Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Battle of the bulg(ar).

Today, I went to a strength training class. I was ready to pump some major iron.

So ready that I had protein pancake batter ready for me in the fridge when I returned from the class.

I don't know about you, but I think one of the reasons I like going to strength training classes is that I can look at myself in the mirror while lifting weights and admire my bulging muscles.

No? Just me? Okay. That's cool, too.

On second thought, I guess you can also freely stare at yourself while lifting weights in the weights section at the gym. But in my case, I'd be looking less at myself and more at the super big muscular guys next to me huffing and puffing with their 200 pound dumbbells. And I'd look a lot less cool.

Anyway. I went to this strength training class. Only to find that no weights were involved. In fact, it involved just a stability ball, a medicine ball, and some resistance bands.

Just. Pffft. Little did I know how ridiculously hard that class was going to be. In fact, I don't think stability balls and I get along very well. But this will change soon (hopefully).

On a completely different note, have you ever tried bulgar? It's a type of natural whole grain which has lots of beneficial properties. I picked some up a few weeks ago at Sprouts in the bulk bin and finally got around to cooking it. I had no idea what it would taste like, so I treated it sort of like pasta.

Bulgar Wheat with Broccoli Sauce


  • 1 cup uncooked bulgar
  • 2 cups frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped swiss chard
  • 5 teaspoons non-dairy milk (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped marinated artichokes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano (or Italian seasoning)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup + 2 cups water (or sub vegetable broth for the 1/2 cup water)
  • salt & pepper to taste

This is what bulgar looks like:

To cook it, combine 1 cup bulgar and 2 cups water in a pot on the stove over high heat until the water boils. Then reduce the heat to medium-low until the water gets completely absorbed. The entire process takes less than 10 minutes--amazing!! It cooks really quickly.

For the sauce:

Heat the oil over medium in a large pot and add the garlic and broccoli. After the broccoli has thawed, add the swiss chard and salt. 

After the chard has wilted slightly, add the water (or broth), cilantro, and non-dairy milk (I used homemade hemp milk--fancy! I know). Turn the heat to low. Then, either empty the contents into a blender and blend until mostly smooth, or use an immersion blender.

I used an immersion blender, but I found that the contents preferred to splatter all over the place. So I'd suggest perhaps adding a bit more water or vegetable broth to allow for easier blending with the immersion blender. Either way, broccoli is one of those stubborn vegetables that does not like to be blended.

Once the sauce is somewhat smooth (it's nice to still have some texture to it), add the marinated artichokes, oregano, parsley, pepper, and more salt if necessary.

Combine the sauce with the bulgar and serve with a side salad.

Yes, those are onions in the salad. I didn't have a choice, the only salad-friendly vegetables in the fridge were romaine, tomatoes, and onions. 

I forgot that one of the reasons why I despise onions is because they make you cry when they are cut. What the heck kind of vegetable does that!? It's almost like it doesn't want to be eaten. Fine. I won't eat you then.

I'll eat this delicious bulgar and broccoli sauce instead!!

With a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes, of course!

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