Tag Archives: Middle Eastern

Quinoa Tabbouleh

24 Sep

I am a lover of Middle-eastern food… ever since I visited Israel 15 years ago, I have been a fan of falafels, hummus, pita bread, rice pilaf, dolmades, among others.

Tabbouleh would be part of that fan list, however, the tabboulehs made usually in Middle-Eastern restaurants are too heavy on the parsley for my taste.  And now that I am trying to avoid wheat sometimes, well I rather order the arab salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and onions and skip the tabbouleh all together.  Traditionally, tabbouleh is made with cracked wheat.

For the last time I cooked in the Yoga Center, I wanted to make a Middle-Eastern inspired menu and it all revolved around the fact I wanted to make this salad.  We made hummus, a salad with mixed herbs including mint, rice with spinach, mushrooms and nuts, which is not like the rice pilafs I am used to having at middle-eastern restaurants, but it fit better for the Yoga appetites.

This recipe also makes use of the abundance of avocados we have right now in Puerto Rico…  and what dish is not instantly improved by adding avocado to it??


Recipe by KarmaFree Cooking


2 cups of quinoa

1 vegetable bouillon cube

The zest and juice of 6 yellow lemons

2 bunches of scallions, thinly sliced

1 large red onion, finely chopped

1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 cup of fresh spearmint leaves, julienned

4 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved

2 seedless cucumbers, unpeeled and diced

1 avocado, diced

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper


  1. Cook the quinoa first… by adding 4 cups of water to a medium saucepan with the vegetable bouillon cube.  When the water reaches a boiling point, add the quinoa.  Add a drizzle of olive oil, just like you would when making rice.  Cover and lower the heat to simmer until the quinoa cooks, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. After the quinoa is done, fluff it with a fork and season with ¼ cup of the olive oil and the zest and juice of 3 lemons.  Set aside.  If you are making this ahead of time, you can stop here and store the cooked quinoa in the refrigerator after it has had a chance to cool off a bit.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the scallions, onions, parsley, spearmint leaves, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  Add the cooked quinoa and toss all the ingredients together.  Season the whole salad with the additional ¼ cup of olive oil, the zest and juice of the remaining 3 lemons, salt and pepper to taste.  Toss again well to combine.  Let all the flavors combine about 30mins – 1 hour before serving.

When you’re about to serve, garnish with the pieces of avocado.  Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.

Restaurante Jerusalem – Eating Vegetarian in San Juan

6 Dec

Many of you have asked me where to eat delicious vegetarian food when visiting San Juan… I even once wrote an article in Serious Eats on my favorite restaurants in San Juan and Jerusalem was definitely on that list.

Ever since I returned from a trip to Israel in April 2000, I have been enamored with the flavors of the Middle East. We spent our days eating mostly falafels, hummus, pita bread and salads. That was our menu almost every single day. And when we returned to Puerto Rico, I wanted to remember all the flavors of those travels. It was a magical trip and Jerusalem was the only restaurant that made me go back to the flavors of Israel.

In my opinion, Jerusalem has THE BEST Middle Eastern food in Puerto Rico. There are several Middle Eastern restaurants here, most of them located in Roosevelt Ave. , but none of them stand close to the food at Jerusalem.

Jerusalem has, in my opinion, the best falafels in Puerto Rico. They taste fresh and light. I am not the greatest fan of tahini sauce, but I consider Jerusalem’s tahini sauce the best as well.

I usually order the hummus as an appetizer. The olive oil on top of it tastes so fruity and delicious…

Another reason why I love to eat at Jerusalem is because they serve a vegetarian kabob platter that I just love. It is grilled tomatoes, peppers and onions served with rice and the arab salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, cubanelle peppers, parsley dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. I am making myself hungry just writing about this right now…

When people want to invite me to dinner… I usually suggest Jerusalem. It has a little bit of everything and even when you’re ordering vegetarian food it does not feel like you’re missing out on anything of the traditional flavors of the region.

Have you been to Jerusalem, the restaurant in San Juan??? Tell me what’s your opinion… what else should I order besides my usual fare???

 Rest. Jerusalem – Ave. Roosevelt 1109, San Juan, Puerto Rico

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