Bulgur for Breakfast
On a cold winter’s morning, we all love a hot breakfast. I love toast, eggs, baked beans and I used to absolutely love a bowl of cereal with hot milk.
Because I don’t really like milk much now, my go to breakfast is a nice bowl of hot porridge/oatmeal, made with hot water, with a combination of fruit, berries and some vanilla yogurt to make it extra creamy.
For various reasons, I have been experimenting with more than oats for breakfast. See my post on Superfood Breakfasts for wheat berries and buckwheat breakfast ideas, and I even tried eating rice for breakfast.
While looking for more breakfast inspiration, I found a couple of articles comparing Quinoa to Bulgur Wheat (which is made from pre-cooked wheatberries). These were comparing their nutritional value as well as versatility, taste etc like this one from Livestrong.
Summarising what I found
Calories and Dietary Fibre
Quinoa is almost double the calories of bulgur wheat when you compare them cup for cup or gram for gram. And even though quinoa has more of nearly every nutrient, Bulgur wheat has more dietary fibre.
How is this good then? Well firstly not only do you get to eat 2 cups (if you want to) of something instead of just 1 for the same amount of calories and goodness, but bulgur wheat will also fill you up for longer because of the fibre. Win, win!! 🙂
I knew quinoa was a complete protein meaning that it contains all nine of the amino acids that humans need to get from food, so truly a ‘superfood’. But even though quinoa contains a whopping 8 grams of protein per cup, bulgur also has good amounts of protein, with 4 grams per cup. And to ‘complete’ the bulgur, as such, you just need to eat it with a protein, like yogurt for example.
NB. plain Greek yogurt has double the protein, half the carbs and half the sodium of the regular variety.
I didn’t even think that grains had protein! You think grains, wheat etc, you think Carbs right?!
And on top of that, per calorie, Bulgur contains just as much protein as quinoa does.
The most important difference for me between the two though, is that quinoa is free from gluten, which is defined as ‘… a protein that causes allergic reactions or digestive problems in susceptible individuals.’
Bulgur does, like all wheat products, contain gluten. So, unfortunately not suitable for everyone.
Other interesting facts about Bulgur Wheat
- No chemicals or additives are used when processing bulgur wheat, it is made by crushing cooked wheat berries, so a natural whole grain food.
- Bulgur wheat is also a low glycemic food, meaning that it prevents large fluctuations in blood sugar levels. So great for people who are diabetic, prediabetic or who are trying to lose weight.
- Bulgur, Bourghul, Burghul, Bulgar! It all means the same thing 🙂
- And last but not least, Bulgur is not only half the calories of quinoa, but half the price too. Sometimes less than half!
Back to Bulgur for Breakfast
Being from a Mediterranean background, bulgur wheat made the odd appearance at meal times, usually for dinner, but never for breakfast. Lots of cultures apparently eat it for breakfast with milk etc, how did I never know that?!
So this is not a new ‘thing’, but all these new facts I learnt make bulgur wheat really interesting, so I thought I’d try it with my breakfast fruit & yogurt combo.
Firstly, you can buy bulgur wheat in two sizes. One is fine, a little larger than semolina, and the other is larger about the size of a grain of quinoa. I use the larger type to make pilaf, and I bought the fine one by accident and then used it to make tabbouleh, which was awesome!
I used the medium one to make the ‘bulgur wheat breakfast bowl’ this time, but I think the fine grind would be lovely too, more of a porridge/oatmeal consistency.
There are several ways to prepare bulgur wheat – from soaking it in water or broth, to cooking it like rice.
To make sure that it is cooked all the way through, and avoid a bloated tummy, I tend to do both!
I soak it for as long as I can – overnight or even for just half an hour – before I drain it and then cook it like rice. Always add a pinch of salt to the cooking water, even if you are making a ‘sweet’ version like I did.
2 glasses of water to one glass of Bulgar, you can use a glass, mugs even teacups etc just like in my step by step rice – as long as you use the same vessel for measuring both the Bulgar and the water.
When it was ready I let it cool a little, and then transferred it to a plastic container, ready to store in the fridge. This would be breakfast (or a quick snack) for a few days!
I love using grated apple (skin and all) with my porridge, so I tried it with the Bulgar, added a dollop of 0% fat vanilla yogurt and some sliced banana, in keeping with my ‘warm’ theme. No frozen berries today 😀 then added a generous sprinkle of cinnamon and of ground ginger, which is lovely with grated apple.
It was lovely! Filling, tasty and the grains were so soft. It’s a great way to get so much goodness in a bowl for so little effort.
I had some warmed up in the microwave the next day. With some plain greek yogurt & chunks of cucumber for a quick snack when I wanted something savoury mid afternoon.
I loved having something ready in the fridge for both the mornings and for a healthy snack.
And don’t forget that bulgur wheat is completely free on Slimming World, unlike cereals, bread and oatmeal, so fill up guilt free combining it with either fruit or veggies and sweet or plain yogurt for breakfast, lunch or dinner 😀
I hope you try and enjoy Bulgur for breakfast, and if you have a delicious ways to eat it, you know I’m always ready to try new things – so please let me know 🙂
All my meal ideas include at least one third of salad/vegetables and/or fruit with it, (this is the way we at Slimming World eat less without going hungry).
N.B. Any item in bold is a Healthy Extra* on the Slimming World plan, so these must be weighed or measured and not exceeded, if you want to maximise your weight loss. Eating at least one third of vegetables (superfree food) at each and every meal is also key to this plan.
Please note that I am in no way affiliated to Slimming World, nor am I a Slimming World consultant, and still believe that the best way to follow this plan is to join either online or