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Monday, November 17, 2014

Bulghur and Vermicelli Pilaf

Most Middle Eastern dishes are served with a side of white rice and vermicelli. As a kid it was always my favorite part of the meal and I used to beg for a plate of plain rice without whatever stew it was accompanying. As I've become more health conscious over the years I've started to replace white rice with bulghur and I really enjoy it. I've watched from the side lines during the quinoa craze as I continue to cook my bulghur because it is in fact higher in nutrients than brown rice, couscous and even quinoa. Bulghur is a cracked whole wheat that is most commonly known for it's use in tabbouleh. It comes in various sizes and I use the largest size when I cook it as a pilaf.

Serves about 3 (as a side to a main entree)

-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1/3 cup vermicelli noodles
-1 cup bulghur #4
-2 cups water (preferably boiling)
-salt to taste

To make
-Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Place bulghur in a strainer and wash it well. Toast vermicelli noodles for about 2 minutes on high heat, until they become golden brown (careful not to burn, it happens quickly!)
-Add washed and strained bulghur to the pot and saute until toasted, about 5 minutes. If you have a perculator I recommend heating water during this time so you don't have to wait for it to boil in the pot. 
-Add water to the toasted vermicelli and bulghur mixture and bring to a boil. Add salt to your liking and taste the water. It should be a bit saltier than you like it as the salt flavor will lessen when the bulghur absorbs the water. 
-Place the lid on your saucepan and reduce the heat to medium low (just above the low setting) and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes.  On my stove it is always cooked at 22 minutes. Once 20-25 minutes have passed, uncover the pot, stir the bulghur and cover again and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. The pilaf is ready when the water is absorbed and the bulghur looks fluffy and has a soft and chewy texture.
-Serve with your main entree and enjoy!

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  1. I made this as an accompaniment to molookhia. It was wonderful and I didn't even miss the rice!

  2. Same as the above comment, didn't miss the rice at all! I made it with the pea and carrot stew.

  3. This recipe has changed the way we eat carbs! I've tried to get on the brown rice bandwagon, but it just hasn't been for us...when I saw this post I knew I had to try it and it is amazing. I buy bulgur in bulk now and make this instead of rice for everything!