Making sure I am prepared for meals during the week is extremely important for me. I am always looking for ways to prep food for the week on the weekends. I do not feel as if I have the time every day to spend a ton of time preparing food when its time to eat. Whole grains are definitely something you can make ahead of time and use throughout the week in various recipes for dinner or for a quick and easy lunch recipe like this Greek Salad Grain Bowl.
I spent the last five years living in Astoria, New York, an area known for large population of Greek immigrants. In addition to quite a few Greek restaurants in the area, there were also several Greek grocery stores which offered specialty products imported from Greece. I enjoyed shopping at them and seeing all the different products they offer.
I was amazed at the different varieties of feta cheese available at the cheese counter — upwards of 8 different varieties in one store. I will definitely say that imported feta cheese is very different than the domestic stuff most of us buy at the grocery store. Check your cheese counter at the store the next time and see if they do carry an imported version, because I think it adds great depth of flavor to this dish.
There isn’t a need for a fancy dressing. Just a simple drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and bit of dried oregano is all the salad needs. It pairs well with the saltiness of the feta and olives and gives the salad a nice flavor. However, if you feel you would prefer a bit more flavor, squeeze fresh lemon juice over the entire dish. I like the combination of flavors, the richness of the olive oil and savoriness of the oregano along with the other ingredients is enough flavor for me.
For this recipe, I highly recommend using bulgur for the grain base of the salad. I think the texture and chewiness of the grain pairs well with the fresh vegetables and chickpeas. Plus it holds up very well for transport. If you don’t have bulgur, you can substitute quinoa or any other whole grain you may have on-hand such as farro, wheatberries or barley.
I used chickpeas as the source of protein in this recipe, but lentils or a white bean will also work well. You could even replace the beans with grilled chicken or shrimp if you are looking for non-vegetarian options. To take this on the go to work, I recommend packing the olive oil and oregano separate until just before you are ready to eat.
The best part about writing this post is that I actually got to enjoy this recipe as my lunch. I hope you will try it out and let me know what you think. Please leave me a comment below.
Greek Grain Bowl with Chickpeas
- 2 cups bulgur, cooked and cooled
- 1 cup chickpeas, cooked
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1/2 cup cucumber, diced
- 1/2 ea green bell pepper
- 1/4 cup red onion, sliced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- salt and pepper to Taste
- 2 oz feta cheese
- 10 ea large kalamata olives
- Place all ingredients up through red onion into bowl and fold a few times to mix ingredients. Sprinkle with oregano and salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Split into two bowls and top with feta cheese and olives.