Food Find: Bulgur

I admit it. I was scared to try Bulgur. I didn’t even know what it really was? A grain? a special king of rice? What? WHAT?

Geesh! Doesn’t there seem to be so many new and crazy options in the whole grain department anymore. Right?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy there is but it can be overwhelming to those of us that grew up on good old rice and pasta, not all of this Quinoa, Couscous stuff! ;~P

bulgurIn all seriousness, I’ve been wanting to try it for some time so when I saw this Bulgur
in my local grocery store, I picked it up. Then, honestly, it sat in my pantry for weeks. I was just uninspired. I mean it’s a big bag of grain. Nothing to really write home about until you realize it cooks up in minutes, is an excellent source of whole grains, and a natural weight loss food. One “cup of bulgur has fewer calories, less fat, and more than twice the fiber of brown rice.” That’s cool with me! You know my stance on the getting the most food for my nutrition buck! Bulgur seems like a natural bulker with 1 cup weighing in at only 150 calories, no fat and 8g of fiber. And of course it’s whole grain, don’t even get me started on all the benefits of whole grains.

So what IS it, exactly? Great question and I was quite surprised by the answer. Bulgur is simply precooked, dried, whole wheat. That’s it!

It apparently comes in grain sizes (fine, medium, coarse) but I didn’t have that many choices at my grocery store. I’m assuming the brand I bought is medium or coarse but it is also available in fine. I’ve seen many recipe using it in veggies burgers and of course, Tabouleh salad, which just seems to be everywhere anymore.

So far my only experience with it was in my latest veggie soup (which I LOVED it in) but I have plans on experimenting REAL soon. I’m even considering making a simple pilaf out of it and serving it to the husband and the toddler as a side dish. I will definitely let you know how that turns out!

In the mean time if any of you have more bulgur experience then I, please share. I love reading everyones ideas.

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29 Comments and 0 Replies

  1. Hil

    Two things that you must try with bulgur:

    1. Tabbouleh…a salad made of finely minced parsley and bulgar with bits of finely minced mint, scallions, tomatoes, dressed with olive oil and lemon. Yummy. The authenitic versions are mostly parsley, but I’ve seen many Americanized versions that are mostly bulgar.

    2. Bulgar mixed with oatmeal. I love adding precooked bulgar to my oatmeal…it gives an interesting change in flavor and texture and it makes it so much more filling.

  2. Kate

    I love bulgar salads. This is what I do:

    Make bulgar in broth (chicken or veggie, ususally).

    Saute a bag of frozen veggies (any kind). Right now, I’m hoooked on a stir fry mix of green beans, broccoli, and red bell peppers. I usually add in some garlic, just because it’s delicious.

    Mix bulgar, veggies, and maybe a can of beans (protein) together. Add salt, pepper and maybe some crushed red pepper. Also, I sometimes add in some more oil, depending on the texture.

    Voila! Delicious both hot and cold!

  3. Natasha


    Being half greek I have the traditional greek recipe for you. it is called Bourgouri or Bligouri in Greece( notice the similarity in the name.) what you have to do it chop up some onion really thinly, add either some tinned tomato,tomato puree or fresh tomato’s peeled and squished( I am so proffesional in my cooking terminology arent I :P). Add about a teaspoon of olive oil to your frying pan and simmer the onions and tomato for a while. When the onion starts to change in colour add the bulgur wheat in and stir continuously so it doesn’t stick. Do this for a few minutes until the bulgur starts to change in colour just slightly. Add double the amount of water to the amount of Bulgur (ie 2 cups of cbulgur=4 cups of water) and let it boil like rice. Make sure you keep checking it and stirring ocasionally. It may need more water depending on its texture. When it is soft and the grains have become bigger it means it is cooked. Stir it and let it cool a little.

    Now here is the lovely tast bit. When serving serve it with greek yoghurt, Some people like to eat it separately and just have a bit of bulgur on their fork and a bit of yoghurt and others,like myself, like to stir in a bit of yoghurt to the bulgur. Trust me it’s yummy :)

    I think I am going to have some for lunch :)

  4. Sabrina

    Bob’s is wonderful!!! I’ve been meaning to get spelt flour and make “egg noodles”. Can’t wait to try bulgur…

  5. Madison (FollowMyWeigh)

    me too, i get pretty overwhelmed by all the whole grain varieties out there! i bought a box of quinoa from tj’s in june?? i think? and…its still sitting there pretty much full!! but your tutorial on bulgar makes me want to venture out on bulgar – sounds simple and the nutritional facts look really good!

  6. noelle

    Saw the Kashi bags of precooked rice pilafs at the store today and thought of you. Have you tried them yet? Those kinds of things would be totally impractical for me, feeding a family of 8, but it’s such a great option for smaller families.

