Homemade Chicken Stock. Easy, frugal, and utterly delicious! 
Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes, Soups

Homemade Chicken Stock

Homemade Chicken Stock. Easy, frugal, and utterly delicious!

Homemade Chicken Stock. Easy, frugal, and utterly delicious! 

There’s something magical about making homemade chicken stock. Or broth. Turns out they are actually different things. For better or for worse, I use broth and stock interchangeably. At the end of the day, it probably doesn’t matter. It might just look like some liquid in a jar, but guys…? It’s much, much, more than that. You’re making SOMETHING out of (practically) nothing. Or nothing edible anymore, anyways.

Homemade Chicken Stock. Easy, frugal, and utterly delicious! 

In my opinion, homemade chicken stock is one of the easiest things you can make. All it takes is chicken bones and/or a carcass, vegetables and/or vegetable scraps, water, and a crock pot. And time! Let this simmer for as long as you can. Everything used for this homemade chicken stock is something I would otherwise be throwing away so this recipe is also crazy frugal. That’s all well and good, but the deliciousness of this homemade stock is something that cannot be understated. It’s wayyy better than anything you could buy at the store. It’s absolutely delicious. Whether you use it as the base for soup, for adding flavor to rice, in sauces, or even just sipping by itself (yup!), this homemade chicken stock is the BEST.

Homemade Chicken Stock. Easy, frugal, and utterly delicious! 

Please start saving your veggie scraps (I just save mine in a gallon size ziptop bag in the freezer) so you can try this recipe asap! Then, when your bag is full, just roast a chicken or buy a rotisserie chicken so you can make your own homemade chicken stock. It’s one of my freezer essentials and I use it alllll the time. Enjoy!!

one year ago: Simple Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
two years ago: Apple Cranberry Relish Salad
three years ago: Chewy Ginger Cookies
four years ago: Sweet Potato Chorizo Chile Mac
five years ago: Chicken Tinga Tacos
six years ago: Crock Pot Cran-Apple Sauce
seven years ago: Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Easy Homemade Chicken Stock

  • Servings: 12-13 cups stock
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Ingredients:

  • bones and carcass from 1 roasted chicken (homemade or store-bought rotisserie)
    • note: for food safety reasons, carve the chicken before serving… do not use bones that have been on a plate in your stock
  • 1 gallon-sized bag full of vegetable scraps, saved over time in the freezer… basically the stuff you would otherwise throw away such as:
    • carrot ends and peels
    • onion ends and skins
    • garlic skin
    • celery ends and leaves
    • bell pepper pieces
    • stems or ends of herbs, green onions, or mushrooms
    • apple cores
    • citrus rinds
    • don’t include: lettuces/greens, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts) or anything dirty or moldy… but veggies past their prime are totally fine!
  • water
  • splash of vinegar
  • freshly ground pepper and salt
  • dried herbs as desired: parsley, thyme, basil, oregano, bay leaves, etc.

Directions:

Place chicken bones and carcass at the bottom of a large crockpot. Cover with veggie scraps. Add a splash of vinegar, a generous amount of freshly ground pepper and salt, and some dried herbs if desired. Fill crockpot nearly to the top with water, then cover and cook on low for at least 8 hours, preferably 12 or more.

At the end of the cooking time, unplug and remove lid. Allow to cool briefly, then skim off any film or foam. Use a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl or liquid measuring cup to strain out solids to discard. You can strain again with cheesecloth for clearer stock, if desired.

At this point, you have two options:

  1. Divide into desired portion-sized containers – I like using half pint and pint mason jars – allow to cool completely, then refrigerate or freeze. If freezing stock, be sure to leave head space so the jars don’t break. With this method, each jar will have a layer of thickened chicken fat on top that you can use or discard when you use the stock. The jars may also have some residue or grittiness at the bottom of them, as well.
  2. Cover and refrigerate bowl(s) of stock overnight. Scrape the thickened chicken fat off the stock and discard/save as desired, then divide into desired portion-sized containers and freeze. This method eliminates most of the excess fat and residue or grittiness, as most of it rises or falls and can be discarded before freezing.

Notes:

Stock can be frozen indefinitely, but should be used within a week if refrigerated.

