After the spinach, red lentil and bulgur soup and the red lentil, bulgur and butternut squash dinner, I now decided to get rid of those poor and very inexpensive lentils and let bulgur and spinach be the shining stars of a dish for once. Finally, you guys get to shine brighter than diamonds.
And if you’re already sick of recipes like this one, don’t be because it’s the last one I have up my sleeve. Next week we’ll be eating something different. But for now let’s concentrate on the simplicity and deliciousness of this often overlooked dish.
When I was a child, nobody had ever heard of bulgur. The only similar thing we had back then was rice. White rice. Not the brown one, that’s more nutritious, but cooks about 4 years. No. White. With about 3 nutrients in it.
There were many dishes with rice I did not like: rice with spinach (bleeeh), rice with tomatoes (blaaah), rice with chicken (yum, this one I actually loved).
It’s funny how now I’m starting to drool when I even think of all these dishes.
But now that I’m older, aside from having different taste buds I apparently try to collect nutrients as if they were actual diamonds. So to me, every nutrient matters. Save the nutrient.
The other thing I want to save is time. So what do I need to do to fulfill these two dear dreams of mine?
The answer: Eat nutrient-dense foods that don’t take long to cook.
Well white rice is not nutrient dense, brown rice cooks too long…I think I’m ready for some bulgur.
Now after all these recipes, you’d think I am trying to sell you bulgur (or lentils). But I am not. I just love these foods. They’re cheap, very nutrient-dense, I can buy them in bulk and they cook very quickly.
As for spinach I simply adore it. I have been craving spinach like crazy in the last few months – might be because of the winter, but might also be that I discovered I actually love it cooked (I used to passionately hate it).
Like in the previous recipes, I used it frozen. I have also tried this recipe with chopped and frozen kale – works as well, could not tell a big difference here. Both gooood.
How to eat this
This recipe is great as a nutritious side dish to up your iron intake, but can also be eaten on its very own. What you see in the picture above is the bulgur and spinach recipe with some yogurt+flax seeds+garlic. Make it completely vegan by adding some salad, hummus or other dip and you’re ready.
I added some walnuts here just to add more nutrition to this dinner, but since I didn’t taste much difference – this addition is completely optional.
What I also love about this recipe is that if you take the 20 min to make it for dinner, then your lunch the next day is also guaranteed – just pack it and reheat it (I do this in a pan and sometimes in the microwave). It’s very time-saving.
This recipe would be good for sure up to 3 days. I am usually very cautious when it comes to storing my food longer than this. It might be ok, but I cannot guarantee. Yet, I am pretty sure this recipe will also freeze well.
Health and Beauty Benefits
This recipe is very high in vitamin A, K and also in fiber. It also provides a good amount of magnesium, iron, potassium and folate. For more information on this, please see the nutrition information I included in the recipe below.
To make the most out of that iron, have some vitamin C rich food with this. For example lemon water (that’s water mixed with juice of one lemon) or a salad with fresh vegetables – that would do the trick.
This recipe is completely vegan, but (unfortunately) not gluten-free. Bulgur contains gluten, so if you’re on a gluten-free diet stick with white rice here. Cooking times shouldn’t vary that much, but you might need to add a little more water.
This healthy high-iron spinach and bulgur recipe can be eaten as a side or as a lunch/dinner all on its own.
- 1.5 cups bulgur (coarse)
- 1.5 cups spinach or 1 cup frozen spinach
- 1 large onion (or 2 small)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1.5 tsp cumin (ground)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 0.5 tsp dried chili/hot paprika (optional)
- 10 fresh mint leaves
- some chopped walnuts (optional)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Start by chopping the onion and mincing the garlic. Wash bulgur well and drain.
- In a large pan at medium-high heat, add onion & garlic and stir for about 1 min. Add the cumin, turmeric and chili, stir and immediately add some water (2-3 tbsps), so that the spices don't burn. Stir again.
- Then add the rinsed and drained bulgur and the spinach. Pour in about 1 cup of water (preferably boiled). Might be a little more than that, make sure it covers all the ingredients. However it should be too much, just to cover. Add a few pinches of salt. Stir and then cover with the lid. Reduce heat a little bit and let cook, checking from time to time if more water is needed.
- When bubbles appear, stir and add the fresh mint.
- Cooking should be done in 15 minutes. After that add olive oil and some more salt if needed - this dish is low-sodium, so it might seem a little tasteless if you haven't added enough salt. When you do - stir again, add some walnuts if you wish and serve warm.
- To reheat - you might want to add some water when do this, since bulgur soaks up most of it and the dish might seem dry.
I calculated the nutrition information with this tool and this is what's in one serving (assuming this recipe makes 3, DV are for 2000kcal diet):
Calories: 364 (18% DV)
Total Carbohydrate: 63.6g (21% DV)
Dietary Fiber 17.2g (69% DV)
Total Fat 9.6g (15% DV)
Vitamin A 9903IU (198% DV)
Vitamin C 9.9mg (16% DV)
Folate 148 mcg (37% DV)
Calcium 156mg (16% DV) Iron 4.4mg (24% DV) Magnesium 193mg (48% DV) Potassium 718mg (21% DV)
I hope you enjoy this and if you already have the ingredients, make sure to try the bulgur, red lentil and spinach soup and the red lentil, bulgur and butternut squash dinner recipe.