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How to cook Bulgur

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Yesterday, after seeing my meal of the day, a reader asked how to make bulgur pilaf.  So, here’s more than you ever wanted to know about bulgur: Just like hulled barley, bulgur is another one of those perfect grains.  High in fiber and protein, and low in fat and calories, it has more than twice the fiber of even brown rice.

But most importantly, bulgur tastes super-yummy.Tossed with dried fruit and non-dairy milk (or apple juice) for a nutritious breakfast, mixed with spices for a filling side dish, eaten as Middle Eastern tabouli, or used as a stand-in for rice in a fried rice dish (such as in my Bug-a-Boo Bulgur recipe),…no matter what your taste buds crave, you can’t go wrong with this versatile grain.

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Above: tomatoes, sauteed chard, smoked tofu, and “Bug-a-Boo” Bulgur .

But many people shy away from bulgur because they don’t know how to cook the grain.  I used to think that making bulgur was difficult, as I thought it involved pre-soaking the grains and then boiling for a long time, constantly watching to ensure that the contents of the pot didn’t bubble over. Well guess what: You do not need to mess with any of these steps to get perfectly-cooked bulgur!

How to: Perfect Bulgur Pilaf:

  1. Measure 1 serving of bulgur (40ish grams)  into a big pyrex-type dish. (I like light bulgur, as opposed to dark.)
  2. Add some salt. (I use 1/4 tsp)
  3. Add about a cup of water
  4. Cook in the microwave for 4 minutes, then leave to sit in the microwave for 15 more minutes.
  5. Either drain off any excess water or don’t drain, but cook for another 2 minutes and let sit for another hour, then put in the fridge (I use the second choice).
  6. Now add whatever you want!  Spices, veggies, raisins… go crazy! I like to add 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp pre-melted sbl, and a little more salt.

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Same meal as yesterday’s, just on a different plate. Hope you enjoyed the bulgur tutorial.

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. Jessica says:

    Yum, bulgur is good! I like adding tomatoes, lemon juice and italian spices to mine. I’ve never had it for breakfast though…

  2. Justine says:

    Oh ym gosh- Bulgur wheat and I are besties! I prefer to toast mine a little in a dry pan (the dark kind of bulgur), add either water or vegetable stock, a cinnamon stick, and a bayleaf and let it barely tremble for about 15-20 minutes on the stove. When I make it, I usually make a few servings that way it’s already cooked for me in the refrigerator for the week.

    I like to do sweet and savory things with it-its just a wonderful grain, in my opinion. I’m glad you mentioned it!

    :)

  3. jcd says:

    Oh yes, bulgur is amazing! We generally enjoy ours under curry or in a fruit-and-veggie type pilaf. Raisins, carrot, red papper, and apples with cinnamon and ginger is my favourite. Sometimes I even bring dry bulgur to work, add boiling water, let it set, add some mix-ins, and eat it for lunch. Instant GOOD food. As you said, you can do anything with bulgur. (I haven’t tried the pudding version yet… must get on that…)

  4. diane says:

    I’m kind of confused on the coupon-I added stuff to my card and added the coupon, but I don’t see anything about picking out 3 free samples…am I doing something wrong? haha, thanks!<3

  5. Claudia says:

    Hahah, I should get to trying some bulgur then. I’ve never had it. I’m stuck with rice because it’s easiest to find and get. I’d love to try it though, same with quinoa.

  6. lisa says:

    Your meals look delicious! I haven’t tried bulgar but definitely should. I need to have some kale soon – haven’t had it for a while.

  7. Look at all that color in your second picture! Wow! It looks beautiful!

  8. McKella says:

    I like to stir-fry bulgur with garlic, chopped almonds, tofu, and veggies, then I add a little soy sauce or Liquid Aminos. I love bulgur because it cooks really fast, so it’s my favorite “convenience” grain. This stir-fry takes about twenty minutes, start to finish.

  9. Evan Thomas says:

    I was thinking of using the coupon, but I’m totally confused on how the 3 free samples works

  10. I recently purchased some bulgar, and I had no idea what to do with it! Totally bookmarking this post.

  11. *Andrea* says:

    i LOVE it when you post your dinners/meals. i am trying to find more fun ways to eat lots of veggies and you always help me out on this front 😉 that coupon promotion is confusing.

  12. caronae says:

    I’m a bit afraid of most grains! The only ones I really like are wheat, oats, and quinoa, so I’m afraid to try any of the others :( Unless, of course, they are embedded in a kashi product :)

  13. Leena says:

    that bulgar sounds sooo good! i’ve never tried bulgar before, but it’s something i’ve been meaning to do… i’ll definitely have to try your recipes, the addition of raisins sounds really good too :)

  14. liz says:

    i like bulgur as breakfast, with raisins and nuts and apples in it. and honey, though i have switched over to agave nectar now. i haven’t made breakfast bulgur in forever, your post has me headed to the grocery store!

  15. Jessie says:

    Where do you get smoked tofu??

    I love bulgur mixed with cheese and tomatoes and anchovies – pretty much anything savory.

  16. Danielle says:

    I’ve tried pretty much every grain out there EXCEPT for bulgur. If you say it’s delicious, then I must try some :)

    Ok, so I tried Artisana coconut butter once a while ago and I didn’t like it?! Maybe I got a bad jar or something…but it was really hard, like I had to scrape it out with a knife. And it didn’t melt, it was sort of like chocolate flakes (which is still delish but not worth all the $!!)

