A Station for Every Mood: Bulgar Chickpea Salad with Dill Vinaigrette

by simplylife on April 6, 2012

If you want to know what kind of mood I’m in, turn the car on.

Sounds strange.  I know.   Let me connect the dots.

If it’s a pretty typical day and I’m feeling okay, when you turn on the car, you will most likely hear NPR or (we’re friends, right?) some “light FM station.”  It’s true, I confess, some days a little 80’s music is just what I need to drive home to.

If I’m in a great mood, feeling inspired or have tons of energy, you’ll know it by the “Girly Girly Girl” CD that will be blasting.  Yes, this is the CD title my husband labeled it (to make sure he never grabbed it by mistake); it’s filled with Lady Gaga, Adele, Shakira and more.  It’s fun, sassy and can make a great day even better.

If you should stay far away from me, you’ll turn the car on and hear classical music.  Yup, I find it’s the perfect way for me to wind-down, remind me to take a few deep breaths and sloooow down.  While this usually does the trick, it’s still wise to keep your distance until I’ve at least had something to eat.

Just like music, food can also have a drastic influence on my mood.  Some meals leave me stuffed to the brim and ready for a nap, while others fuel me up and get me ready to tackle the next challenge.

This dish is definitely the latter.  With bulgar wheat as the base (this was my first time using it; what have I been waiting for?!), a mixture of dried cranberries, chickpeas and almonds on top, and all dressed in flavorful dill and paprika vinaigrette, your mood can’t help but be uplifted after eating this!


Bulgar Chickpea Salad with Dill Vinaigrette

by Simply Life
Inspired by The Gouda Life 

Keywords: salad side vegetarian vegan nuts cranberries beans chickpeas



  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup bulgar wheat (I found this in the bulk section at Whole Foods)
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh dill
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dash smoked paprika


1. Bring 2 cups water (can add dash of salt) to a boil. Add bulgar wheat, reduce heat to a simmer and let cook about 12-15 minutes, until water is absorbed and bulgar wheat is tender.

2. Meanwhile, mix together vinaigrette ingredients; set aside.

3. Toss cooked bulgar wheat with chickpeas, cranberries, almonds and about half the dressing. Taste and add more, as desired. Serve warm or chilled and enjoy!

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Oh and if there’s one thing that can always brighten my mood, it’s coming home to a package!  I was sent four bags of Plentils, courtesy of Enjoy Life Foods, in each of their flavors: Light Sea Salt, Dill & Sour Cream, Garlic & Parmesan, and Margherita Pizza.

As with all Enjoy Life Foods, these are gluten-free, allergy friendly and contain no artificial ingredients.

I am always impressed with the way Enjoy Life Foods produces foods that are not only free of common allergens but also taste great to people like myself, who (thankfully!) don’t have any diet restrictions, and these Plentils are no different.  They are light, crispy and a great snack to munch on throughout the day!

~Don’t forget to enter to win Simple Green cleaning supplies!

~Does the music you listen to and/or the foods you eat change according to your mood?

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  • http://www.joanne-eatswellwithothers.com/ Joanne

    Haha actually that’s seriously true…the last played song on my iPod can give a LOT of insight into how I’m feeling on a given day. This salad would definitely leave me feeling refreshed and ready to take on the afternoon!

  • Belinda

    After eating this, it’s Shakira-time! So true…except for me, classical is real concentration mode when I’m working. Weird. Right?

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      Oh I think that makes perfect sense- sometimes I do that too because then I can’t get distracted by the words of a song 🙂

  • http://www.ofmusesandmeringues.blogspot.com/ Beth

    Eating this salad would make me happy too! Generally, if I’m in a good mood I’m eating healthily, but if I’m feeling down I start to snack.

  • Anonymous

    What a fun salad! Totally unique ingredients. I’ve never seen those chips. I want to try the Margherita Pizza.

  • http://whatisbakinginthebarbershop.blogspot.com/ Colleen

    Never would think to put these ingredients together. Yum! And I’m totally with ya with the whole mood and music thing!!

  • Deepa

    Wonderful and colorful snack. Just wish I was there to get a taste of it.


  • http://gowiththedough.wordpress.com/ Hillary

    I have half a box of bulgar waiting to be used up; I’ll need to try this!

