Bulgur - What is it?

Bulgur is not a food found frequently on shopping lists. However, it is a whole grain. Most Americans consume enough grains, but only a few are whole grains.
Bulgur - What is it? - News

Updated: August 4, 2018

Bulgur - What is it?

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At least half of all the grains eaten should be whole grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel-the bran, germ and endosperm. Example of whole grains include whole-wheat flour, bulgur (sometimes known as cracked wheat), oatmeal, whole cornmeal, whole-grain barley, quinoa, whole-grain corns (including popcorn), whole rye and wild and brown rice.

The best way to find out if you are buying a whole grain bread is to read the ingredients on the food label. Choose products that name a “whole grain” ingredient first on the list.

Whole grains add lots of value to our diet. They add minerals, vitamins, fibers and keep us feeling full, even at our hungriest moments. Whole grains are complex carbohydrates, which break down gradually to provide long-lasting energy. This contributes to feeling satisfied, rather than hungry. Eating a breakfast that includes whole-wheat cereal, oatmeal, whole-wheat toast or bagel, for example, can provide long-lasting energy for morning activities.

People who cannot eat gluten can eat whole-grains if they choose carefully. There are many whole-grain products such as buckwheat, certified gluten-free oats or oatmeal, popcorn, brown rice, wild rice and quinoa.

The oil in various whole-grain flours differs so their shelf life varies. Buy what you can use and store within the following guidelines. Most whole-grain flours keep well in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 months and in the freezer for 6 to 8 months. Cooked brown rice can be refrigerated 3 to 5 days and can be frozen up to 6 months.

Try a new whole grain food. Here is a recipe for a filling side dish with lots of vegetables, protein, fiber and whole grain. Cook extra bulgur, freeze half to serve later as a quick side dish.

This salad is a great way to add some healthy grains, fruits, vegetables, and garbanzo beans to your meal.

Bulgur Chickpea Salad

Makes 6 servings

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 1/3 tsp minced onion
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup scallions or onions
  • 1/2 cup raisins-optional
  • 1/2 cup carrot (chopped or shredded)
  • 1-15oz canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed)

Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • black pepper (to taste)
  1. Bring water to boil in medium saucepan. Stir in bulgur, parsley, minced onion, and soy sauce. Cover and reduce heat; simmer 15-20 minutes (until all water absorbed and bulgur is not too crunchy). Do not overcook.
  2. Remove from heat and allow cool; fluffing with fork. Combine dressing ingredients; stir well. Pour over bulgur mixture and mix well.
  3. Stir in scallions, raisins, carrots, and chickpeas. Cover and chill for several hours. Store in refrigerator.

Nutritional Information: Calories 204, Fat 5g, Sodium 275mg, Fiber 7g, Protein 6g, Carbohydrates 36g

Sources

All About the Grains Group from the USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov website

Bulgur Chickpea Salad from USDA What's Cooking? website

Healthy Weight from the Centers for Disease Control website

Authors

Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) PA Nutrition Education TRACKS (SNAP-Ed)

More by Mary Reistetter Ehret, M.S.,R.D.,L.D.N.