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This stunning Mediterranean salad is tangy and fresh, featuring fresh cilantro and parsley, chickpeas, bulgur wheat, currants, and lemon.

Mediterranean Salad with Chickpeas
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Here’s a salad that is everything fresh! This Mediterranean salad with chickpeas is the perfect study of counterpoints: chewy bulgur wheat, savory chickpeas, fresh aromatic cilantro, spicy red onion, sweet currants, and tangy lemon. It’s one of those “wow” factor recipes, from the first bite! Alex and I love hearty soups, stews, and casseroles as much as anything, but sometimes it’s fun to shake it up a bit! It was inspired by the highlight of London-based chef Yottam Ottolenghi in this month’s issue of Bon Appetit. Keep reading for how to make it!

Bulgur wheat | Mediterranean salad with chickpeas

Making this Mediterranean salad

This salad was inspired by London-based chef Yottam Ottolenghi and his hit cookbook, Plenty. His fresh, Mediterranean recipes make vegetable-heavy cooking look positively glamorous. And after tasting some of his flavors, we realized they don’t just look pretty: they taste amazing.

This Mediterranean salad is an adaptation of a bulgur salad that is served alongside grilled eggplant in the book. We love idea of the play between sweet currants, tangy lemon, salty pistachios, and the bite of the fresh herbs. We changed it up quite a bit to use a lot more bulgur wheat, and added chickpeas to make for a more filling vegetarian dish. To serve, we paired it with our “famous” spiced roasted cauliflower. It’s a stunning side dish and would be perfect alongside grilled fish or meat as well.

How to cook bulgur wheat

So, what is bulgur wheat? Bulgur wheat is a whole wheat grain that has been cracked and partially pre-cooked. Not only does it have a delicious chewy texture, nutty flavor, and a high nutritional content, but it cooks quickly. For this recipe, make sure to find fine-grind or medium-grind bulgur wheat, since these types cook the fastest.

How to cook bulgur wheat? Here’s all you have to do. Boil some water in a teapot. Once boiling, pour it over the bulgur wheat and let it soak for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, fluff the bulgur with a fork. That’s it! It’s basically a “no cook” recipe because you’re not really cooking on the stovetop in the traditional sense.

Mediterranean salad with chickpeas

The pair of the salad and cauliflower was perfect – an array of tastes and textures that left us craving more! This meal made a wonderful compliment to an evening with some of our dearest friends – it would also make for a great lunch option to bring to work (the leftovers save well). Let us know if you give it a try and what you think in the comments below!

Get it: For more, check out Yottam Ottolenghi’s new cookbook, Plenty.

Looking for more recipes with bulgur wheat?

If you buy bulgur wheat for this recipe and are looking to use it up, here are a few recipes with bulgur:

Looking for salad recipes?

Outside of this Mediterranean salad recipe, here are a few favorite salad recipes:

This Mediterranean salad recipe is…

Vegetarian, plant-based, vegan, and dairy-free.

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Mediterranean Salad with Chickpeas


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  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x

Description

This stunning Mediterranean salad is tangy and fresh, featuring fresh cilantro and parsley, chickpeas, bulgur wheat, currants, and lemon.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups fine- or medium-grind bulgur wheat*
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup currants or raisins
  • ½ cup pistachios
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, plus lemon zest (1 large or 2 small lemons)
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas (or 1 ½ cups cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Boil 2 cups of water. In a medium bowl or sealable container, place the bulgur wheat and 2 cups boiling water. Cover and allow to sit until tender: about 7 minutes for fine-grind and 15 minutes for medium-grind bulgur.
  2. Meanwhile, thinly slice the red onion. Chop the cilantro and parsley. Crush the pistachios (you can place them in a handkerchief or plastic bag and pound with a rolling pin or other heavy item). Juice and zest the lemon. Drain and rinse the chickpeas (if canned).
  3. When the bulgur is ready, in a large bowl, combine bulgur, red onion, parsley, cilantro, chickpeas, currants, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, kosher salt, and plenty of fresh ground pepper. Taste, and adjust flavors as necessary.
  4. To serve, garnish with pistachios, or stir them in to the salad. (If desired, you could serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt.)

Notes

*Avoid coarse or extra-coarse bulgur, since the cooking instructions are different.