There are lots of ideas online for alternate freezing methods based on your cooking needs, freezer space, etc. such as: in plastic ziptop bags, ice cube trays, or muffin tins (maybe even try the silicone ones!).

To defrost half pint or pint sized glass jars of stock, it is easiest to defrost in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours before use. If you need it sooner, submerge in a bowl of cold water (hot can make frozen containers crack!) until you can defrost it enough to transfer to your pot to melt all the way. Or remove lid and microwave jar on 50% power until you can pour it out.

This stock is not concentrated per se, but I do find it to be more flavorful than store-bought broth or stock. So I often will use a little less in recipes and make up the difference with water. Experiment to find what works for you!

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Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.
Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes

Sheet Pan Chicken Gyros with Lemony Yogurt Sauce

Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

Chicken gyros–baked in the oven–are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

Back to school is here! At my house, it has come and gone. This week marks my husband’s second full week teaching at his new school and things are going well. His schedule is a little more flexible than last year, which has been so nice. Ben gets home earlier–even when he picks up our little guy at daycare. This means dinner isn’t quite as rushed and we have a little more family time in the evening. I’m sure things will ebb and flow a little as the year goes along, but so far, I’m just trying to enjoy the reprieve while it lasts! Especially since it’s still summertime, technically.

Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

One way I’ve been trying to make the most of these longer late summer nights is by keeping dinner simple. I’ve probably talked about that a gazillion times since I went back to work after baby was born, but it’s still true. I can’t tell you how many meal planning and prep schedules, systems, and calendars I’ve tried to get my life in order. I haven’t paid for any yet (and don’t think I will). At some point, I’d love to write a post detailing my meal planning system, as it is… because I ***think*** I finally have something down that works for us. YAY! But I don’t know if anyone is really interested in that sort of thing–are you?

Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

But anyways, the meal I’m sharing today… Sheet Pan Chicken Gyros with Lemony Yogurt is completely a by-product of my simple weeknight dinner theme. I know these aren’t true chicken gyros BUT they are truly delicious! Slicing the chicken before baking allows for quicker cooking… and seasoning the chicken with olive oil, lemon juice, and plenty of herbs makes sure your chicken is moist (sorry) and not a gross dried out mess. To dress up the chicken, be sure to serve it with some fresh pita, chopped veggies, and a super delicious (and EASY) lemony yogurt sauce. Sometimes I’m tempted to skip sauces when making recipes… “oh, I’ll just use hummus instead.” But seriously guys… please don’t! This lemony yogurt sauce is just THREE ingredients–plain greek yogurt, lemon juice, pepper. That’s it. Whisk together and enjoyyyy! This dinner is the best.

one year ago: Baked Burritos with Pinto Beans and Kale
two years ago: Zucchini Apple Walnut Muffins
three years ago: Baked Honey Chicken Nuggets with Homemade Chick-Fil-A Sauce
four years ago: Churro Cheesecake Bars
five years ago: Pesto Potato Salad
six years ago: Salmon with Lemon, Tarragon, and Garlic Sauce
seven years ago: Summer Mexican Soup

Sheet Pan Chicken Gyros with Lemony Yogurt Sauce

  • Servings: 6
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Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

inspired by my sheet pan chicken fajitas

Ingredients:

for gyros

  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • juice of 2 lemons (approximately 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

for lemon yogurt sauce

  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt (full fat!)
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper

for serving: pita, romaine lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced red onions, feta, lemon yogurt sauce, hummus, greek lemon rice, etc.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil, parchment, or a silpat for easy clean up. Alternatively, you could just spray with nonstick cooking spray. Spread sliced onion and chicken on the baking sheet. Season with oregano, dill, garlic powder, pepper, and salt. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil, then toss everything together with your hands. This could all be done in a bowl if you prefer… but I prefer fewer dishes! Spread in an even layer.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

While chicken is cooking, prepare lemon yogurt sauce by whisking together greek yogurt with lemon juice. Season with pepper as desired. Chill until ready to serve.

Serve chicken in a pita with romaine lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced red onions, feta, lemon yogurt sauce, hummus, greek lemon rice, or any other desired toppings. Enjoy!

