Tuesday, January 17, 2012

#8 of 12 Foods to Eat More of in 2012

8. Bulgur

Huh? Yes, I'm serious. This funny little word is a type of whole grain wheat. It's similar to rice or cous cous, but even more nutritious and super versatile. Since it's a good source of protein (5g per 1/2 cup serving) and is very high in fiber (a whopping 7g per serving), it's very filling. It's a unique plant source of iron which makes it an excellent component of vegetarian dishes and it's chock-full of energizing B vitamins.

Bulgur is a grain that's relatively new to me and I've been collecting some new uses it for it lately. It's a quick-cooking grain when it comes to mealtime because it's actually pre-cooked, then ground. Most commonly, you'll see bulgur used in the Greek salad, tabbouleh (recipe below). But come summer time, I'll be freshening it up by mixing it with strawberry and mint. I also discovered a breakfast recipe for bulgur in my newest cookbook purchase, Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen by Heidi Swanson. Don't worry; this one's definitely going to be featured on my Resource List real soon!

Tell me you won't be full after this lunch:

First, prepare this recipe for tabbouleh salad:
1 cup bulgur (presoaked in 1 cup hot water for an hour)
1 1/2 cups fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 medium cucumber, diced
6 kalamata olives, sliced

Presoak the bulgur by pouring 1 cup into a small bowl with 1 cup hot water. Let stand for 1 hour (all water should absorb, if it doesn't, drain it well). In a medium bowl, gently mix the herbs and spices. Add bulgur, lemon juice and oil. Stir well. Add tomato, cucumber and olives and stir again. Let stand for at least 10 minutes to allow flavors to marry.

To serve, layer these ingredients in a bowl or to-go container for lunch:
Spinach or lettuce
1/2 cup tabbouleh salad
1/2 cup garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 ounce feta cheese

No more mid-afternoon tummy growl!