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Orache Tabouleh

Orache Tabbouleh Recipe

Spear-leaved Orache (Atriplex prostrata) is a member of the goosefoot family recognisable by their goosefoot shaped leaves. They are also cousins of the cultivated South American quinoa whose seeds are increasingly being used in cooking today. I decided to combine the two in this recipe.

The leaves of the goosefoot family should be eaten in moderation by anyone with kidney stones as they contain oxalic acid. Many of this species are tolerant of salty soil, thriving on salt marshes or close to salty water. This was certainly true of the leaves I used, so I did not add any extra salt to this recipe, relying on the salt naturally present.

The following is not really a recipe, the amounts can easily be changed and other foods substituted. It would also work well with cooled, roasted vegetables.


  • 150g quinoa grains
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 100g orache leaves, well washed
  • Vinaigrette dressing
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • Bunch spring onions, sliced
  • ¼ cucumber
  • 2 sprigs mint
  • Small handful flat-leaved parsley

Suggested Instructions

  1. Place 400g water in a saucepan with the turmeric and bring to the boil. Add the quinoa and simmer for 15 minutes, when all the water should be absorbed and the grains soft. Tip into a bowl, pour over some dressing and gently fork through. Leave to cool.
  2. Place the orache leaves in a steamer and place over boiling water for 2-3 minutes. The leaves will quickly collapse like spinach. Remove and chop roughly.
  3. Prepare the vegetables. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds by running a teaspoon down the centre. Cut into strips and then across into dice, repeat with the pepper. Remove the roots from the spring onions and slice the stems, including some of the green leaves. Chop the herbs fairly finely.
  4. Gently toss all the prepared ingredients into the quinoa. Add some more dressing if the tabouleh seems a little dry. Serve.

Serves: 4 ( as a side dish)

About the Author Robin Harford

Robin is a forager and self-taught ethnobotanist. He specialises in wild edible plants and has been running foraging courses throughout the UK since 2008. He travels extensively documenting and recording the traditional and local uses of wild food plants in indigenous cultures.

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