Beans, Main Dishes, Recipes

Black Bean Burgers #CookoutWeek

The BEST black bean burgers you will ever have! Promise. These burgers are a great addition to your next cookout… even if you aren’t a vegetarian. (And let me say… your vegetarian friends will love you for having these on hand too!)

The BEST black bean burgers you will ever have! Promise. These burgers are a great addition to your next cookout... even if you aren't a vegetarian. (And let me say... your vegetarian friends will love you for having these on hand too!) #CookoutWeek 2017

I’m not vegetarian, but I still love me some black bean burgers! I have been making this recipe for many years now and they’re always a huge success. My meat lover husband (and carnivore son… seriously, that kid enjoys his protein. Usually. Except last night when he threw his turkey sloppy joes all over the floor until we let him feed himself with a fork. Yup.) enjoys these burgers every time I make them, much to his surprise.

Back in my grad school days we got into eating more vegetarian food as a way to save money, save the earth (Meatless Monday and all), and to experiment in the kitchen. I made various bean burgers. Most were edible, some were good, some were complicated, some were dry, some fell apart, and some went in the trash (when I didn’t use my husband’s lunch to finish them *ahem sweet potato burgers ahem*). But these… these black bean burgers have stuck around. They’re made with quinoa, sauteed carrots and onions, and a few standard pantry spices/seasonings like paprika, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, ketchup, soy sauce, and Sriracha. Even though you won’t find any meat in them, they still have a hearty, burger-like texture with a ton of flavor that you are sure to love. You can top these burgers with all your fave burger toppings–cheese, avocado, tomato… the possibilities are endless!

The BEST black bean burgers you will ever have! Promise. These burgers are a great addition to your next cookout... even if you aren't a vegetarian. (And let me say... your vegetarian friends will love you for having these on hand too!) #CookoutWeek 2017

One of my favorite aspects of these burgers is that they freeze SO WELL. I’m not just saying that; they really do. I love making a double batch of these burgers on the weekend. After eating one fresh, I like to freeze the rest on a baking sheet for a few hours, then transfer them to a zip-top bag. They can last up to two months in the freezer and still taste great, but I usually find that we’ve eaten them much faster than that! They’re wonderful to pull out of the freezer for a quick weekday lunch. Even if I don’t have burger buns on hand, they’re great with a lettuce wrap, on a salad, or even just eaten alone. Plus, if you have a bag of these in the freezer, you’ll be set when vegetarian friends and family come over for a cookout. There’s nothing worse than realizing you don’t have anything on hand for them to eat… and these black bean burgers taste way better than the frozen kind you can buy at the grocery store. Your vegetarian friends are sure to appreciate you after that… and your meat-eating pals may even be swayed with how tasty these burgers are! 🙂 Enjoy!

Don’t forget to enter the #CookoutWeek 2017 giveaway, happening NOW! Lots of great prizes and an easy entry!

Tell me: what’s your favorite vegetarian dish for a cookout?

Check out some other delicious cookout recipes shared today for #CookoutWeek here!

one year ago: Avalanche Cookies
two years ago: Peach Cobbler Scones

three years ago: Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
four years ago: Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes
five years ago: Cilantro Lime Hummus
six years ago: Rhubarb Muffins

Black Bean Burgers

  • Servings: 6
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The BEST black bean burgers you will ever have! Promise. These burgers are a great addition to your next cookout... even if you aren't a vegetarian. (And let me say... your vegetarian friends will love you for having these on hand too!) #CookoutWeek 2017

from Bake Your Day

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (sometimes I use chicken broth instead)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt
  • 1 – 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (about 1 1/2 cups black beans)
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (Worcestershire sauce works in a pinch too)
  • 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha
  • 1/2-1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • olive oil, for cooking
  • to serve as desired: buns, lettuce, tomato, onions, cheese, avocado, mayonnaise, etc.

Directions:

Prepare quinoa as directed on package, using broth instead of water.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute carrots and onion until soft, about 7-8 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, another minute. Remove from heat and stir in spices: paprika, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, and cayenne. Season to taste with black pepper and salt.

