I find it interesting how food trends seem to move in circles over decades, centuries or even millennia. As I write this in 2019 plant based diets are on the rise, and whole grains are once again in the spotlight (unless you are following one of the low carb/keto dietary guides). Eggs and butter have gone from good, to bad to good again all in my lifetime. If you wait long enough everything will be praised and demonized. So what are we to do? I go with moderation. I try to eat a varied diet and assume I’ll get some of the good stuff and minimize the bad stuff. Above all, eat food that tastes good and ideally has ingredients you can pronounce.
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Red bulgur (red wheat) is a quick cooking whole grain that has been eaten since humans first discovered agriculture. It can be traced back to the cradle of civilization, the Levant region of what is now Northern Africa, the middle east and Turkey. It has remained popular in those regions for over 2000 years, so you don’t have to believe just my opinion. This recipe uses cracked whole grain bulgar mixed with fresh herbs and vegetables. The mildly nutty flavor and rice like texture of the grain combines to create a delicious “salad” dressed simply with lemon juice and olive oil.
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You can now find red bulgar in most grocery stores near the rice and beans, or in the international aisle. You can also order Bob’s Red Mill Bulgur on Amazon.
A refreshingly light salad of whole grain bulgur, cucumbers, tomatoes and parsley with a lemon and olive oil dressing.
- 1 Cup red bulgur (cracked red wheat)
- 1 Cup boiling water
- 2-3 Cups fresh Italian (flat) parsley, finely chopped
- 2-3 Tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped (optional)
- 2 Tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 Cucumber, diced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice (fresh is best)
- 3 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- In a medium bowl combine bulgur and boiling water. Let soak for 1 hour.
- Drain any excess water (press down with your hand to squeeze out any water). Put the bulgur in a large bowl.
- Strip the parsley leaves off the stems and chop them into fine pieces. Add them to the large bowl.
- Seed and dice the tomatoes. Add them to the bowl. For full instructions, check out my article on prepping tomatoes here
- Dice onion and cucumber and add those to the bowl.
- Add the lemon juice and olive oil. Stir well to mix everything together.
- Refrigerate about one hour before serving to let the flavors develop.
This is one of those dishes where the recipe is more a set of general guidelines, not gospel. Feel free to adjust proportions of the ingredients to your personal taste adding more or less as you desire. Every family and restaurant makes this a little different.
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