Effortless & Wholesome Grains, Part 2: Bulgur
Bulgur is one of those whole grains that you’ve probably tried in Middle Eastern dishes like tabbouleh, and you’ve also most likely scanned right over it in the bulk bins of your health food store. It’s a nutty, rustic and delicious grain that somehow hasn’t gotten as much press as quinoa and brown rice, so for many it is still a novelty. Though it may be somewhat more mysterious than other whole grains, don’t let that scare you off. It’s actually one of the easiest hearty grains to prepare – you don’t even need to really cook it! Though you can boil and simmer bulgur like most grains, the easiest way to make it is to simply pour boiling water or broth right over the grains and let them steep for about 20-30 minutes (see recipe below).
Bulgur is made from wheat berries that have been parboiled, dried and milled into small, fast-cooking granules. It’s not to be confused with cracked wheat, which is not parboiled, and thus takes longer to cook. Bulgur comes in different levels of coarseness – the finer the grind, the faster it is to prepare. I usually go for medium-grind as it cooks quickly and has a nice texture. Bulgur does contain gluten, so if you have gluten sensitivity, stick to other grains like rice, millet and quinoa. Like many whole grains, bulgur has a low glycemic index, making it a great option to use instead of simpler carbs like white rice, pasta, and potatoes. Because bulgur contains complex carbohydrates, it will give you a sustained feeling of nourishment and keep you going throughout your day with equilibrium. Bulgur is also high in fiber, protein, iron and B vitamins – so much more nutrition than found in the more common American staples of pasta and potatoes.
We are all about healthy food that’s delicious and easy to make, and bulgur fits that description perfectly. If you haven’t tried making it, give it a go and expand your culinary repertoire with this nutty, delicious and nourishing grain. You can enjoy bulgur plain and simple as a side dish, or mix it in with salads, soups, or baked goods.
- 1 cup medium-grind bulgur
- 2 1/2 cups water or broth
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Place bulgur in a heat-proof bowl. Pour boiling water or broth over the bulgur. Cover, and let stand for about 25 minutes.
- If there is any remaining water that has not been absorbed by the bulgur, strain it out.
By Chloe Bolton