Most people aren’t familiar with bulgur, but it’s just cracked wheat. Think of it as a cheaper and puffier version of cous cous. It’s probably the easiest grain in the world to cook. All you do is measure one part bulgur into a bowl, add about two parts hot liquid, and cover. After 15-20 minutes, it’s done.
We’ve cooked bulgur before and I’ve always liked it. I’m trying to incorporate it into more of our meals. It’s really cheap if you buy it at one of the public dispensers at Whole Foods. I filled up an old marinara jar for a couple of bucks. I can probably make a half-dozen dishes with that amount. It doesn’t get much cheaper than that.
Bulgur is very bland by itself, so you need to add some wine and/or stock to give it some flavor. You just need to throw in some extra ingredients and you’ve got yourself a cheap and healthy meal. I recently used it to make a Mediterranean-style side dish to go with our Roasted Rack of Lamb With Oregano Pesto.
Here’s everything you need:
Bulgur-Stuffed Bell Peppers
- Bell Peppers
- 1 1/3 Cup Chicken or Vegetable Stock (Low Sodium)
- 1 Cup Water
- 1 Cup Bulgur
- 1 Bunch Green Onions (Green Parts Only)
- 1 Small Cucumber, Chopped
- 5 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
- 1/2 Red Onion, Diced
- 1/4 Cup Pistachios, Chopped
- Juice & Zest from 1 Lemon
- 1/4 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- Olive Oil For Seasoning
I like to roast the bell peppers and peel them so they’re easier to eat when they’re stuffed. To do that, you rub them down with a little olive oil and place them in a tray on the top rack of the oven. Broil them at 475° until the skin chars and bubbles, about 15 minutes.
When they’re done, immediately place them in a sealed plastic bag. They’ll steam in their own heat, making it easier to peel them later on. Don’t worry, they won’t melt the plastic.
This recipe makes enough bulgur to stuff about ten peppers. Peeling peppers is both time consuming and labor intensive, so I rarely roast more than a few unless I have some help in the kitchen. Rinse the peppers under some cool, running water and peel the skin everywhere it’s bubbled. You don’t have to get every piece. Finally, pull off the tops and gently scrape out the seeds.
As far as cooking the bulgur, there’s not much to discuss. Bring the stock and water almost to a boil (I just do it in the microwave) and then add it to the bowl of bulgur. Cover with some plastic wrap for 15-20 minutes.
Next, chop your nuts, herbs and vegetables. I gently sautéed the chopped garlic, onions, cucumber, pistachios and red pepper flakes in a little olive oil — just long enough to cook off the raw taste.
When the bulgur is finished absorbing liquid, it’ll taste like really al dente pasta. You need to drain and rinse it in a fine mesh sieve:
Next, add the fresh vegetable medley to the bulgur and season to taste with olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper.
Finally, carefully stuff the bulgur mixture into the bell peppers. Garnish with the zest of the lemon.