In a food processor or large bowl, combine black beans and cooked carrot mixture. Pulse together a few times to break down the black beans. A potato masher is a great tool for this if you don’t have or don’t want to use a food processor. Beans still should have some substance to them, so don’t obliterate them completely.

Stir in ketchup, soy sauce, and Sriracha. Fold in quinoa, 1/2 cup panko, and egg. Mix well to combine. Shape into 1/2 cup patties. If the patties don’t hold together well, gradually add up to another 1/2 cup panko until they do. Place on a plate or baking sheet, then cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 48 hours before cooking.

When ready to cook, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Cook patties for 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown and heated through.

Serve on a bun or in a lettuce wrap with your favorite burger toppings and enjoy!

Notes:

These burgers freeze so well! Make a batch or two to keep on hand for busy nights, quick lunches, or vegetarian guests at your next cookout.

If you’re spice averse, you may be wary of the cayenne and the Sriracha. You can omit, of course, but they really aren’t spicy at all! Just FYI. 🙂

Other, Recipes, Sides

Mom’s Three Bean Salad #CookoutWeek

Three bean salad… a simple, classic cookout dish. I can’t get enough of this make-ahead salad!

Three bean salad... a simple, classic cookout dish. I can't get enough of this make-ahead salad! #CookoutWeek2017

I’m not sure when I switched from being a three bean salad hater to a three bean salad lover, but I’m glad I gave this classic cookout dish another try! My mom always makes her three bean salad with green beans, wax beans, and kidney beans, so naturally, that’s what I do too. What I love the most about this simple side dish is that you can make it ahead. In fact, I highly recommend doing so, as the flavor gets better over time.

Three bean salad... a simple, classic cookout dish. I can't get enough of this make-ahead salad! #CookoutWeek2017

This recipe is one of the few things I ever make with canned vegetables. There’s something about the texture of canned veggies that just isn’t my favorite. But I think the softness of the canned green beans and wax beans really make this dish. If canned veggies aren’t your thing, try frozen… or even cook your own green and wax beans and use them here. I use frozen veggies in this dish frequently. Just make sure to thaw them first!

Three bean salad... a simple, classic cookout dish. I can't get enough of this make-ahead salad! #CookoutWeek2017

As I’ve made this three bean salad more often over the years, I’ve slowly adapted it *just a bit* from my mom’s recipe. I go heavier on the pepper than she does (but that’s true with about anything I make… I heart black pepper!), usually make a little less dressing and reduce the sugar, AND (game changer) add fresh herbs when I have them on hand! Fresh dill is my FAVE in this dish, but parsley and chives are also excellent. A little bit of chopped fresh herbs adds a little extra pop that we love. Totally optional, but highly recommended.

Three bean salad... a simple, classic cookout dish. I can't get enough of this make-ahead salad! #CookoutWeek2017

Speaking of totally optional but highly recommended… be sure to enter the #CookoutWeek 2017 giveaway, happening NOW! Lots of great prizes and an easy entry!

one year ago: No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars
two years ago: Cherry Chipotle Chicken Salad with Cherry Lime Salsa
three years ago: Tabbouleh
four years ago: Pretzel Rolls
five years ago: Strawberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal
six years ago: Strawberry Chocolate Coconut Pancakes

Check out other new and yummy cookout recipes here: An InLinkz Link-up

So tell me… are you a three bean salad hater or lover… and how do you make it??

Mom's Three Bean Salad

  • Servings: makes about 6 cups
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from my mom 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup oil (a light olive, canola, grapeseed, etc.)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (can also be cut down to 1/2 cup if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 – 15 ounce can green beans, drained and rinsed (no salt added if possible) – frozen, thawed green beans are also great here too
  • 1 – 15 ounce can wax beans, drained and rinsed (no salt added if possible) – frozen, thawed wax beans also work well too
  • 1 – 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (no salt added if possible)
  • 1 small onion, minced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2-1 cup green pepper, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, optional – try dill, parsley, or chives

Directions:

Whisk together vinegar, oil, sugar, and pepper in a medium bowl. Fold in green beans, wax beans, kidney beans, onion, and green pepper. Stir in chopped fresh herbs, if desired.

Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to marry.

In my opinion, this salad tastes best the next day. There will be extra liquid so you could reduce the vinegar and oil down to 1/3 cup if desired, or add an extra can of beans. Or just leave as-is… that’s what I always do! Enjoy!

Beans, Main Dishes, Recipes

Deconstructed Falafel Bowls

Welcome spring with a light and flavorful deconstructed falafel bowl! This vegetarian dinner is so fresh and delicious, perfect for busy weeknights. 

Welcome spring with a light and flavorful deconstructed falafel bowl! This vegetarian dinner is so fresh and delicious, perfect for busy weeknights.

Spring is here! My birthday was yesterday, and #BabyVolde’s is next week. He’ll be ONE on Friday. I can hardly believe it. Last weekend we celebrated his birthday and his baptism. Almost our entire family came down for the occasion. It was a whirlwind weekend (and unfortunately it rained the whole time) but it was so fun.

Our little family

One of the best parts of spring (aside from the great running weather) is all the fresh produce at the grocery store! It’s almost farmer’s market season too. I can’t wait. I foresee quite a few lighter meals in our future, like these deconstructed falafel bowls. Regular falafel, while delicious, are a little too intense for weeknight dinners at my house. All that shaping and frying/baking. Noooo thanks! BUT if you just roast the chickpeas in the oven and layer them up with some grains, a tasty Mediterranean salsa bursting with fresh tomatoes, cucumber, and herbs, and drizzle a tangy tzatziki yogurt sauce over top, suddenly falafels on a random Wednesday night is doable. Even if you have a baby crawling all over the kitchen, getting into evvvvvvverything.

Welcome spring with a light and flavorful deconstructed falafel bowl! This vegetarian dinner is so fresh and delicious, perfect for busy weeknights.

Though they take about 45 minutes to put together, most of that time is hands-off, waiting for the chickpeas to get all crispy in the oven. To make this meal faster, you can prepare the grain base (I used bulgur but anything goes–couscous, quinoa, rice, etc.) and tzatziki yogurt sauce ahead of time. Then, when the chickpeas are cooking you can throw the Mediterranean salsa together in a hurry… and presto! Dinner is served. 🙂 We loved all the textures/flavors in this dish, as well as the temperature contrast between the hot, smoky chickpeas and the cool, creamy tzatziki sauce. This is a great one dish meal that has definitely earned a spot on my spring/summer dinner rotation. Next time, I’ll be sure to pick up some pita bread and hummus to enjoy on the side. Happy Friday!

one year ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Oreo Dream
two years ago: Spicy Chickpea Bacon Burgers
three years ago: Easy Homemade New York Bagels
four years ago: Kale Fried Rice
five years ago: Lemon Orzo Chicken Soup
six years ago: Mexican Pizza

Deconstructed Falafel Bowls

  • Servings: 3
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adapted from Delish Knowledge; Tzatziki from my blog

  • 1 – 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted very dry with towel
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3/4 cup uncooked bulgur, couscous or other grain/grain susbtitute of choice

for the Tzatziki

  • 2 cups plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and grated, pressed dry with a clean dish towel
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill (or 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped])
  • 1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

for the Mediterranean salsa

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Begin by making the chickpeas. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the chickpeas–they should be very dry–with olive oil, then spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Cook for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove from oven and season with cayenne, cumin, and paprika.

While chickpeas are cooking, prepare grain according to package directions. I made bulgur but couscous, quinoa, farro, or even rice would be great choices! Basically, anything goes here.

Next, make tzatziki. In a small bowl, stir together greek yogurt with grated cucumber, then fold in dill. Season with pepper and salt to taste. If desired, add mayonnaise. It adds a little extra tang that I love, but it can be omitted. Cover and refrigerate to let flavors blend. Tzatziki can be made the day before if desired.

Finally, make the Mediterranean salsa. Stir together tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion in a medium bowl. Gently fold in parsley and mint, then season with a bit of pepper. Let rest while chickpeas finish cooking.

 

When ready to serve, place bulgur in individual bowls. Top with chickpeas, Medterranean salsa, and a drizzle of tzatziki. Enjoy!