You will love this plant-based spicy chickpea and bulgur salad! It's a healthy and easy-to-make recipe that we make very often. It can easily be made gluten-free.
Why This Recipe Works
Remember the traditional Southeastern Turkish wraps we made a while ago?
This grain salad is made with the same idea—except it is even healthier! We will use a few simple ingredients, as well as some "fancy" Turkish spices that you can 100% substitute.
It is one of my favorite salads!
To assemble our salad, we'll need to cook spicy chickpeas and bulgur, then chop some vegetables.
You'll need these few ingredients:
- canned chickpeas
- olive oil
- Aleppo or Urfa pepper (sub w/ regular chile flakes)
You could use any chickpea you have—home cooked or canned. We usually end up using canned chickpeas to whip up this recipe quickly. It also means I get leftover aquafaba to use in baking projects.
My preference is the Whole Foods brand canned chickpeas. They are usually much smaller than other brands', which means there will be more crisp chickpea skins in the salad.
I use both Aleppo and Urfa pepper flakes to make these chickpeas spicy. Aleppo pepper is a bright red, earthy chile variety with a delicious fruity tang.
Urfa biber (also known as Isot pepper) is another type of pepper from the city of Şanlıurfa in Turkey. It's a deep burgundy color and tastes smoky, sweet, and tangy all at the same time.
- raw onions
- lemon juice
- sumac (sub w/ more lemon juice)
If you've ever had kebab at an authentically Turkish restaurant, you were probably served this onion "salad" on the side. It's a delicious condiment used to accompany richer dishes.
The key to a delicious Turkish onion salad is to slice the onions thinly and lengthwise. an onion's layers of plant cells run from the root to the stem.
Veggies & Herbs
- shishito peppers (sub w/ green bell peppers)
Juicy raw tomatoes are essential for this salad. The more flavorful tomatoes you use, the more delicious your salad will turn out! I love using campari or heirloom varieties.
In Turkey, the type of pepper used for chickpea wraps (the inspiration for this salad) is called yeşil biber. The closest variety available in the U.S. is shishito—but you may use green bell peppers in a pinch. Want to go all in for the spice? Use any hot green chile variety!
We'll also use a generous handful of chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley. You may also use curly parsley, but I prefer the flat-leaf kind for its more robust flavor.
- pomegranate molasses (sub w/ lemon juice)
- extra-virgin olive oil
- coarse bulgur
- flaky salt (as needed)
A drizzling of pomegranate molasses truly elevates this salad. But you can substitute it with a squeeze of lemon juice instead!
When it comes to bulgur, I like to use the extra-coarse variety, but any type will do.
- If different, follow package instructions to make bulgur pilaf.
- Add bulgur, salt, and hot water into a pot on medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium-low and let simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes, until the bulgur has absorbed almost all the water.
- Place a clean dish towel or paper towel on top of the pot to absorb excess moisture. Place the lid back on the pot and let the pilaf rest for about 15 minutes before assembling the salad. Make the spicy chickpeas as the bulgur is resting.
- Drain the canned chickpeas and save the aquafaba for baking projects if you wish. In a medium-sized pan, sauté the canned chickpeas with olive oil on medium-high heat.
- Mix in cumin, Aleppo pepper, Urfa pepper, and salt. Continue sautéing for 7-10 minutes, until the chickpea skins become crisp. Set aside.
Prepare the Onion Salad
Meanwhile, massage sliced onions with sumac & lemon juice and set aside.
- To make the salad, place cooked bulgur, spicy chickpeas, sumac onion slices, shishito peppers, tomatoes, and parsley.
- Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil & pomegranate molasses and toss. Season with salt as needed.
👩🏻🍳 Top Tips
- The tossed salad can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days.
- You may substitute both the Aleppo and Urfa chile flakes with regular chile, but I'd highly recommend stocking them for later. These peppers are chef favorites for a reason!
- If you don't have any pomegranate molasses, substitute with lemon juice for a similar level of acid.
- To make this recipe gluten-free, use a different grain such as brown rice or quinoa.
Absolutely! Simply swap the bulgur with a gluten-free grain such as brown rice or quinoa.
You may substitute both kinds by using regular chili flakes in the same quantity.
Note that the flavors will not be as deep or unique with this substitution. That's why I always recommend stocking Aleppo and Urfa pepper flakes in your pantry.
No, bulgur is a cereal made from wheat.
Bulgur is chock full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber! It has a similar nutrition profile to brown rice.
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Did you make this spicy chickpea and bulgur salad recipe? I'd love to hear about it! Please comment and leave a star🌟 rating below. This helps me run Aegean Delight and I always appreciate it 🙂Print