Bulgur Pilaf Delight
I’ve been fascinated with bulgur lately. Since this handy pantry staple has only a small amount of the bran from wheat removed, it is a whole grain that cooks amazingly fast. I prefer to use the coarse ground because I like the texture, but bulgur also comes in fine, medium, and super coarse.
Not only is this grain super easy to cook, it has an impressive nutritional profile. Bulgur is high in fiber and in protein while being low in calories and fat. It is a great grain to add to vegetarian dishes that need a little extra protein to make them substantial.
Bulgur just needs to be rehydrated before using. Some directions say to cook in liquid over the stove for half the time and let it sit covered for the other half of the time. I’ve found success in just pouring boiling liquid over the bulgur, covering it, and letting it sit for about 20-30 minutes. When the bulgur is tender and the water is absorbed, it is done. Super simple.
As I was preparing for my two week vacation out of the hell that is this Minnesota winter, I needed to clean out my refrigerator. I found a random assortment of vegetables and fresh herbs; all of which I threw into a skillet to sauté.
These vegetables smelled amazing! I cut them into a pretty small dice to blend better with the texture of the bulgur. Sometimes when making bulgur pilaf, the vegetables are added to the bulgur as it is rehydrating. I find that the timing of that method can be tricky. Since the bulgur needs to sit for a while anyway, why not cook up the vegetables during that time? Simple is better. 🙂
- 1 3/4 cup coarse bulgur
- 2 cups tomato sauce (I used whole canned tomatoes that I pureed)
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion, diced (2 cups diced)
- 1 medium carrot, small diced
- 1/2 rutabaga, small diced (2 cups diced)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1/3 cup minced fresh dill
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped spinach
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil - good quality
- Salt, freshly ground pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
- Heat tomato sauce in a medium saucepan until boiling. Pour in the bulgur and stir to combine. Turn off heat, cover, and set aside for 25-30 minutes, or until all the tomato sauce has been absorbed and the bulgur is soft.
- Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and let cook until lightly browned and soft, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the carrot and rutabaga. Stir well to combine. Let cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetables are fragrant and soft.
- Add the garlic and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
- Stir in the fresh herbs and spinach. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add the rehydrated bulgur and stir in the lemon juice. Taste. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Drizzle the olive oil on the mixture and stir well to combine. Serve warm.