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Bulgur: An Overlooked Healthy Grain-Food…and Bulger Pilaf Recipe


The bulgur pilaf is a recipe from my mom, who got it from her sister, who got it from her Lebanese mother-in-law. I’ve never had bulgur traditionally other than in tabbouleh or kubbeh, but this is supposed to be common in Lebanon.

My guess is that it’s inspired by Turkish cooking, since bulgur is widely used in Pilafs there.

Bulgur is 95% whole grain made from wheat. According to the Wheat Foods Council website, only 5% of the bran is removed in the process of making bulgur. When harvested, the wheat kernels are boiled until they swell and crack open. They are then left to dry, cracked, and sorted by size.

While the processing takes time, for most of us consumers, it’s precooked and takes almost no time to prepare. Giving convenience foods a new meaning!

Buglur comes in 4 different sizes, but the only two I found here in the US are coarse and fine. For this recipe, coarse bulgur works better.

When you make this recipe, load it with veggies–remember that vegetables shrink! I used onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers, but you can use whatever comes to your mind or is available.

Other ways to use bulgur are salads (tabbouleh), soup, casserole, stuffings, etc. Anything you use rice for.

Check out this eggplant, bulgur and tomato casserole from Taste of Beirut. Or this lentil, bulgur, and spinach soup from Binnur’s Turkish Cookbook.

Ingredients

  • 1 c coarse bulgur
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped small
  • 4 plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped small
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped small
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp each all spice, cinnamon, and cumin

Soak the bulgur in warm water for 10 minutes then rinse.

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add the vegetables and spices and saute until soft. Add the bulgur and 3/4 c water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat until bulgur is cooked.

Bulgur pilaf with scallop scampi--recipe to follow tomorro!

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Nagla April 13, 2010, 12:19 pm

    This looks delicious! can’t wait to read the scampi recipe. How long did you need to cook the bulgar for?

  • Nicole, RD April 13, 2010, 12:57 pm

    I love bulgar! Can’t wait for the recipe with the scallops. Drool!

  • rebecca subbiah April 13, 2010, 3:03 pm

    looks great I need to try this and so good for you

  • Sarah April 13, 2010, 3:10 pm

    Oh yay, I have a pack of bulgar in press doing nothing, now I have a plan 🙂

  • Stephanie from Juicy Fresh Bites April 13, 2010, 7:16 pm

    Never tried bulgar before but it seems like a quick-cooking whole grain option! I’ll love to try it and expand my whole grain options. Looks kind of like steel-cut oats…does it have the same chewy, nutty flavours?

  • Nour El-Zibdeh, RD April 13, 2010, 9:15 pm

    Thank you all for your comments.
    Nagla: good question. If I remember correctly, about 15 to 20 minutes. I remember making a mental note that it’s faster that rice.

    Nicole: scallop scampi to come. I wanted to put them together but it became a very long post.

    Thanks Rebecca!

    Thank you Sarah for stopping by. I’m glad you have a plan. I get annoyed by food in my pantry that just sits there. I hope you like it.

    Stephanie: it’s less chewy than oatmeal but nutty and a little sticky too. I hope you enjoy it!

  • Kristen (swanky dietitian) April 15, 2010, 5:44 pm

    I have never made bulgur before. I am sure I must have had it before in tabbouleh like you had mentioned.
    Recipe looks great! I am always looking for new grains.

  • Cherelle Rothermel March 31, 2012, 8:04 pm

    Hi would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using? I’m going to start my own blog soon but I’m having a tough time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

    • Nour Zibdeh April 1, 2012, 9:28 pm

      Hi Cherelle,
      Wordpress catalyst theme