the delicious vegan parsley and quinoa salad. Heaps of chopped parsley, celery, and carrots are mixed with cranberries, almonds and quinoa. It all comes together with an Asian style dressing, with flavors of sesame and agave shining. The parsley is the star of the dish and needs to be super fresh and green. If you want to turn this into a toddler friendly meal, then just put the almonds on the side.
If you enjoyed this recipe, check out our Pomegranate Tabbouleh Salad!
Parsley and Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 pinch black pepper ground
- 1¾ cup water
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2½ tablespoons lemon juice
- 1½ teaspoons agave
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup celery stalks chopped small
- 1 cup carrots sliced into thin and short sticks in the mandolin or by hand
- 1/2 cup dried halved cranberries sugar free
- some extra cranberries for decorating
- 3 cups chopped parsley packed full
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup sliced toasted almonds without the peel
- Wash and drain the quinoa in a strainer. Choose a pot that has a well-fitting lid. Add the quinoa together with the cumin, paprika, turmeric and black pepper to the pot. Turn on a medium flame and warm the contents, mixing every couple of seconds for about four minutes. The smell of the spices becomes stronger and the quinoa has a slightly nutty aroma.
- Add the water, the olive oil and the salt and turn up the flame to high. When the water starts to boil put on the lid and turn the fire down to low.
- Cook for about 12 minutes or until all of the water is gone. You will begin to see holes forming where the steam is rising, which is a sign of readiness, but check gently with a fork to make sure.
- When all of the water has disappeared, turn off the fire and lay a towel over the pot, then place the lid on top of the towel. The towel will create a tight seal and catches the steam; it will prevent condensation that collects on the pot lid from falling back onto the grains. Let rest for 10 minutes without opening. Then fluff with a fork.
- Whisk together the olive oil, sesame oil, lemon juice, agave and sea salt.
- Put chopped celery, thinly sliced carrot sticks and cranberries in a large bowl. Mix in the dressing.
- When ready to serve add in the parsley and the quinoa. Garnish with toasted almonds and some additional cranberries.
If using regular table salt use a bit less than if using sea salt. Leave the almonds on the side if eating with your toddlers like we do.