Bulgur and beet salad


Beets get a bad wrap. Not from me mind you, but from many out there (you know who you are). I love beets: golden, purple, raw, cooked, roasted, even sous-vided. When I looked around a few weeks ago for something to make for lunch I found a recipe from Melissa Clark of the New York Times. It was a beet and bulgur salad, collected from the restaurant Telepan, on the Upper West Side. As you can see in the photo, it's pretty much singularly cherry-colored, and it was delicious.

I've only used bulgur in the occasional tabbouleh salad and one other time mixed into a play on risotto. In this recipe you first roast the beets, then you cut them up into equal pieces, boil the results for a short period and then you use that purple-hued water to soak the bulgur. And that was basically all you did. The bulgur sat for an hour and sprang back to life. I made a mustard viniagrette which I blended with some of the beets and then the whole dish got mixed up. That week I put it on spinach, on jicama, and of course, just plain on my fork. It was tart and tangy and the color made me feel like a kid.

After spending a week with the bulgur salad, I decided I wanted to know more. Bulgur, one of the oldest cultivated grains, is a whole wheat grain that has been cracked and partially pre-cooked. It's high in fiber, low-fat, and low-calorie, which is totally perfect for Type 1 Diabetics like me.


One cup of the cooked bulgur wheat provides 151 calories, 33.8 g carbohydrates, with less than 1g of total sugars, .4 grams of fat, 8.2 grams of dietary fiber (which is over 30% of what you should get in a single day), and 5.6 grams of protein. In case you're wondering how it stacks up to quinoa, which is also a whole grain but technically a seed (and not pre-cooked), it is nutritionally denser than bulgur  with 222 calories per cup and 8g of protein per serving. Also, quinoa is gluten-free and bulgur is not.


I have some uncooked bulgur leftover from the beet recipe, and I'm heading to Whole Foods today to see what else I can do with the grain. Let me know if you make the recipe.