This bulgur chickpea salad is a simple vegetarian dish that when topped with grilled eggplant and halloumi makes for a delicious entree for lunch or dinner. It’s made with fresh herbs (parsley and mint), cherry tomatoes and pomegranate seeds then lightly dressed with a lemon-dressing. What makes it more interesting is the za’atar spiced eggplant, salty halloumi and tahini drizzle — simply because I love it with eggplant and any kind of bulgur or chickpea salad.
What I like about this bulgur chickpea salad
- Roasting the eggplant over high-heat, whether with a grill pan or on the BBQ gives it a little char which gives its creamy flesh the deepest flavor.
- Brushing the eggplants with a za’atar spiced olive oil lets its natural sponge like flesh absorb more flavor.
- Nutty bulgur wheat is fast-cooking, making it a great choice for grain salads.
- A splash of lemon juice and sweet-tart pomegranate adds brightness to this dish balancing out the flavors of the eggplant and halloumi.
- As far as vegetarian dishes goes, this pretty mush covers all the nutritional needs, with plant-based protein, plants of veg, fruit, and even more protein, plus calcium thanks to halloumi (but due to its fat content best enjoyed in moderation).
Tips for grilling the eggplant and halloumi
For this salad recipe I like to use a non-stick grill pan. This prevents the eggplant from sticking to the surface, which allows you to use less fat. A cast-iron grill pan is great, but since eggplant is already a sponge and soaks up the oil, a cast iron pan can require brushing the surface with more oil to prevent sticking.
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Bulgur Chickpea Salad with Grilled Halloumi and Eggplant
A herbed bulgur chickpea salad served with za’atar spiced grilled eggplant and halloumi, plus topped with a tahini drizzle for a hearty, healthy, and delicious vegetarian dish.
For the bulgur chickpea salad:
- 150 g bulgur wheat (3/4 cup)
- 1 x 400 g organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- juice of 1 large lemon
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1 small bunch fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- 300 g cherry tomatoes, quartered
- seeds from 1 pomegranate
For the grilled eggplant and halloumi:
- 1 aubergine, cut into 0,5cm rounds (375-400 g)
- 3 tbsp. olive oil, plus more
- 2 teaspoons za’atar
- 200 g halloumi, cut into 1cm slices
Tahini dressing for serving:
- 2 tablespoons tahini (well-stirred)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons cup cold water, or as needed
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place the bulgur with double the amount of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until tender. Set aside to cool slightly. Fluff the bulgur, and transfer to a large bowl to further cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.
In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini dressing ingredients. Set aside.
Heat a griddle pan over high heat.
Mix oil and za’atar in small bowl. Brush aubergine slices with most of the olive oil, then griddle in batches for about 2-3min each side, or until tender with charred lines. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Brush remaining oil over the halloumi slices and grill for 1½-2min on each side (try not to turn until they come away from the pan easily). Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add the chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, red onion, herbs, tomatoes, and pomegranate seeds to the bowl with the bulgur. Toss to combine.
Transfer to a serving platter or individual plates and top with the grilled halloumi and aubergine slices. Enjoy!
I like to serve this dish at room temperature, however if you have a large grill or are serving from the BBQ, then feel free to top the salad with the aubergine and halloumi while they are still warm.
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