Hearty, wholesome grain salad that’s better than tabouli

Cracked wheat with herbs & chickpeas delicious and nutritious!

I remember the first time I had tabouli many decades ago – I loved how tasty and satisfying it was, with all that parsley and mint and yummy vinaigrette to dress up the bulgur (cracked wheat). Over time, however, my love of tabouli has dimmed, probably because I’ve honestly eaten bushels of it. I do still love a hearty grain salad, however, so wanted to come up with a new flavour profile for cracked wheat. You can use the aforementioned ripened cracked wheat (bulgur) or the green variety known as freekeh; both are ancient grains high in fibre with a low glycemic index. I served this salad with this amazing Lebanese-inspired roasted chicken and it was a match made in delicious heaven. If you like grain salads then I highly recommend this Greek-style recipe that is another crowd pleaser. It’s great to make a batch early in the week and then you’ve got a couple of days’ worth of packable lunches taken care of!

delicious nutritious hearty dish with bulgur or freekeh plus herbs and chickpeas


  • 1 cup (250 mL) cracked wheat (freekeh or bulgur)*
  • 2 cups (500 mL) water
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup (90 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) freshly-ground coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) each salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup (90 mL) chopped fresh mint
  • 1/3 cup (90 mL) chopped fresh chives or green onion tops
  • 1 cup (250 mL) finely chopped celery
  • 1 – 19 oz / 540 mL can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • lettuce leaves and lemon wedges, to serve

*You could also use quinoa, rice or barley in this recipe.


  • Put cracked wheat in a medium-sized saucepan along with water and salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat then immediately reduce heat to low.
  • Simmer 15 – 20 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Turn off heat and let stand 5 minutes. Put cooked freekeh or bulgur in a large bowl and let cool 10 minutes. At this point, you can refrigerate the cooked cracked wheat for up to 24 hours until you are ready to prepare the salad.
  • While freekeh or bulgur is cooking, combine olive oil and minced garlic in a small microwave safe dish. Cook over medium-high power for 1 minute (this takes the harshness out of the garlic), then set aside and let cool.
  • In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, shake together lemon juice, crushed coriander, the garlic olive oil (prepared in the previous step), salt and pepper. Taste and add more lemon juice or salt if desired.
  • When ready to assemble salad, combine cooked freekeh or bulgur, chopped herbs, celery and chickpeas in a large bowl and gently toss to combine. Shake dressing in jar to re-blend then drizzle over salad and toss again.
  • Serve within the hour as is or on beds of lettuce leaves. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice over the top when serving really makes the salad’s bright, fresh flavour pop.
  • Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Serves 4.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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