Bulgur: Versatile, Healthy, Delicious Whole Grain

bulgur
Photo Credit: Bob Chwedyk/bchwedyk@dailyherald.comBulgur

I’ve been eating a lot of bulgur wheat these days. Mostly because I love it and I’ve been craving the fresh, piquant flavors of the eastern Mediterranean. Lebanese food is a favorite in my household: my husband grew up in Ottawa, Canada, his Portuguese family living next door and frequently intermingling with a Lebanese family.

fireshot-screen-capture-010-lebanon-google-maps-www_google_com_maps_place_lebanon_33_263114133_80885656_75z_data4m53m41s0x151f17028422Bulgur wheat (sorry about that, those with Celiac or gluten sensitivities, Bulgur is a form of wheat and not gluten free) is a huge staple in the Lebanese diet, and it’s nutty flavor and slight chewiness makes it a tasty accent to fresh parsley and lemon juice. Plus, it’s easy to cook because it’s already cooked! From The Whole Grains Council:

When wheat kernels are boiled, dried, cracked, then sorted by size, the result is bulgur. This wheat product is sometimes referred to as “Middle Eastern pasta” for its versatility as a base for all sorts of dishes. Bulgur is most often made from durum wheat, but in fact almost any wheat, hard or soft, red or white, can be made into bulgur.

Because bulgur has been precooked and dried, it needs to be boiled for only about 10 minutes to be ready to eat – about the same time as dry pasta. This makes bulgur an extremely nutritious fast food for quick side dishes, pilafs or salads. Perhaps bulgur’s best-known traditional use is in the minty grain and vegetable salad known as tabbouleh.

Health bonus: Bulgur has more fiber than quinoa, oats, millet, buckwheat or corn. Its quick cooking time and mild flavor make it ideal for those new to whole grain cooking.

There are so many ways to use bulgur, and here are a few:

Tabbouleh

20160602_184756Tabbouleh is The Hubs’ favorite salad, hands down. Why? Probably because it doesn’t have any lettuce! Tabbouleh is an Arab Middle Eastern salad made from tomato, cucumber, bulgur wheat, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice as the base, and can be spruced up any number of ways. Back in June, I made a version featuring edamame for extra protein.

Kibbeh

kibbeh3Kibbeh is a traditional ground meat, onion and bulgur dish seasoned with sweet spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and allspice. Most commonly the mixture is formed into small football shapes and deep fried, but it can be baked, cooked in broth or even served raw.

Breakfast Porridge

20160907_072609Oh, hey, I just posted about this two days ago! Bulgur is a quick cooking grain (because it’s already cooked), so it’s perfect for a relatively quick breakfast. You don’t even have to cook it, so it works for those “overnight oats” recipes, too! Try my Banana Bread Breakfast Bulgur for an easy intro to bulgur before noon.

Pilaf

bulgur_pilaf
Turkish Bulgur Pilaf w/ Chickpeas and Tomatoes from Mediterrasian.com

Try a flavorful bulgur pilaf like this one from mediterrasian.com!

Want to learn about more whole grains you may not have tried before? Check out four more in my blog entry 5 Delicious Whole Grains You May Be Missing Out On.

Do you eat bulgur? What’s your favorite way to eat it? Let me know in the comments!

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