Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wholesome Wednesdays: Bulgar Wheat

I've been eating a lot of bulgar wheat lately, all due to a happy accident. I used to be rather diligent about setting out a jar of grains to soak overnight to be made into hot cereal in the morning. I've been busy in the studio lately and not moving around a ton, so homemade yogurt has been my preferred breakfast. However, a few months ago i set out some bulgar wheat in a jar missing its rubber seal. The next morning i had fluffy, perfectly moist but still rather dry grain: tabouli!

Tabouli is so easy to make, now that i know all i have to do is add some warm water to the dry grain and wait an hour or so. I am notorious for hating mint with a passion, so as is the norm around here: Miranda's tabouli is her own thing, not the traditional chopped mint and bulgar grains. I usually pick whatever fresh herbs i have growing and toss in any other ripe veggies as well. The usual suspects are garlic chives, lemon basil, hot peppers and maybe some kaffir lime. The last week or so has been a resurgence of summer veggies: tomatoes and cucumbers coming out my ears! I'm loving it. And i've been doing some new things with my bounty. Instead of gazpacho or cucumber salsa, i mix up the chopped veggies and herbs with a bit of bulgar wheat. Much like my veggie and orzo salad, this salad is much healthier because the bulgar has a ton of protein and fiber, unlike its pasta counterpart. I tossed together what i had on hand yesterday, including a giant 1 pound cucumber! This Marketmore cuke hid from me and grew to hugeness, and yet wasn't bitter at all! Thank you cool night temperatures!
  • Chopped cucumber
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Finely diced jalapeno (drought = hot hot hot!)
  • Diced fresh cilantro
  • Diced Smoked Tillamook Cheddar
  • Dried and ground kaffir leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cumin and chilly powder
  • Splash vinegar
  • Handful bulgar grains

So - how about that nutritional content? One serving of bulgar wheat has a whopping 8 grams of dietary fiber (33%) and 6 grams of protein. Bulgar is very high in vitamin and mineral content due to the lack of over processing. Bulgar is essentially just whole wheat with all its goodies in a more easily prepared and eaten form: it's been steamed and dried already which cuts down on prep time in your kitchen. All that fiber is great for keeping the ole' system working and the high protein content and relatively complete amino acid structure fills the protein gaps without the need for a ton of meat or tofu. Much better than useless pasta!

Get your hands on some bulgar today, and while you're at it look at the nutrition labels on the bulk bins of all the various grains: bulgar, cracked wheat, barley, etc: i think you'll find the bulgar has some of the best specs with the lowest calorie damage.

What's your favorite bulgar dish?

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