Adapted from Yottam Ottolenghi

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

 

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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21 Comments

  1. Lyn Reasbeck says:

    Hi! This was easy to put together, and my first time using bulghur. It’s beautiful and tastes delish!! I only use what I have on hand and I have fresh cilantro growing but only fresh dill. I took a deep breath and used that combination. Really good!! I will make this again – with parsley!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Liz says:

    I made this for my take-to-work lunch this week. Everything works together so well: the crunch of the pistachios, the coolness of the cilantro, the pop of the onion, the sweetness of the raisins. Delicious.

    I almost got lazy with the cauliflower because I actually love it raw and I was tired, but I motivated myself to roast it and, though I had to take it out earlier than your recipe said so it didn’t char, it is now one of my favorite ways to make it!

    All of this with the Greek yogurt was perfection.

    1. Sonja says:

      Thanks for such a thoughtful comment! We love to hear when people try out the recipes (especially when they enjoy them too)! :)

      The roasting time does depend on the oven for the cauliflower — lucky for you, you get to eat yours sooner :)

  3. Ania says:

    Just wanted to say that I’ve made 3 of your recipes so far and loved every single one! Made this with quinoa instead because it was what I had on hand and it was so delicious and fresh and the flavor was just perfectly balanced. Your recipes are just lovely!

    1. Sonja says:

      Oh thank you! That is so nice of you to say. Quinoa would be perfect as well – we’ll have to try that too!

  4. Clayton Owen says:

    This is an outstanding recipe. I only made one change (because I screwed up). I added 1/2 a shallot and a red onion. I also cut up a Hass Artichoke cause I thought it would taste good, it did! My wife loved it and she hates everything I make:-)

    1. Sonja says:

      Haha — those changes sound delicious! Glad to provide the inspiration! :)

  5. Sarah says:

    What a perfect dish that is hearty, healthy, and vibrant! I’m excited to try it.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Hey guys, I was just remarking on the weird fact that we both put out roasted cauliflower salads with grain and chickpeas. Weird…and they are side by side on Tasteologie. Great minds do think alike!

    Oh and I love your new (to me!) picture as well…;)

    1. Sonja says:

      Ha – how funny is that! (Sorry on the late response here…) :) Thanks on the pic too! :)

  7. elly says:

    Love the dollop of Greek yogurt on the side – a perfect accompaniment. I’m not a huge chickpea fan, though I keep trying and trying. I do LOVE bulgur, though – actually just posted bulgur on my blog today. :) This looks really delicious.

  8. janet @ the taste space says:

    Looks great! It has been such a long time since I’ve had bulgur – I should change that. :)

  9. Sylvie (A Pot of Tea) says:

    I just bought some bulghur to make Imjadara with Roasted Cauliflower today, so will have to try this with what will be left over. You can never go wrong with an Ottolenghi recipe! Delicious.

  10. Deny says:

    I just love your recipes. they always come at the time I am thinking about the ingredients! I agree with Valeria & the seasonality of your recipes. HURRAH!

  11. DeskSnacker says:

    This looks perfect for this time of year. The currants really elevate the flavor. Thanks for sharing!

  12. jackie @ marin mama cooks says:

    Hi guys! I just discovered your blog over the weekend and I am loving everything I see. Your photographs are simply beautiful.

    This salad looks amazing and so healthy, right up my alley. I love eating meals like this for lunch when the kids are in school. I am also a huge fan of roasted cauliflower and tend to throw that in anything. I can’t wait to give this recipe a try.

    1. Sonja says:

      Thank you so much! We’re huge cauliflower fans here too :) Let us know if you try it out!

  13. Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living says:

    I’ve been seeking out grain salad recipes, so this one came around at just the right time! I have actually never cooked bulgur before, but I’m all about trying new whole grains. Looks healthy and delicious – my kind of salad!

  14. Valeria says:

    What I love the most about your recipes is seasonality. You truly give me faith about it as I plan to move to the US soon. Being Italian, it’s out of question to eat seasonal food, but I am so scared of losing it moving to the other side of the ocean…thanks for inspiring me and making me change my mind! I love every single recipe you two make! My husband and I eat in a very similar way and I am glad to find these similarities, I don’t feel an alien at least…:)

    1. Sonja says:

      Oh, how nice! Thank you for the nice compliments. So glad that we could help change your mind about American eating! Where are you moving to? Best of luck with the transition! (We’d gladly trade you and move to Italy :) )

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