Recipes on September 5, 2011 by

Meatless Mondays: Eat Well with Janel: Lemon Basil Bulgur

Let it be known that while I love cooking, I do not love labor-intensive, lengthy prep time, or long cook-time recipes. I want something I can bring to the table with a few simple steps, but that tastes like I was working on it all day. Now that back to school is upon us (yep, even for me since I teach and work at a college), I want super simple meals that last throughout the week but also satisfy me. Enter bulgur as my grain of choice. Bulgur may sound fancy, but it’s a grain made from whole grain red wheat that has been parboiled, dried, and ground. This means that it’s quick cooking too, much like quick cooking oats. Or if you’re like me, no cooking is involved at all.

You can very simply cook bulgur just like you’d cook rice or other whole grains by using a 2:1 ratio of grain to water, boiling, and simmering for about 12 minutes. But if you want even less muss and fuss, my secret speedy method is to soak one cup of bulgur in two cups of water in an air-tight container in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. The bulgur will soak up all of the water leaving you with a nutty, slightly chewy whole grain that is ready to eat.

Once you have your bulgur ready, you can add in any combination of ingredients. To make it a one-dish meal, I make sure to load up on veggies and add in a protein. In this case, it’s peas for my Lemon Basil Bulgur with Peas and Artichokes. It’s a perfect side dish or main meal that will last you several servings throughout the week – plenty for dinners and some to pack in your brown bagged lunch.

Lemon Basil Bulgur Salad

Lemon Basil Bulgur with Peas and Artichokes


  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Bulgur
  • 1-14 ounce can Artichoke Hearts, liquid reserved
  • 1-12 ounce jar Marinated Artichoke Hearts
  • 1 bag frozen Peas, defrosted
  • 1 large bunch fresh Basil (about 20 leaves)
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • Salt to taste


  1. Soak 2 cups bulgur in 4 cups water for 3 hours or overnight.
  2. Drain the can and jar of artichoke hearts and cut into bite sized pieces. Reserve about ¼ cup of the liquid from the marinated artichoke hearts. Add artichoke hearts and the liquid to the bulgur. Mix in bag of peas.
  3. Chiffonade basil leaves into thin strips using this method. Mix them into bulgur.
  4. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the mixture. Add salt to taste. Serve at room temperature.


Janel Ovrut Funk is a Boston-based registered dietitian who loves helping people reach their nutrition goals, one bite at a time. Janel shares her culinary adventures in her blog Eat Well with Janel, Facebook fan page, and loves to tweet @DietitianJanel.


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