  • http://www.nutritiouseats.com/ Melanie @ Nutritious Eats

    I feel healthier just looking at this! 😉 Looks like a great combo.

  • http://swankydietitian.com/ Kristen @ Swanky Dietitian

    This looks fabulous!
    I will also say I am similar. I will not be listening to fun hip-hop music if I am not in a great mood. But definitely a great meal can change things for sure.

  • http://jojoshouse.com/ JoJo

    I love the crunch nuts add, it’s a special extra something! Bulgar is tasty (atleast to me) and so healthy, great choice!
    Food and music… yes it definitely changes depending on my mood! It also depends on how I WANT to feel, if I want to cheer myself up, I would listen to upbeat music (love lady gaga for this..)

  • http://indulgeinspireimbibe.blogspot.com/ Daisy

    i love that you have a wide variety of taste in music, and with food!

  • http://www.tastes-good-to-me.com/ kale @ tastes good to me!

    hehe, “Girly Girly Girl” CD – that’s cute. 🙂

    Right now I’m listening to the Juno soundtrack. I put that on when I’m feeling funky and detached from routine and only want to drink coffee.

    But when I’m feeling like running around the kitchen, dancing and cooking, it’s La Roux time, baby!

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      Oooh I bet that Juno soundtrack is amazing- thanks for the idea!

  • http://www.cookiesleuth.com/ Cookie Sleuth

    What a nice combination with the cranberries! I definitely eat more sweets when I am happy. I don’t worry about calories then! 🙂

  • http://yummychunklet.wordpress.com/ Yummychunklet

    This dish looks interesting and tasty to me!

  • http://www.liveliferightnow.com/ Sarah

    I listen to angry music at the gym, like Eminem, but most of the other times I’m pretty predictable – happy music when I’m happy, sad when I’m sad, salads when it’s sunny outside and stews and soups when it’s cold! This salad looks absolutely delicious by the way, perfect for a sunny day for me!

  • http://twitter.com/FoodieAsmita Asmita

    This is just the kind of salad that all of us at home would enjoy.Will be making it. Thanks.

  • http://luxuryhaven.blogspot.com/ Blackswan

    What a colourful dish! Gosh, u’re tempting us with those chips. Hahaha!

  • http://bite-sized-thoughts.blogspot.com/ Kari

    I pretty much only listen to music in the car but I definitely find that it has a reciprocal relationship with my mood. I’m pretty sure this dish would have a positive effect on my mood as well 🙂

  • Shutter Bug

    I like that this recipe is so healthy! 😉

  • http://www.4seasonsoffood.com/ Ranjani

    I love the addition of cranberries to this – sounds like a great dish to keep energy and mood up!

  • http://www.bakingserendipity.com/ Baking Serendipity

    I think I need a dish that gives me the energy and inspiration to do something good! I’ve been lazy lately…and eating way too many sweets! Love this!

  • http://wearenotmartha.com/ Sues

    I love this post! I’m the same way with music… and food! And this salad looks incredible- such pretty colors and I can imagine it tastes out of this world!

  • Aftertasteblog

    Looks amazing. So colourful and summery!

  • Mom

    Music absolutely has a HUGE influence on my mood…when I’m alone, I love to have spiritual music playing. When I’m working out, let the beat move my feet ! Food also has it’s body altering effect…give me fiber and I’ll have energy, stamina and a full feeling for hours; give me pasta and cheese and give me a bed!!

    Your dish looks packed with all the right decisions!!!

  • http://betivanilla.blogspot.mx/ beti

    there’s a lot going on in this salad but it still looks delicious and very fresh. I guess that music makes everybody happy and I listen to it to calm me down when I’m angry 🙂

  • Emily @ A Cambridge Story

    I absolutely LOVE salads of this sort. Lots of textures, flavors and colors to keep your palate interested!

  • http://www.culinarycolleen.com/ Colleen

    I’m the exact same way…it’s amazing the effect food has on my mood! If I eat something too heavy or just not very tasty, I’m usually in a foul mood after. This looks light AND tasty!

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca)

    Music and food preferences totally change according to my mood!! I came home to a couple packages yesterday too, which elevated my mood (especially since I was depressed from coming home from vacation).

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