Bulgur wheat salad with chickpeas, red onion and pine nuts is a side dish packed with flavor. It’s also fast and easy, making it a hit for weeknight dinners. Chewy, roasted chickpeas and toasted pine nuts are tossed with bulgur or cracked wheat, sauteed with sweet red onions and finished with fresh herbs.
Warm Bulgur Wheat Salad with Chickpeas
Bulgur is also known as cracked wheat. You may have eaten it in the form of tabbouleh, the Lebanese salad made with tomatoes, cucumbers and a hefty amount of fresh parsley. That’s how I was introduced to it. When I was a teenager, I worked with a woman from Beirut. I had many amazing meals at her house and that is when I had tabbouleh for the first time. I was hooked from the first bite. Since that time, I’ve come to appreciate a bulgur wheat salad in pretty much any form.
One of the things I really like about it is, you really don’t “cook” it. It simply soaks up boiling water in roughly 20 minutes flat. Give it a little fluff with a fork and you’re done. It could not be any easier, which makes it a great staple to have on hand when you need something quick.
Recently, I took a poll on facebook. I asked people what they wanted to see more of on the blog and there were quite a few requests for sides. I think it’s challenging to come up with new, exciting or interesting side dishes. So, I set out to come up with at least a handful and this one was a resounding favorite.
WARM BULGUR WHEAT SALAD:
I wanted to create something that was flexible as a side but hearty enough for a meatless meal. This ticked all the boxes- full of flavor, easy, fast, something different and easily customizable to different palates. When I made this, it was a side dish for lamb. However, I would eat this on it’s own for a meat-free dinner. It filled me up without leaving me feeling “heavy”.
The beautiful golden color is helped along by a pinch of turmeric, the red onions and fresh herbs provide a nice bit of color in this dish making it really lovely. Can you tell that I am a fan of this warm salad?
Bulgur wheat salads can be as varied as you make them. Tabbouleh has tomatoes, cucumber and parsley. This one has chickpeas, pine nuts and red onion. Use this recipe as is, or as a jumping off point. Try adding different vegetables and herbs to change up the flavor. The possibilities are almost endless.
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups medium, #2 bulgur wheat
- 1- 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, optional
- kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Bring water to a boil, add 1 teaspoon salt and a tablespoon of olive oil. Stir in bulgur. Remove from heat. Cover with a light-fitting lid and let stand, until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
- In an oven-proof skillet, combine chickpeas, pine nuts, onion, oil, lemon juice, cumin, turmeric, paprika and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir over medium high heat until it starts to sizzle. Then transfer to the oven and roast for 15 - 20 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in the bulgur. Add the parsley (and mint, if using). Stir to combine and serve warm.
Adapted from The Flexitarian Table