Picnic favorite: Bulgur Chickpea Salad

We are still only in the beginning of March, but this weekend Berlin had an air of spring about it. This reminded us of picnics, which in turn reminded us of this dish, one of our go-to dishes for picnics and potlucks. It is easy to make, healthy, and tastes great on a warm day.

Bulgur is a relatively new ingredient in our repertoire, but it is one of the oldest recorded uses of wheat in the world. For anyone who is unfamiliar with it, it is often used in Middle Eastern and in some Mediterranean dishes. It may be most commonly recognized as the grain in Tabbouleh.

Bulgur is prepared in a number of ways, and the cooking time can vary depending on the type of Bulgur you are using. Here are 3 methods that I have found:

  • 1) Soak 1-part bulgur in 2-parts cold water until the water is all absorbed, 35 minutes to an hour (depending on the type).
  • 2) Cover bulgar with 2.5 times as much boiling water and let this sit for 30 minutes or until all water is absorbed.
  • 3) Bring water to a boil, add a tsp of salt and bulgur. Cook for 10-20 minutes (depending on the type) with the lid on the pot. Then let the bulgar sit with the lid off for another 5.

If you find you have any leftover water, just drain it.

The Recipe

Bulgur Chickpea Salad

Adapted from Arabesque by Claudia Roden

Serves a group of 6-8 people as a side dish.

200 g uncooked bulgur

2-3 cloves of garlic

450-500 g of chickpeas (or one can)

2-3 medium lemons

1 large handful of fresh parsley

1 small handful mint (optional)



4-5 tbsp of olive oil.

Cook the bulgur according to the recipe on the package or our preparation methods above.

In an empty bowl, using a garlic press, press out the garlic cloves into the mixture. Finely chop the parsley, saving a few full sprigs for garnish. Add the chopped parsley and mint to the bowl, as well as 3 tbps of olive oil. Add the chickpeas and the juice of one of the lemons. Season with salt and pepper. Let it sit for 10 minutes.

Add the prepared bulgur to the mix. Then squeeze the rest of the lemon juice over the mixture, one half lemon at a time. Taste while you do it to make sure it doesn’t get too sour. Add the rest of the oil.

You can serve right away, but we usually let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes for all the tastes to mix together. Garnish with parsley.

9 Responses to “Picnic favorite: Bulgur Chickpea Salad”
  1. I prefer the second or third methods. This salad looks great – I’ve never combined the two, but shall have to for sure 😀

  2. trialsinfood says:

    this looks simple and delicious!

  3. Epicurea says:

    interesting combination – now i want a picnic!

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