Grain of the Week: Bulgur

Bulgur

Bulgur is a cereal food made from the groats of several different wheat species, most often from durum wheat. Bulgur is a kind of dried cracked wheat. It is most common in European, Middle Eastern, and Indian cuisine. 

Bulgur makes a healthy and quick addition to any meal because it’s 100 percent whole wheat that’s specially prepared to decrease cooking time. It's a good source of fiber, protein, iron and vitamin B-6. Eating whole-grain foods, including bulgur, may lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.

Types of Bulgur Wheat

Different types of bulgur wheat require different cooking times, so it’s best to check the package instructions for cooking instructions. One advantage of using bulgur wheat is that it has already been partially cooked, so it can be quick and easy to prepare at home, and it's much quicker to cook than other whole grains. Most types of bulgur wheat will be done cooking in less than just fifteen minutes. 

There are two main kinds of bulgur wheat: Instant bulgur wheat, also called fine-grain bulgur is common in health food store bulk bins and is usually used in tabbouleh recipes. This type of bulgur cooks in less than 5 minutes. Medium grain and coarse grain are also available.

Nutritional Value of Bulgur Wheat

One cup of cooked bulgur wheat provides:

 151 calories, 0.4 grams of fat, 8.2 grams of dietary fiber (that's about 33% the recommended daily value), and a healthy 5.6 grams of protein. Bulgur is also good source of iron and B vitamins.  One cup has 1.75 milligrams of iron, which is 22 percent of men’s and 10 percent of women’s recommended daily intake. It also provides 8 to 12 percent of the recommended daily intake of thiamin, niacin, folate and vitamin B-6.

 

Cooking Bulgur Wheat

Though bulgur wheat is most commonly found in tabbouleh salad, you can use it just like rice or couscous, or any other whole grain,  such as barley or quinoa.

Instead of rice, try pairing your favorite vegetable stir-fry or vegetable curry with cooked whole grain bulgur wheat.

 

Serving Tips

Toss uncooked bulgur into soup, stew or chili and simmer until it’s soft. Use it for cereal or a side dish, the same way you’d use brown rice and oats. Make a sweet salad with cooked bulgur, carrots, raisins, pineapples and a raspberry vinaigrette. Cook bulgur in low-salt chicken broth and add any combination of your favorite salad ingredients; some that pair well include beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, onions, sweet peppers, spinach, walnuts and chicken.

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