This recipe was all over social media in the last month or so, with claims that Jennifer Aniston ate the salad every single day on the “Friends” set. Then the actress came out to debunk this assertion, stating, in fact, that she had never eaten the salad.
Rachel or no Rachel, the salad is healthy and delicious, and I’ve now made it several times. It keeps well, can be made vegan/pareve with the omission of the feta and, if you still want that briny salty flavor, add olives.
The original recipe used bulgur wheat, but that is a little harder to find, so I used quinoa. Barley, brown rice or farro are also good grain options.
Consider this recipe a framework; if you dislike onions, skip them. Have some tomatoes or green beans lying around? Toss them in. Loathe mint but love dill? Switcheroo! You get the idea …
This is a great healthy lunch and is a handy side dish at dinner — especially if you have vegetarians or vegans in attendance. It’s hearty enough to feel like a meal but complements fish or meat dishes nicely.
Serves 4 generously
4 cups cooked quinoa or other grain such as brown rice or bulgur
1 cucumber, chopped (peel if skin is thick)
½ cup chopped red onion
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
½ cup salted shelled pistachios
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
Juice of 3 lemons
⅓ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Be sure the grain is completely cooled before assembling the salad; I cook it the night before and refrigerate it overnight.
Add all the salad ingredients and toss them well. It can be served immediately or stored for several days in the refrigerator in a sealable container.