Everything You Need To Know About Bulgur

When most people think Middle Eastern cuisine, it's usually the pitas, falafel, and smooth dips that come to mind (via CNN), rather than what we think is one of the region's most underappreciated ingredients: bulgur. Bulgur is a whole grain wheat with quite the history, according to The Spruce Eats, dating back 4,000 years or more — and it's clearly been kept around for a reason. Between its nutty taste and the ease it takes to make and use it, bulgur is the perfect base for a simple, but fun meal if you want to switch it up from your usual couscous, rice, or quinoa. One of the biggest advantages of using bulgur is that it's usually packaged parboiled, meaning you can have a fresh meal ready in less than 15 minutes.

On top of flavor and ease, this whole grain boasts a number of health benefits. With less than half a gram of fat per cup, it's a perfect source of vegan protein and fatty acids (omega 3 and 6). Healthline even suggests bulgur can do everything from promoting a healthy heart and weight loss to supporting blood sugar control and digestion.

So what do you do with it?

Adding a bulgur dish to your repertoire is no herculean labor: The Spruce Eats says for every cup of grain, add two cups of liquid and bring it to a boil. As soon as the pot is boiling, cover it and bring it back down to a simmer, letting it cook for about 12 minutes before draining.

While you can add pretty much anything to it, we'd argue the most famous bulgar-based dish is tabbouleh salad. Once your bulgur is ready, mix it in with some chopped tomato, cucumber, and green onion; oil; parsley and mint; salt; and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to your liking (via The Mediterranean Dish). The Spruce Eats adds that on top of making bulgur the base for pilaf-style dishes, its consistency is perfect for making patties and croquettes that would make your mouth drool.

And speaking of making your mouth drool, The Spruce Eats claims bulgur gives off a scent like fresh popcorn when cooking, so if you intend on cheffing some up, you might want to pick out a movie in advance.