Wild Rice & Chickpea Tabbouleh
There are certain recipes that I gravitate to when I know my schedule is going to get hectic. Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken is definitely one of them, but right next to it at the top of that list is this wild rice salad. I love that it holds up for several days, so it fits well into a meal prep day and gives you a few different options for lunches and/or dinners throughout the week.
I have been a long-time lover of bulgar, which is the grain used in the Mediterranean salad called tabbouleh. (I even made bulgar into a breakfast bake! Remember this? If you can eat wheat, give it a try!) The primary components in tabbouleh are cooked bulgar, tomatoes, cucumbers, lots of fresh parsley, and olive oil. I love the chewy texture of cooked bulgar and the fresh flavors of cucumber and parsley.
Sadly, when I stopped eating wheat, I realized that bulgar was no longer on the menu for me. In fact it was during my initial elimination diet that I started making this particular salad. At that point, I could not have tomatoes, but I was okay with rice, legumes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs. So, threw it all together thinking that the brown and wild rice would have a nice chewy texture similar to bulgar, which, surprise! It does! Chickpeas are not typically in tabbouleh, but I tossed them in because it seemed to make sense at the time. And since I was feeling a little deprived of other things that I really wanted (as in basically everything in this world that is creamy, sweet, and/or delicious), I put in olives. It all may sound like an odd combo, but it actually works really well. So well, in fact that in the past year and a half this salad has become a staple recipe in my lunch and food prep rotation. In the summer, when cucumbers and herbs abound, I make it constantly.
Keep in mind that not all brown & wild rice blends are equal. Some are definitely better than others and will include more different varieties of rice, which in turn will give you a much better texture. My favorite is the rice blend from Lundberg Farms, which I can find in the natural food aisle at my local Giant or in the rice/grain section at our Walmart. I am in no way affiliated with Lundberg Farms and they are not sponsoring this post, I just really love this rice blend because it gives me the exact texture that I wanted to replace the bulgar. Whether it’s Lundberg Farms or something else, get yourself some good rice, it makes a difference!
Much like traditional tabbouleh, this salad will hold up great, so don’t shy away from making a whole recipe. It’s one of those dishes that is great to have on hand during the week because it’s rather versatile. On it’s own, it works as a ready-made side to eat with some grilled chicken or fish. Or, serve it on top of a few handfuls of greens with some cooked chicken or even some turkey lunchmeat and have a complete lunch or dinner ready in about 5 minutes.
Translate: Busy people need this salad in their refrigerator. And who isn’t busy right now with back to school craziness?? At this point, we are a few weeks into school, soccer practice, and dance classes. Needless to say, the slow commitment-free evenings of summer are gone and it’s time to buckle down and get ourselves organized. Making this salad is a great start!
Served as shown, it’s gluten free, dairy free, and vegan.
- Approx. 4 cups cooked brown & wild rice*
- 2 cups diced cucumber
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup finely chopped parsley
- 3 Tbl. finely chopped mint
- 3 Tbl. extra virgin olive oil
- 4 Tbl. red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/3 cup chopped kalamata olives
- 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
- 1. Combine all ingredients and mix well.
- 2. Refrigerate approximately 1 hour before serving.
- 3. Serve as is, or scoop it on top of some greens (arugula is great!) with cooked chicken, for lunch or a light dinner.
- Makes 6 cups
- Keeps well for several days
- *I love the Lundberg Brown & Wild Rice Blend - I prepare it as directed, starting with 1 1/2 cups of dry rice and the equivalent amount of water. This gives me approximately 4 cups of cooked rice.