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Middle Eastern Chickpea salad

Middle Eastern chickpea salad with lettuce greens, chickpeas, bulgur and cherry tomatoes

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Middle Eastern chickpea salad with homemade za’atar, lemon-tahini-mint dressing and tangy bulgur with sumac is a refreshing and satisfying salad meal.


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Za’atar spice blend

  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. sumac
  • 2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper


  • 1 cup dry bulgur
  • 2 1/4 cups vegetable broth (or 2 1/4 cups water + 1 vegetable bouillon cube)
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • Pinch of salt


  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup water (more if you need to thin it out)
  • 2 tbsp. fresh mint, chopped


  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 - 15 oz. (400 gm.) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp. za’atar spice blend
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp. water

Additional salad ingredients

  • 6-8 cups spring mix salad, chopped lettuce, baby spinach or other salad greens
  • 1-2 avocados, sliced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Other desired ingredients such as sliced radishes, cucumber or carrots


Za’atar spice blend

  1. Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds and toast them for 2-3 minutes until they are golden. Be sure to stir the sesame seeds constantly to avoid them burning. Remove them from the pan immediately to stop the cooking process. Keep that pan handy, we’ll use them for the chickpeas.
  2. Add all the ingredients in a small jar or dish and mix well. Set aside.


  1. Rinse the dry bulgur and place it in a medium pot along with 2 ¼ cups of vegetable broth (or 2 ¼ cups water and 1 vegetable bouillon cube).
  2. Add the lemon juice, cumin, sumac and a pinch of salt. Mix well.
  3. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce to simmering. Cover the pot and allow the bulgur to simmer until the broth is absorbed (15 minutes). Once cooked, take if off the heat, but leave the lid on so it stays warm while you make the rest of the salad.


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing. Add additional water a tablespoon at a time until you have the desired consistency.

Prepare the rest of the salad ingredients

  1. Lay out 4 plates and add the salad greens to each plate.
  2. Prepare your additional salad ingredients and set them aside to add when you have your chickpeas done.


  1. Drain and rinse 2 cans of chickpeas, heat a medium skillet and add the chickpeas. Stir them for 3-5 minutes until they start to brown.
  2. Add the chopped onions, red pepper and za’atar. Stir to coat the chickpeas and allow the onions to brown for about 2 minutes.
  3. Mix in the tomato paste and 2 Tbsp. water. Stir for another minute so everything is heated through.
  4. Finish the salad by adding the bulgur, chickpeas and the remaining salad ingredients to each plate.
  5. Serve with the dressing on the side.


  • All information is based on 4 servings. You may want to adjust the amount of salad greens depending on what other salad ingredients you use. You might also eliminate the greens completely and use steamed green beans to create more of a main, rather than a ‘salad main’.
  • If you don’t happen to have bulgur, you can use the same amount of rice, quinoa, millet or other grain of your preference as a substitute.
  • If you want a lemonier flavor for your dressing, you can use the zest of 1 of the lemons to enhance the flavor.