Cracked Wheat, Feta, Mint and Pistachio Salad

Y’all.  I’m so excited!  We’re going to have a wedding!  Yes!  A wedding!  My niece, Elizabeth, the daughter of my sister, Cynthia, (you know! Remember on Cynthia’s birthday a few years back I wrote the recipe for Key Lime Pound Cake with Key Lime Cream Cheese Icing? Yes, her.). Well, anyway, Elizabeth is engaged.  Her darling boyfriend, Jinal, proposed to her about a week ago on the way to dinner in San Francisco where they both live and the whole family is beyond thrilled.  They were good friends before falling in love, having met in graduate school, and have a most solid foundation for their relationship.  I’m not losing a niece… not at all… I’m gaining another boy to spoil.  So, in their honor, I put together some of their favorite foods and came up with this brilliant dish.  Elizabeth and Jinal are not big beef people so I aimed for a salad that would be happy crowned with a filet of dolphin or several shrimp in addition to being a salad good enough to stand up alone and on its own.  And it is.  This salad a true flavor bomb, mixing bright, clean herbs such as mint and parsley with satisfying bulgur wheat and chick peas.  Sheep’s milk feta, red onion and pistachios add to the salad’s savory aspect while a sizeable amount of chopped cucumber amplifies the crunch factor.  This is a super salad to serve as an entrée or a side.  It’s great for parties as it feeds a crowd and is muy good-looking mounded on a platter.  The salad is easily refreshed a day or two later with a few spritzes of fresh lemon juice and a quick toss.  It’s cooling meal and a snap to put together when you’re fighting the heat of summer as well as substantial in cold weather when you want a salad with a bit of heft.  Salad girls know you can’t live on romaine leaves alone.  A pint of grape tomatoes halved are a lovely addition to this salad as are a handful of pomegranate seeds.  I’ve also added about 1/2 cup roughly chopped Greek olives for a “meatier” dinner.  Play around with this thing.  It’s a no-fail!

Aren’t they just precious?!

Cracked Wheat, Feta, Mint and Pistachio Salad

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 cup bulgur or cracked wheat
  • 1 cup water
  • zest of two lemons, from the lemons you’re going to juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup good quality olive oil plus more if needed
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 3/4 – 2 cups chopped cucumbers, the mini-cucumbers in a bag in your grocery’s produce section work great as they’re not really watery and I find them crunchier than conventional ones
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup sheep’s milk feta, crumbled by hand
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large bowl combine the cracked wheat, water, lemon juice and 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Stir, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 45  minutes or until the wheat has absorbed most of the liquid.
  2. When most of the liquid has been absorbed, fluff the wheat with a fork and add the garbanzo beans, cucumbers, mint and parsley and toss well.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients including the unused olive oil and toss well.
  4. Taste for any needed salt and pepper, cover and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes for all the flavors to marry:)
  5. Scatter any leftover mint and parsley over the mounded and serve.


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