This simple Vegan Mediterranean Bulgur Wheat Recipe is an easy make ahead grain salad with dates, pistachios, olives and red onion for tons of flavor & texture.
This simple bulgur wheat salad is adapted from a Mediterranean restaurant I used to live near in Astoria, NY. Although the ingredient mixture is somewhat eclectic, they come together to make a delicious vegan and Mediterranean salad in no time.
If you’ve never used bulgur wheat before, it’s time to pick up this pantry staple and get cooking. Read on to learn more about this easy to cook whole grain.
What is bulgur wheat and is it good for you?
Bulgur wheat is an ancient grain that has a bit of a bite and a nutty flavor. It is made from wheat, so it’s not gluten-free.
Specifically, bulgur is made from the cracked kernel of whole grain wheat. It’s parboiled and dried before packaging. Cracked wheat, on the other hand, is not parboiled before processing. That means that bulgur cooks a bit faster than cracked wheat, since it’s already partially cooked.
Bulgur has an impressive nutrient profile, with 8 grams of fiber (more than 30% of the daily value), 6 grams of protein and 150 calories in a cup cooked. It’s used in many Mediterranean dishes, like tabbouleh.
How to cook bulgur wheat
Most types of bulgur wheat cook in less than 15 minutes. I buy it from Trader Joe’s, and their variety takes 10 minutes to cook. It’s best to check the package instructions, since each variety is slightly different.
Bulgur cooks in a 2:1 water to grain ratio. That means 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of bulgur. Bring it to a boil, cover, and reduce the seat to simmer for about 10-12 minutes.
If there is an excess liquid, drain it through a strainer. Fluff with a fork and enjoy your bulgur wheat.
How to eat a Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet is known as one of the healthiest diets in the world. Although it’s not necessarily a “diet”, since there’s no cutting calories. Instead, it’s a style of eating that promotes focusing on whole foods.
The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes healthy foods, like colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, olive oil, fatty fish, beans and legumes, whole grains and fresh herbs and spices.
Eating a Mediterranean Diet has been linked to less incidences of heart disease, obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and even cancer. It’s also positively associated with increased cognition and brain health.
To learn more about the Mediterranean Diet, check out these articles I wrote for Prevention & SHAPE:
- How The Mediterranean Diet Promotes Weight Loss, Heart Health & Longevity
- What Is The Mediterranean Diet Anyway?
How to make a Mediterranean Bulgur Salad
If you’re looking for a delicious and simple bulgur recipe, you’ve come to the right place! This Mediterranean Bulgur Wheat Salad is vegan and only requires cooking one ingredient– the bulgur!
After you cook the bulgur, mix in the other ingredients–olives, dates, parsley, pistachios and red onion. Season with salt and pepper and then top with a simple mixture of olive oil and lemon juice.
This recipe mixes sweet and spicy flavors and a variety of textures. The saltiness of the olives balances with the tanginess of the onions and sweetness of the dates.
The parsley adds a vibrant and fresh flavor, while the pistachios offer a nice crunch. And the olive oil and lemon juice are the perfect basic dressing for this colorful salad.
Mediterranean Bulgur Salad
A simple vegan Mediterranean bulgur salad
- 1 cup bulgur dry
- 2 cup water
- 3 green olives chopped
- 3 kalamata olives chopped
- 1/3 cup pitted medjool dates chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley chopped
- 1/4 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
- 1/2 small red onion diced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
In a pot, combine the bulgur and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
Once the bulgur is cooked, place it in a large bowl with the two types of olives, dates, parsley, pistachios, red onion and salt. Mix well.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice. If you’re eating the salad right away, pour the dressing on top. If not, put the dressing in a small tupperware and dress when you’re ready to eat.