I’m a runner and I love to eat. I also love to cook. This combination, for me, means I look for healthy recipes and cooking techniques. I also don’t want to break the bank, so I look for budget-friendly ingredients.
One day I was in the bulk foods section of Whole Foods Market reaching for a bag of whole wheat couscous when I saw a label I never noticed before. It said “bulgur wheat.” I glanced at the nutrition label and saw that it met my criteria for a healthy food. So, I decided to grab a small bag of this new-found food. When I got home, I researched what it was and how to cook it. Now, instead of reaching for couscous, I’m more likely to grab bulgur.
What is Bulgur Wheat?
Bulgur wheat is a form of whole wheat that has been cleaned, parboiled, dried, and ground into particles. It can be fine, medium, or coarse ground. Because bulgur is a whole grain, it’s high in fiber and is filled with nutrients like iron and B vitamins. One serving (1/3 cup dry) of bulgur wheat has approximately 140 calories. The taste is a bit nutty and the texture is tender, yet slightly chewy.
This whole grain is usually used in tabbouleh and pilafs. Like I mentioned above, you can find bulgur in the bulk foods sections of some supermarkets for about $1.39 per pound. However, companies such as Arrowhead Mills, Hodgson Mill, and Bob’s Red Mill sell bulgur wheat.
Cooking With Bulgur Wheat
Bulgur is very versatile and, because it’s parboiled, it can be cooked in only about 10-15 minutes. This grain can be used in a light summer dish, but also be combined with richer ingredients for a hearty winter meal. Here are some of my favorite healthy, quick combinations.
Mediterranean : Combine cooked bulgur with grilled chicken, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, roasted asparagus, and shallots. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh basil, crumbled feta cheese, and a splash of balsamic vinaigrette if desired.
Southwestern : Combine cooked bulgur, sweet yellow corn, sauteed green bell peppers, sweet onions, and black beans. For seasoning, use a little garlic salt, pepper, and chili powder. (Note: For an extra kick, jalapeno peppers can be used instead of bell peppers. Also, for a super quick option, use steam in the bag yellow corn. Add corn just before the peppers and onions are finished cooking.)
Italian : Stir Parmesan Reggiano cheese and fresh thyme into cooked bulgur. Then add green peas and sauteed mushrooms. Just like risotto!
Moroccan : Combine bulgur with honey glazed carrots, golden raisins, and grilled chicken. Season with cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, salt and pepper.
Breakfast: Combine cooked bulgur with your favorite oatmeal topping – raisins, dried or fresh fruit, or nuts. Top with a touch of maple syrup and sprinkle of cinnamon.
Sunnyland Mills, “Bulgur Wheat,” Sunnyland Mills
Unknown Author, “Kitchen Dictionary: Bulgur Wheat,” Food.com