  17. Melissa says:

    Oh Katie, this sounds so yummy! Thanks for the great tut! I´ve never had it, but will sure try it now – I think I will love it as a blended breakfast concoction ; )

  18. Adam says:

    Unfortunately that website charges $40 to ship to Canada… Or else i would totally take advantage of that offer! :) I need to get my butt to Whole Foods this week and try this bulgur!

  19. bulgar looks so good- I haven’t made it- obviously a “to do”- any good recipe suggestions?

  20. Tiffany says:

    they might run out of artisana now! oh no! must take advantage of this NOW! 😛

    i’ve never tried bulgar before, but it’s on my list of foods to try now. thanks for the motivation!

  21. Stefanie says:

    I haven’t tried bulgur but would like to. It would be a nice change from my normal oats for breakfast. Thanks for the cooking instructions. :-)

  22. Katie says:

    Def. checking out that free samples offer! 😉 Thanks for the info on bulgur. I have never had it, but am more than willing to try it next time I go to the grocery!

  23. Betherann says:

    An easier way to make bulgur?!?!? Yaaaay!! I, too, was of the crowd who believed that bulgur-making was a time-consuming stovetop ordeal — until now!! Bulgur for dinner? Maybe…

    I really like a savory bulgur, with cinnamon (okay, that’s not savory) and curry or cumin, maybe with some raisins or dates. Something Indian. Yum.

  24. Katie says:

    I can’t wait to try it – I had no idea it was so easy! Gracias. 😉

  25. Zeus' Mom says:

    You an also just throw bulgur in your rice cooker and make it just like you would rice. I always put a little cinnamon and allspice in it … or tomatoes and onions for a stickier version.

  26. i LOVE bulgur, it’s my fave grain! love the cutesy name of your pilaf, you are so funny. nice catch with the free coconut butter, i’m going over there to check it out now!

  27. I always forget about bulgur! But it rhymes with vulgar, so I see a recipe title in the works…now I may have to work on that.

  28. Kate says:

    i think living st is new fav company! what a cool little store and generous give away. thanks katie for sharing the love with us!

  29. Thanks for the heads-up re: your coupon code! I think I’m the only one left who hasn’t tried coconut butter. :( Considering that I’m like, coconut’s biggest fan (for every reason!), I think that needs to change!

  30. BroccoliHut says:

    I love bulghur! It’s especially tasty in pumpkin chili:)
    YEAH FREE COCONUT BUTTER!

  31. eaternotarunner says:

    I’ve been wanting to try Bulgar! I’ve just got to bite the bullet 😉

  32. Michal says:

    Hmm bulgar… the only time ive tried it would be in tabouli (that is bulgar right?!) i shall try your breakfast idea it sounds totally different and yummy.

  33. EE says:

    Well, aren’t you sweet passing on the info! Hope you had a most excellent day.

  34. Thanks for sharing the information about free Artisana coconut butter, we love that stuff!!!! Love the bulgur dish, yum!

  35. Thanks for the great deal info. I’m looking forward to trying your tasty recipes:)

  36. I loved the info on bulgur! I already added it to my grocery list for the next time I go shopping.

    Of course that was after I recovered from the excitement over the coconut butter! :)

  37. Emma says:

    Hi Katie, I’m planning on taking advantage of the free chocolate offer but does what you’re saying about the free samples offer mean we can choose any three samples of whatever we like?

  38. Gaby says:

    I’m also on their website and it took off the 10% but not the samples. How does it work? I want to try coconut butter!

  39. Kristie says:

    I loved it in your pilaf recipe, and when I realized it was in tabbouleh… well, I love tabbouleh. A lot. As in, I could eat it every day and probably never get sick of it :)

  40. catms916 says:

    Ooh I’m definitely taking advantage of this – thanks for the tip!!

  41. Heather says:

    I’ve never tried bulgar before but have really wanted to!

  42. Bekah says:

    hehe I love you Katie. I really do. Totally going to use that free sample thing! Most of the stuff is out of stock.. but I found walnut butter, which I’ve never tried before! :)

    And my mother sent me Artisana coconut butter in my birthday package to my dorm. Hollllaaaaa. Thought of you!

  43. Vanilla says:

    How much is one serving in grams???? *dumb question* I don’t want to take risk with stuff that expand while cooking :p

    1. 40 grams. I changed my post just for you ;).

  44. Brittany says:

    How do you seasoned your greens? I LOVE collard greens and spinach cooked, but i never know how to season them for myself at home. Any secrets?

    1. Oh all sorts of ways! Sauteed, steamed, with salad dressing (even cooked greens), with bbq sauce, with spices like garlic or ginger… :)
      (I also have a collard recipe and a kale recipe in my non-dessert section.)

  45. even simpler says:

    one part bulugur, two parts water, a bit of salt , bring to a boil, turn off heat, cover and wait about ten or fifteen minutes.

  46. Uhm…you guys do know that you can make your own bulgur at home, right? All it is, is sprouted, dried, cracked wheat. (“Cracked” wheat is wheat that has been cracked before cooking, then cooked. Bulgur is cracked after it’s sprouted and dried).
    Here’s a how-to that I found:
    http://butterflywings.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Make-Bulgur-Wheat-An-Illustrated-Guide#
    It’s a lot cheaper to make at home!

  47. iris says:

    Hi!
    Could you please tell me how long should I cook bulgur on a stove? I don’t own a microwave.