Last week I was at a trade fair and was eating cake like a crazy person. Basically, like I usually eat cake. Lots of it and without silverware.
But then again, what else can you do with a cake? Just look at it? Pet it? No, you see cake and you stuff your face with it.
It gets even better when that cake’s for free. Wait a second, I just have to take this moment. Free cake. Seems like I can check off one of my biggest dreams.
Believe it or not, too much of anything can make you sick (someone’s working with clichés today). And all that cake made me really sick.
So sick that I was craving something savory really bad. Something with protein and with lots of vegetables. And while we’re at it, let’s add some whole grains. Some Bulgur.
So I made this.
In about 20 minutes – prep and cook. Best decision ever. This dish is full of flavor, delicious and just makes you want to eat more. But it’s healthy, so that’s fine (kinda, if you can stop at second).
I like to use Bulgur instead of rice, because it tastes great, is much more nutritious and it cooks super fast. Actually you don’t even need to cook bulgur, you can just pour hot water on it and wait around – it will get ready.
The one problem some people might have with bulgur is that it’s not gluten-free. But no worries, if you live gluten-free you can simply substitute bulgur for millet or rice. These cook a little differently, and for this recipe you might want to pre-cook them. Otherwise you can cook them with the tomatoes first until almost ready (about 15 min) and then add the salmon. This should actually work as well. I would prefer millet in this case as it’s far more nutrient-dense than white rice and brown rice just cooks waaaay too long.
And if you don’t care about gluten, then you can make yourself some delicious high-fiber and high-iron meals with bulgur. That’s how I discovered bulgur actually – some (maaany) years ago when we were still students my sister and some of my friends had iron deficiency. I just looked into which foods (other than red meat) have lots of iron.
Turns out whole grains – millet, bulgur and oats were great sources. So everyone started eating those more often.
And since then – no iron deficiency (of course if you have iron deficiency consult with your doctor for a supplement, just changing diet might not be enough at first).
One thing to keep in mind if you want to get more iron from your food is to eat those grains with vitamin C-rich foods (fruits and vegetables) and not to have coffee after/before lunch/dinner.
And I also read that garlic and onions improve the absorption of iron and zinc from grains as well.
So this bulgur with salmon dish is pretty much perfect for your iron levels – garlic, check; vegetables, check.
Health and Beauty Benefits
This salmon with bulgur dinner is high in fiber, protein, Omega-3 fats and antioxidants.
Like for example lycopene, a very mighty antioxidant coming from our tomato friends. That lycopene just went all out, when I heated the tomatoes up a little bit. That’s what lycopene needs to perform and be absorbed better – just a little bit of heat to break those four cell walls and become more available. It’s even better absorbed, when combined with fats (thank you, fat salmon!). Then lycopene turns into a free radical destruction machine. It was shown to protect against cancer, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis and even sunburns.
Beside lycopene this meal offers a lot of other antioxidant and great for your beauty nutrients:
- collagen-boosting Vitamin C from green peppers (remember to put them in the end of the cooking!)
- over 33 anti-cancer molecules from garlic
- blood building iron and fiber from Bulgur
- anti-inflammatory omega-3-fatty acids from the fatty fish
- anti-cancer selenium from fish
- muscle building protein from fish
- tons of antioxidants from all herbs and vegetables working in symphony
Even if you’ve done wrong by eating an entire cake today, you can still do something good for your beauty and health by preparing this salmon with bulgur dinner.
If for some reason you don’t like the idea of salmon bulgurritto, but still want to eat risotto without having to cook for a million hours, check out this awesome roundup of healthy and quick risottos at Greatist.com (and yes, you’ll find my recipe there as well :))
- 4 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cups salmon, chopped
- 1 cup dry bulgur
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- handful cilantro, chopped
- handful dill, chopped
- handful green olives, chopped
- tablespoon capers
- salt to taste
- Bulgur: Wash bulgur until water runs clear. Boil water and pour over bulgur in a small pot, then cover with lid. The boiling water should just cover the bulgur, don't add too much of it. Bulgur will be ready in 10-15 minutes. Before adding the bulgur to the rest of the ingredients, make sure to remove any excess water (if there's any that hasn't been soaked up).
- Chop tomatoes small or puree them in your food processor. Heat them in a large pan with a lid -cook at medium-high for a few minutes until the tomatoes start to fall apart and start looking like a sauce. Then add the bulgur, chopped salmon and mix everything well together. If you need to - add some water.
- After 3-4 minutes cooking stir in the garlic and olive oil. Cover and stir from time to time for another 3-4 minutes.
- In the meantime chop cilantro, green pepper, dill and olives.
- Turn off heat and add the chopped cilantro, green peppers, dill, olives, capers. Stir in, add salt to taste (I needed just a pinch because of the salmon, olives and capers), cover and let sit for a few more minutes on the warm stove.
- Serve like this or with the yogurt-garlic sauce or for a dairy free version: my avocado-dill sauce