Getting in Shape

** Raynes ** show me some bulgur love please

Hey Raynes, I remember that a while back you got really into bulgur.  I moved recently and am having problems getting enough protein, so I've been trying to eat quinoa more often.  Sadly, I didn't bring back enough from Dubai (turns out FH likes it now, so I only bought enough for me and now it's gone).

I've heard that all whole grains have some protein.  Even if they don't, I know they are healthier than other types of carbs.  But they don't sell brown rice or quinoa here (the only other whole grains I'm used to eating), so all I'm left with is bulgur.

I've tried googling, but most pages don't load here :-(  Can you give me a quick rundown on the benefits of bulgur when compared with other whole grains in terms of protein and fiber?  I know you can use it as a rice substitute - anything else you've found it especially good for?

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Re: ** Raynes ** show me some bulgur love please

  • raynesraynes member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    Sure!  I've actually only made it a few times, but it's been really delicious each time.  I'll try and find the recipe I made, because it was wicked good. 

    Here's a C&P from (of all places) Wikipedia on the nutritional info: (sorry about the formatting weirdness)

    Compared to unenriched white rice, bulgur has more fiber and protein, a lower glycemic index, and higher levels of most vitamins and minerals.[2]

    1 cup of dry bulgur contains approximately:[3]

    • Energy: 2003 kJ (479 kcal)
    • Dietary fiber: 25.6 g
    • Protein: 17.21 g
    • Carbohydrate: 69 g whereof 0.8 g sugars
    • Fat: 1.86 g whereof 0.2 g saturated fat
    • Potassium: 574 mg
    • Iron: 3.44 mg

    Comparatively, quinoa has the following:
    Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
    Energy 1,539 kJ (368 kcal)
    Carbohydrates 64 g
    - Starch 52 g
    - Dietary fibre 7 g
    Fat 6 g
    - polyunsaturated 3.3 g
    Protein 14 g

    And, just to see, brown rice:
    Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
    Energy 1,548 kJ (370 kcal)
    Carbohydrates 77.24 g
    - Sugars 0.85 g
    - Dietary fiber 3.5 g
    Fat 2.92 g
    Protein 7.94 g
    Water 10.37 g

    Sooo, bulgur is about 3.6 g of protein /100 cals, quinoa is 3.8 g protein/100 cals, and brown rice is only 2.1 g protein/100 cals.

    Bulgur also cooks up fairly quickly, only about 15 minutes, which makes it loads easier than rice.

    Here's the recipe I made, it's really delicious.

    Bulgur Wheat w/ Dried Cranberries

    Prep Time: 10 Min    Cook Time: 15 Min   Ready In:  25 Min

    • 1 cup water
    • 1/2 cup dry bulgur wheat
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
    • 1 teaspoon butter
    • 1/4 cup dried cranberries


    1. Bring water to a boil in a pot, and mix in bulgur, bouillon granules, and butter. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes.
    2. Fluff cooked bulgur with a fork, and gently mix in the dried cranberries.

    I think I subbed straight up chicken broth for water and boullion.

    Annnnnnd, in case you wanted some more info, here's the C&P from How Stuff Works.  Also?  I'd mostly "forgotten" about this magically food, but I definitely think I'm going to work it back into rotation next week!  So, thanks!  If you want any more info, just let me know!

    This Middle Eastern staple sounds more exotic than it is; bulgur is what's left after wheat kernels have been steamed, dried, and crushed. This cereal grain has been a food staple for years because it offers an inexpensive source of low-fat protein, making it a wonderfully nutritious addition to your low-calorie meal plan.

    High in fiber and protein, and low in fat and calories, bulgur is another food that offers bulk and nutrients to fill you up without adding pounds. One thing to keep in mind, a cup of bulgur has fewer calories, less fat, and more than twice the fiber of brown rice.


    Nutritional Values
    Bulgur, Cooked
    Serving Size: 1/2 cup
    Calories: 76
    Fat: <1 g
    Saturated Fat: 0 g
    Cholesterol: 0 mg
    Carbohydrate: 17 g
    Protein: 3 g
    Dietary Fiber: 4 g
    Sodium: 5 mg
    Iron: 1 mg
    Magnesium: 29 mg
    Manganese: <1 mg
    Health Benefits

    Bulgur doesn't lose much from its minimal processing; it remains high in protein and minerals. That means it's an ideal foundation for meals, allowing you to skip higher-fat protein sources, like most meats.

    Bulgur is also a standout in terms of its fiber content, just like whole wheat, and can help keep your digestive tract healthy as a result. The insoluble fiber it contains absorbs water, promoting faster elimination of waste, which prevents the formation of an environment that promotes the development of carcinogens.

    Selection and Storage

    You may need to visit a health-food store to find bulgur. It's available in three grinds -- coarse, medium, and fine. Coarse bulgur is used to make pilaf or stuffing. Medium-grind bulgur is used in cereals. The finest grind of bulgur is suited to the popular cold Middle Eastern salad called tabbouleh. Store bulgur in a screw-top glass jar in the refrigerator; it will keep for months.

    Preparation and Serving Tips

    Because bulgur is already partially cooked, little time is needed for preparation: Combine a half cup of bulgur with one cup of liquid and simmer for 15 minutes. Let stand for another ten minutes. Fluff with a fork. It triples in volume. For cold salads, soak bulgur before using: Pour boiling water over bulgur, in a three-to-one ratio. Soak for 30 to 40 minutes. Drain away excess water. If you like your bulgur chewier, let it sit longer to absorb more water. Bulgur is used like rice in Mediterranean countries. In fact, you can use bulgur in place of rice in most recipes. Bulgur lends its nutty flavor to whatever it is combined with, allowing you to use it as a main ingredient, thus cutting back on higher-calorie foods.

    Another health bonus, bulgur has more fiber than oats, buckwheat, or corn. Plus, its quick cooking time and mild flavor make it ideal for those new to whole grain cooking. Its ability to fill you up with few calories is great for weight-loss dieters.

    We'll just not tell H about this little fact, m'kay?
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  • Oh goodness...that recipe looks fantastic and I may have to go home and try it tonight :)
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  • melhigsmelhigs member
    First Comment

    Bulgur is great, but I'm sure you can get quinoa where you live. Do you live in New York? (It says so under your name but not sure if that means you live there). Have you looked for health food stores around you or any kind of natural food co-ops? For that matter Wal Mart has been very good at stocking organic food recently so they might have quinoa stocked-- call and see. It isn't the kind of thing you find at a standard grocery store, but you also shouldn't have to roam too far to find it. Good luck!

  • Hey melhigs, I was living in New York but then moved to Dubai (where I can get quinoa), but then moved again to Turkmenistan, where I can't.  They don't import that much here, especially not from the Americas.  It's a pain trying to find healthy food that I know, so I'm just trying to find good substitutes.

    Thanks Raynes!
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