Fragrant squash stew with a chopped chickpea and bulghur wheat salad

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Vegetarian mains

Fragrant squash stew with a chopped chickpea and bulghur wheat salad

Main Serves 2 40 min
This is a very simple and fast way to cook squash. Instead of frying the onions and tomatoes down as a base, everything is gently poached in an aromatic broth until just tender. As the tomatoes and squash breakdown and collapse, they thicken into a light stew. The bulghur wheat is there to add a bit of definition and texture, it needs to retain a chewiness without any raw crunch. The chickpea and bulghur salad can make a great lunch dish in its own right. By adding extra ingredients; a few roasted tomatoes, griddled courgettes, roasted squash or poached asparagus for example, you'll have a nutritious, well rounded, protein-rich bowlful.

Cook's notes

Don't let your broth furiously boil or the dish will become stodgy with lack of liquid - a gentle simmer is enough.


  • 1 red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 stock cube
  • 125g bulghur wheat
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp harissa
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 30g parsley
  • 15g mint
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper


Prep time: 15 min
Cooking time: 25 min
  • Step 1

    Put the kettle on to boil for the bulghur wheat. Peel the red onion. Finely slice one half, finely dice the other half. Peel and finely chop 1 garlic clove. Tip 500ml of boiling water into the measuring jug. Crumble in the stock cube and whisk until it has dissolved.
  • Step 2

    Place the bulghur wheat in a heatproof bowl. Tip over 250ml of hot stock. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave for 20 minutes to plump up. Meanwhile, place the remaining stock in a large saucepan with the chopped tomatoes, sliced onion, garlic, harissa and the fragrant spice pot.
  • Step 3

    Bring to a simmer and cook gently while you prepare the squash. Peel the squash and remove the soft seedy core with a spoon. Chop the flesh into roughly even 2cm chunks. Squash will differ in size so you'll want to measure out 600g to use for the recipe. Save the rest for another day.
  • Step 4

    Add the squash to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer gently, loosely covered, for 20 minutes. The squash should be tender and starting to collapse. While the squash cooks, wash the parsley and mint. Shake them dry and pick the leaves from the stalks, keeping them separate. Finely chop the parsley. Finely slice the mint leaves.
  • Step 5

    Zest and juice the lemon. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Lay them on a board and coarsely chop them.
  • Step 6

    Check the bulghur wheat, it should be tender with a definite chewiness and bite to it. Stir it well with a fork to break up the grains. Add the chickpeas to the bulghur wheat, along with the diced red onion, half the chopped parsley and all of the sliced mint.
  • Step 7

    Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, half of the zest and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix well and season with salt, pepper and more lemon to your taste. When the squash is tender, season with salt and pepper to your taste. Fold in the remaining chopped parsley.
  • Step 8

    Divide the salad between 2 plates and serve with the fragrant stew ladled on top.

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