My senior year of college I took a class called “Plants, People, and You” within the Agriculture department. I intended it to just be an easy A class, but instead it got me really interested in gardening, landscape, plants, and growing my own food. Every few weeks we would get plants to take home, most were University of Florida hybrid plants that they had created. I lived in a townhouse, was still in college, so most didn’t survive long, but the seed had been planted.
Once I graduated and got married we bought a townhouse and I started cooking. I was sick and tired of spending $15 on herbs each week at the grocery store. So I picked up a few plants at the farmer’s market. I had a very small container garden. I think basil and dill were my only crop the first year. But each subsequent year I added a few new herbs.
Growing anything through the hot Florida summer is a challenge. Full sun does not equal Florida full sun, a few of my plants learned this the hard way. I found my plants grew best with morning sun and afternoon shade. And that’s a great thing about container gardening, if you see a plant isn’t doing well where you have it just move it to a different sun/shade combination and see if that helps out. I don’t follow any hard fast rules when gardening I like to live and learn.
That little basil plant I started 3 years ago was still going strong until just a few weeks ago.
We have since moved, but not to a permanent house so I continue on with my container garden. This year I have mini peppers, jalapenos, parsley, oregano, rosemary, Thai basil, and mint growing. I love the convenience of fresh herbs right outside my front door. My friends and family know they are always welcome to come by and snip some when needed for recipes.
I found that once I planted parsley I was using it all the time, so now I don’t just have one parsley plant but two. As you can imagine tabbouleh has become a staple in our house.
I love the combo of the fresh herbs and vegetables with lemon juice. And it is the perfect grab and go lunch, which is why I make it often. Some days I am out of the house for work with no stopping to get lunch for 8 -10 hours. I try to plan ahead those weeks and make a big batch of quinoa tabbouleh. It keeps great in a lunchbox and I have a healthy and filling lunch to enjoy.
This is not your traditional tabbouleh. Traditionally tabbouleh is made with bulgur, has a much larger amount of parsley in it, and not so many vegetables, but since I make this for my lunch I like to have a good balance of protein and veggies to keep me going. I up the amount of quinoa and add plenty of healthy veggies to the mix.
You can find more delicious recipes on the Recipes from the Garden #ChooseDreams Pinterest board.
- 2 cups cooked quinoa (or cook 1 cup of dry quinoa to yield 2 cooked cups)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 4 plum tomatoes, diced
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 3 green onions, diced
- 1 cup fresh parsley chopped
- In a large bowl combine quinoa, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, tomatoes, cucumber, green onion, and parsley. Check for seasoning, add extra salt and pepper, if necessary.
Approx cost per serving: $.96
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This post is sponsored by American Family Insurance. All opinions are my own.