Guest Post: Bulgur (or Cracked Wheat) with Chickpeas

Please give a warm welcome to our very first guest blogger, our lovely sister-in-law Adele!

I LOVE CHICKPEAS. There. I said it.

I’m a sucker for anything with chickpeas in them – salads, hummus, curry – whatever it is, I’ll eat it. Chickpeas, or Garbanzo Beans, are super delicious, super filling, super healthy, and super cute! (Seriously – have you ever looked at one? It looks like a baby butt!) If you ever need a protein in your meal – a handful of chickpeas is generally the way I go. They are versatile like you wouldn’t believe and couldn’t be easier to store. (In the past, I’ve bought dried chickpeas, soaked them overnight, boiled them, yadda yadda yadda. The canned is way easier. Just make sure to rinse them off thoroughly first. Here’s what Mark Bittman has to say on the subject.)

Thanks to my mom, I’m a big believer in home-cooked meals, but it’s not always so easy when you’ve got a list a to-do list that’s 3 miles long. This meal – active time – 10 minutes. Total time – 40 minutes – start to finish. Period. Plus, the ingredients are things I almost always have on hand – onions, garlic, and (you guessed it!) chickpeas.

WAIT – what in the world is Bulgur – you say?

Bulgur, or burghol in Arabic, is made of whole wheat kernels that are steamed, dried, and then crushed. Not only does this process give it a delicious nutty flavor, it also means that these bad boys need much less time to cook than regular cracked wheat. In this recipe, you can use cracked wheat instead of bulgur, however you will need to cook it longer. (For a good article explaining the difference between the two, see this link).

If you are a fan of Middle Eastern cooking, chances are you’ve already tried bulgur. It is the main ingredient in taboule, kibbe (the shell is made of it), and bazerghan to name a few. Bulgur is relatively cheap, easily stored, and can be used in place of rice or quinoa. It can be purchased from any Middle Eastern market in a variety sizes – from whole and halved to finely ground. This recipe uses halved kernels.

Phew. That was the hard part. Now here’s the recipe, adapted from “Aromas of Aleppo,” by Poopa Dweck.

Bulgur (or Cracked Wheat) with Chickpeas

*recipe can be made either Dairy or Pareve (non-dairy)*

¬°muy importante! make sure to wash your bulgur before using! rinse it til the water runs clear!

You’ll need:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • lots of garlic (I used about 8 cloves), chopped
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups bulgur (or cracked wheat) – RINSED
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can chickpeas (15.5 oz)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp butter (or for a pareve version: 3 tbsp butter substitute, e.g. earth balance, OR 2 more tbsp of vegetable oil)
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat up the vegetable oil and saute the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and continue sauteing for another few minutes, or until everything is soft and smelling delicious. Add the bulgur (DID YOU RINSE IT FIRST??) and cook for a few minutes over low heat until the bulgur is well coated. Add the water, salt, and chickpeas (yay, chickpeas!). Bring the whole pot to a boil over high heat, then cover and simmer for about 25 minutes.
  2. At the 25 minute mark, take off your pot cover, toss in your butter/butter substitute/vegetable oil, and cover it back up. Let it finish simmering another 5 minutes, remove it from the heat, and serve!

Easy, huh? Easy and delicious.

PS – This is also delicious when eaten with Lebneh – aka plain yogurt with dried mint and cucumbers. Yummm.