A delicious bulgur take on a classic eggplant rice pilaf from Nancy Lopez-McHugh.
By Nancy Lopez-McHugh
Bulgur wheat is a cereal food most commonly eaten in the Middle Eastern cuisine. ( Also known as bulghur, burghul or bulgar.) It is also found in Greece, Turkey as well as many other countries around the world. Bulgur are precooked wheat berries, it is what is left after wheat kernels have been steamed, dried and crushed.¹ In the Middle East Bulgur has been a staple due to the inexpensive price as well as for the health benefits.
Bulgur is a great food to add to your diet. It is high in fiber and nutrients, and a great source of low-fat protein. So a perfect food to add to your diet when trying to eat healthier or attempting to loose weight. The high fiber helps your digestive system keep healthy but we also know that high fiber foods make you feel fuller faster. The protein will help keep you fuller longer so preventing in between meal snacking. Bulgur is also a low Glycemic index food which helps keep your blood sugar down, another great benefit. Oh and did I mention that Bulgur is low in fat and calories?
Pilaf is a term that describes rice that is cooked in a seasoned broth.( It is also know as pilaf, pilaf, pilaf and/or pilaw.) Additionally meats or vegetables can be added to the pilaf. Recipes and variations of pilaf are as vast as the countries in which the dish is commonly found. This recipe is a pilaf in that the rice substitute, Bulgur was cooked in a seasoned broth. However, I cooked the vegetables separately to make sure the eggplant was to the soft consistency my husband likes. But feel free to experiment and cook all ingredients together if you like.
Bulgur is a great grain to substitute for rice. In fact my personal opinion is that Bulgur tastes and works better than rice in many recipes. This recipe today I’ve made both with white rice and Bulgur. Both hubby and I agree that Bulgur tastes better. You can buy Bulgur at Middle Easter, Turkish, Greek, organic or health food stores. Though Bulgur has become quite popular so you may want to check your local grocery store before the others. Make sure you read the package for the different grain grades. I’ve used a coarse grade Bulgur, if you use an other cooking time will vary.
- !Bulgur Ingredients
- 1 cup or 180g coarse Bulgur
- ¼ tsp granulated garlic
- salt to taste
- 2 cups or 500 ml low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- !Vegetable Ingredients
- 1 medium eggplant, finely diced
- 1 green onion, finely chopped
- 1 red chile, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced or 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil, plus if needed
- ½ tsp. whole cumin seed
- dash of sweet paprika for color
- salt to taste
- ground black pepper, ¼ tsp.
- !Cook the Bulgur
- Heat the oil in a saucepan, one warm add the bulgur and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Next pour the broth and salt into the saucepan. Stir and simmer for about 15 minute or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Turn the heat off, cover the pan and allow to sit for 20 minutes.
- !Cook the vegetables
- While the bulgur is simmering and sitting off to the side cook the vegetables. Heat the oil then add the onion and chile and saute for 3 minutes. Next add the cumin seed and garlic and cook for another minute. Next add the eggplant, salt, pepper and mix all the vegetables well. Add the dash of paprika and again mix ingredient. Cover and allow to cook until eggplant is soft about 15-20 minutes.
- Once the vegetables are soft combine them with the cooked bulgur. Stir to make sure the vegetables are well distributed throughout the bulgur. Serve warm as a side dish for 2 or as a vegan meal for 1.
¹ Source Discovery Fit & Health
Nancy Lopez-McHugh is a food blogger, photographer and published author. Most recently she has published "Yummy Pics: A Food Blogger's Guide To Better Photos".