This simple tabbouleh side dish is made with bulgur wheat, parsley, chickpeas, dried cranberries, and juicy tomatoes, and it’s bursting with fresh flavors and filling fiber.
When you hear the words, “whole grains,” what foods come to mind? Whole wheat bread? Whole wheat pasta? Brown rice?
Nutritious whole grains do, in fact, include wheat, but there are many, many more options out there to choose from including:
Amaranth, Barley, Buckwheat, Corn, Millet, Oats, Quinoa, Rice, Rye, Sorghum, Teff, Triticale, and Wild Rice.
As for “wheat,” the varieties you’ll find at the market include: Spelt, Emmer, Farro, Einkorn, Kamut, and the star of this blog post: Bulgur.
Tabbouleh is usually made with bulgur, but you can sub out the bulgur for other grains like barley, rice, or quinoa.
Earlier this week, I attended the Whole Grains: Breaking Barriers conference sponsored by Oldways and the Whole Grains Council. Experts spoke about issues ranging from the rise in Celiac Disease (CD), the growing demand for gluten-free foods, and culinary trends like sprouted grains.
This slide, shared during one of the presentations, shows what a typical American family eats in a week. As you can see, most of their food choices are heavily processed, and what’s clearly missing are fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Fun facts about bulgur …
What is it? Sometimes called, Middle Eastern pasta, bulgur is made from wheat kernels that are boiled, dried, cracked, and sorted by size. Since the size can vary (instant / fine grain, medium grain, coarse grain), check the package for cooking instructions. Tabbouleh is typically made with fine grain bulgur.
Nutrition profile: 1 cup of cooked bulgur has 151 calories, 8.2 grams fiber, 33.8 grams carbohydrate, 5.6 grams protein, and 10% iron.
Culinary uses: Side dishes like tabbouleh, pilafs, and in salads. It’s slightly chewy in texture and mild in flavor.
- Serves: 6
- Serving size: 1 cup
- Calories: 210
- Fat: 8g
- Saturated fat: 1g
- Carbohydrates: 31g
- Sodium: 250mg
- Fiber: 5g
- Protein: 5g
- 1 cup fine bulgur wheat
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of 1 lemon (3 to 4 tablespoons)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 cup orange, yellow, or red grape tomatoes, halved (or cut into quarters if you have little kids at your table)
- 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 scallions, white and light green parts, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
- ¼ to ½ cup dried cranberries
- Place the bulgur and salt in a large, heat-safe bowl. Pour 1½ cups boiling water over the bulgur and stir to combine. Cover and let sit for 30 to 60 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.
- Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil until well combined. Stir in the parsley, tomatoes, chickpeas, scallions, and cranberries.
- Eat right away, or better yet, cover, place in the refrigerator, and chill for 2 to 3 hours so the flavors can meld. Season with kosher salt and pepper to taste.
What’s your favorite whole grain, and how do you prepare it?