If you’ve never tried bulgur, I guarantee you that the following Bulgur With Butternut Squash and Chard recipe will be the perfect introduction. Easy, quick, healthy, and scrumptious, this dish will help you discover how much you can love bulgur outside of tabouli.
Bulgur is a Middle Eastern staple grain derived from durum wheat. In the days before mechanization, bulgur was made collectively: Men harvested the wheat, and women separated the wheat from the chaff. The wheat was boiled for hours in huge pots until it split, and then it was dried in the sun, spread out on large sheets laid on rooftops or in fields. When dry, the grain went to a stone mill. While the process is a bit different these days, the end product remains the same: an ancient grain, fit for a busy modern-day cook and with a subtle, nutty flavor; light texture; and four different grinds from which to choose. Bulgur also boasts more nutrients and fiber than other grains, and who doesn’t love a good, nutrient-rich bang for their caloric buck?
Bulgur acted as the perfect base for creamy butternut squash and flavorful chard, which I served warm from the oven (you can eat it at room temperature as well) with toasted pita and spring onion pesto. For the pesto recipe, click here .
A rainbow of ingredients fit for spring: butternut squash, chard, diced onion, mint and parsley, and, of course, bulgur.
One-pot meal! Layers of golden brown cumin onions, steamed butternut squash and kale, tender bulgur, and fresh herbs.
The finished product! Bulgur with butternut squash and chard, warm pita, and spring onion pesto.
Bulgur With Butternut Squash and Chard
1/2 cup bulgur (usually found in the bulk foods section)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 lb. squash (I used butternut)
1 small onion, finely minced
1 bunch chard
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin OR 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Place the bulgur in a bowl, mix with 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and cover with hot water. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes until the bulgur is al dente. It will soak up more liquid from the rest of the ingredients and become mushier over time, so especially if you don’t plan on eating the dish immediately, drain the bulgur before it’s completely tender.
2. Meanwhile, steam the squash for 15 to 20 minutes until thoroughly tender. Remove from the heat, and mash with a fork.
3. Cook the onion in the oil in a skillet over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until soft and golden. Stir often.
4. Steam the chard for 5 to 10 minutes, until mostly done but still with a slight crunch to it.
5. Add the cumin and a pinch of salt to the onion and stir together for about 30 seconds. Stir into the bulgur. Add the puréed squash and chard and stir together.
6. Mix in the parsley, the mint, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve as is, or heat in the oven just before serving.
Kelsey is a Boston native and current Seattle transplant. When not chasing the sun around the state of Washington she can be found doing crosswords on her commute, rock climbing, biking, organizing as many potlucks as possible, and skiing (mostly spent defending the mighty mountains of the east coast). She loves cooking, sailing and traveling and will take you up on an offer to drink coffee, sit by a fire, and play scrabble any day.