Lemony Chickpea Grain Salad

You might know bulgur wheat from the now ubiquitous tabbouleh, a grain salad with 1001 variations. What you may not know is that bulgur wheat is a flexible whole grain commonly used in Middle Eastern and Indian food. This recipe veers towards Mediterranean, although all of the ingredients are widely found from the Mediterranean through to Central and South Asia.

Add this to your summer food itinerary. You won’t be sorry!


  • 1 Cup bulgur wheat (though if you are gluten free, substitute with either quinoa or farro)
  • 1 ½ Cups boiling water
  • 1 15.5 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced (I quarter the long way and remove the seeds so the salad won’t be watery)
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • ½ Cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • Fresh dill, cut directly into bowl with scissors (I generally use about half of the bunch I buy at the market—aka, a lot)
  • 1 small lemon – juiced
  • 1/3 C olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Place bulgur wheat in a large bowl, pour boiling water, stir and let sit for at least 20 minutes. I often do this part as I’m making coffee in the morning, refrigerate it and do the rest at dinner time.
  2. Add chickpeas, diced cucumber and red onion, feta cheese and as much dill as you would like. It takes a lot more herb to overpower grains than it does with either veggies or protein. Toss until mixed.
  3. Make a salad dressing with the lemon, olive oil and salt and pepper. To emulsify, you can either use a whisk or put the ingredients in a small empty jar and shake it.
  4. Pour over salad and toss. Voila!

I love this salad as a side dish with a light main course, like Salmorejo—Andalusian gazpacho. It’s also a fun, protein-packed alternative to a sandwich at lunch time. Makes a great contribution to any summer picnic.

Note: Cucumber peels can be used as a refreshing and non-sticky mini-facial by rubbing the inside of the peels along your face, because we all need a mini-facial when cooking summer food! Cucumbers are a main ingredient in traditional Korean spa facials.




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