When it comes to creating a new recipe, I just follow my instict, which fortunate enough for me, it always works. I’ve made many chickpea salads over the years and today I wanted to make something totally new.
I knew the recipe would work just as well with pasta, rice or quinoa as I have used it in the past but never used bulgur with chickpeas and never combined bulgur with pesto. However, if you choose to substitute with any one of these, each one would require a different way of cooking.
Another dilemma I had was what kind of pesto to use. I had two kinds in the deep freezer: mint pesto and coriander (cilantro) pesto with kafkalithres and myronia. Although I knew that mint would work very well with feta, I decided to go with the coriander pesto. I know that there are a lot of people who hate coriander, especially here in Greece, but as I grew up eating coriander in salads in Cyprus and I love it. I also love the other herbs I used in the pesto such as kafkalithres, myronia and parsley. In this pesto I had added almonds but, as a rule, I never add cheese when I deep freeze it. See a similar pesto recipe where I explain what kafkalithres and myronia are.
If the pesto is frozen, you do not have to thaw it, provided the rest of the meal is still hot and it will melt in no time. If you do not have this particular pesto, try it with something different such as parsley pesto for example, to make a tabbouleh chickpea salad
Feta is a staple in all Greek households and although I had graviera, kefalotyri and halloumi, I preferred to use the feta, which practically melted in the dish, and together with the pesto, it was absorbed by the bulgur, adding so much flavour to the dish.
Although I have never used canned chickpeas, I am sure you can still make the recipe if you want to use canned chickpeas. I don’t know how much fluid there is in a can but surely it will be less than a cup, so add some water, until you have 1 cup, which heat in order to dissolve the bouillon. If you use homemade broth, that would even be better, so just heat a cup and add to the bulgur.
Chickpea Salad with Bulgur, Feta and Pesto
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
- 250 grams uncooked chickpeas
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 organic vegetable bouillon
- 1 cup broth from the cooked chickpeas
- ½ cup bulgur wheat, coarsely ground
- 80 grams feta
- ½ cup coriander pesto
- Soak chickpeas overnight.
- Next day drain, add fresh water and boil. Skim off any foam forming on top with a slotted ladle, until no more is produced.
- Cook until they are almost soft.
- Drain them and put them back in the pot with tap water. Rub them with your two hands in order to remove some of the chickpea peels. By adding water to the pot the peels float, so put a colander in the sink and drain whatever floats.
- Put more water to cover them and bring to a boil. Add salt and vegetable bouillon and cook until the chickpeas are soft.
- Drain the chickpeas in a bowl and reserve 1 cup of broth.
- Put the chickpeas back in the pot, add the bulgur wheat as well as the broth, mix and when it comes to a boil turn off the heat. Cover the pot with a lid.
- In 10 – 15 minutes the bulgur will absorb all the broth.
- Add the pesto and mix. Crumble the feta and mix again.
- Set aside to cool before serving.
I love serving them with fresh, marinated anchovies!
You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbook “More Than A Greek Salad”, and “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!” both available on all Amazon stores.
Other relevant recipes:
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,