I love simple salads that simply taste good. I when I say good, I mean good with a capital “G”. And guess where the awesomeness starts… in the oven. Imagine this… roasted sumac tomatoes AND roasted cumin-spiced chickpeas. Together… side by side! Then this delicious duo is tossed together in a simple bulgur salad with fresh herbs, crisp cucumber, a squeeze of lemon and lighted toasted pine nuts. Simple right? And tasty! It’s the perfect blend of hot and fresh. And the thing is, it tastes great warm, at room temperature or even chilled. Yes, options people!
Sumac – the spice your kitchen needs now
Unfamiliar with sumac? Well, you’ll want to trust me on this, when I say you’re going to want to add this to your spice collection. It’s one of my favorite things to add to simple salads; and speaking of favorites, one of my go-to ways to use this Middle Eastern spice is in a simply salad made with cucumber, pear, red onion, a splash of oil and red vinegar and a sprinkling of sumac. Simply delicious. Or try fennel instead of cucumber, also delicious! And great additional to any dinner or Sunday brunch table. Sumac really is a great way to add a deeper flavor to any everyday simple salad, dressing or this simple recipe for roasted tomatoes and chickpeas with bulgur. It’s bright citrusy flavor, similar to lemon is simply wonderful.
Sumac is also great for making homemade pita chips
Sumac is also fantastic for making tasty homemade pita chips (and you can add these to salads in place of croutons). All you need to do is heat a tablespoon of butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add some roughly torn pita pieces (whole wheat Turkish ones are best), stir to coat and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring all the time, until pita is golden brown and crunchy. Remove from heat and toss together with sumac (or za’atar) and sea salt. Voila! And best is kids love these too — they are a great replacement for chips!
A simple recipe for roasted tomatoes and chickpeas with bulgur that will also please your vegan friends
This dish couldn’t be easier, just toss a little olive oil together some cherry tomatoes with sumac, then do with same with a can of chickpeas and cumin, lay them on a baking sheet and let the oven do its magic while you take care of the rest. Bulgur is a breeze to prepare. It takes mere minutes. As with toasting the pine nuts. Then there is just a little bit of chopping to you before you can relax and enjoy! Oh yeah, and since this dish also makes great leftovers, feel free to do what I did and enjoy it cold with a little chopped avocado. :-)
450 g mini Roma tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved (a mix of varieties is best)
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sumac (found at Turkish, Greek and Mediterranean markets)
For the chickpeas:
1 x 400 g can organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
To assemble the salad:
3/4 cup bulgur (150 g)
1 mini cucumber, diced
1 small red onion, finely diced
small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (alternatively use flat-leaf parsley)
juice from half a medium lemon
25 g lightly toasted pine nuts to garnish
1. Preheat oven to 375°F / 180°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, add the tomatoes and toss together with the olive oil and sumac. Arrange on half of the prepared baking sheet, cut side facing up, in a single layer.
3. In a second bowl, add the chickpeas, olive oil and cumin; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange on the other half of the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
4. Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until soft and the tomatoes start to burst a little.
5. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts and prepare the bulgur (according to package instructions). Cook in a 2:1 ratio water to bulgur. Bring it to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain, if necessary. Cover and set aside.
6. Transfer the cooked bulgur to a serving bowl. Add the roasted tomatoes and chickpeas. Gently toss to combine. Add the cucumber, red onion, fresh herbs and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and again toss gently. Garnish with the pine nuts. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
PS) this also tastes great as leftovers served chilled.
NOTES: I transfer the entire contents from the parchment paper lined baking sheet to the serving bowl with the bulgur. This means the oil and any juices from the tomatoes is also added to the salad. Therefore no extra oil is needed for the dressing. However, feel free to top this dish with a little extra drizzle of olive oil, if desired.
I used half a lemon for the dressing, which I found sufficent. Feel free to taste and adjust to your preference.
If you make this Middle Eastern Roasted Tomatoes and Chickpeas with Bulgur recipe, I’d love to hear how it turned out for you! Be sure to rate it and leave a comment below to let me know! Especially if you have tips for other readers. Or take a picture and tag me on Instagram @ellerepublic and don’t foget to hashtag #ellerepublic so I don’t miss it!