  7. Annette

    I am going to get some!!!! 8 grams of fiber!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW!!!!! I am always looking for ways to step up our fiber ;) and this seems to be a good one. Thanks for passing on all the great info Roni.

  8. My First Kitchen

    Honestly, it’s just hard to get excited about a food that seems so boring. Maybe that’s because it’s a Monday morning and all I want is apple pie and ice cream. :) I can’t wait to see more of your adventures with bulgur; maybe it’ll make me pull mine out of its hiding place in the pantry.

  9. Biz

    Oh, I’ll have to give that a try.

    Roni, have you tried Freekeh (sp?) yet? I found it at Trader Joe’s and its 100% young durham wheat. You use it as you would rice, and I’ve added it to my stirfrys. Not sure I would eat it by itself, but the chewy/nutty texture is a nice addition, and not nearly as many carbs as rice.

    Thanks for the bulgur lesson!

  10. Pathfinding

    Just a quick tip I didn’t see in anyone else’s comments -We make it in the rice cooker with broth. My husband likes it much better than rice as side to stirfrys.

  11. KC

    Hi Roni,
    I recently bought some bulgur and made Tabouleh salad which was very interesting. I actually bought the same kind as you from Bob’s Red Mill; however, my nutrition label has that 1/4 cup is 140 calories. Is yours a typo or is there a lower calorie bulgur with 150 cal/cup? Thanks!

  12. swizzlepop

    I use bulgar wheat in soups, stews when I make ground turkey anything (burgers, loaf, skillet, shepards pie, stuffed squash etc.). I see it as an added healthy filler and almost no one knows its in there :)

  13. Michele Dochat

    I am interested in trying bulgar to bulk up burgers….do you cook it first? Is there a link anyone might have for a good recipe? I’m all aobut fooling the family into eating healthier, so please, clue me in!!!


  14. roni

    Michele – I haven’t used it to bulk burgers but it makes perfect sense! I would suggest cooking it first, not sure if it would soak up enough moisture while in the burger. If anyone’s done it, please chime in!

  15. Lourdes Quintero

    We dominicans make kiepe (recipe adopte from lebanese immigrants). It is really yummy and yields A LOT! You can freeze a batch but just make to defrost completely. Although the original recipe isn’t the most figure friendly I have found that it works just fine if you make them into little burgers and use a bit of olive oil or spray oil.

    Soak on 1/2 lb of bulgar wheat in water (water line should be just above the bulgar). It will soak it all up and bulk up. Squeeze out any excess water.

    1 lb finely chopped red onion (any will due)
    1 pack fresh parsley (not italian) finely chopped
    1 3-6 mint leaves finely chopped
    salt to taste
    tobasco sauce to taste (just a mild kick)

    Combine all ingredients and make oval size meatballs. Deep fry in oil (completely covered) for 5 minutes. They turn dark brown and sometimes slightly crunch on the outside. Serve with pico de gallor or duck sauce (optional and just something we have started to do in the past few years).

  16. Dirtykitchensecrets

    I come from Lebanon and so I grew up on “Burghul” spelled the way it’s spoken. I’ve actually just made what can be considered Lebanon’s national dish, Kebbeh which is a meat pie that uses a good amount of Kibbeh (similiar to the recipe posted above by Lourdes.) I am posting the recipe in the next few days. Although burghul is used in Tabouleh, we barely put in a sprinkling of it. Tabbouleh is a parsley based salad. It is more like a couscous if burghul is used liberally. However, in the west i think it’s had to be adapted as many people find that much parsley in a salad too overpowering. I as for me I LOVE IT! You can also make fish pies with burghul as well as a veggie kebbeh using aubergines check out the recipe link to… I too love burghul and a there’s a whole world of experiments awaiting out there! Enjoy :)

  17. Brooke

    This is funny. I just went to the grocery store last night looking for this because one of my recipes called for it. I had never heard of it until then. I found it and plan to try it tomorrow night.

  18. Cayo

    I made a big batch of tabouli, with less oil and more lemon juice, I add a 1/4 cup scoop to my salad it livens things up and helps to reduce the portion I eat for my meal. If I am feeling really fancy I crumble a 1″ cube of feta cheese on top.

  19. jim

    My question is, can you freeze prepared bulgur to use later? Tonight I made twice the amount of bulgur I needed for a tabouli salad. I’d rather not lose it or toss it out. How long will it keep, if at all, in an airtight container in the freezer. (I’m anticipating days or weeks, not months.)

  20. roni

    Jim, I’ve never done it but I don’t see why you couldn’t. I’ve kept prepared bulgar in the fridge for a few days without any issues. Sorry I’m not more of a help. :(

  21. jenny


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