Bulgar and Red Lentil Pilaf

We don't think more minimally processed bulgar is as bad for us as whole wheat flour, but then again we're wishful thinkers.

We'll make Wheat Belly worth the discomfort once you try this Egyptian bulgar pilaf. Promise!

A very complete meal can be made of the pilaf, sliced tomatoes and perhaps a slice or two of good, salty cheese. Cafe Drake HRV finds this side salad just as easy: mix about 2 cups of halved cherry or grape tomatoes with some olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar and 1/2 small onion (diced). Stir in 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese and mix again. Season with salt and black pepper to taste and, just before serving, stir in a few tablespoons of chopped dill and/or parsley. The soft cheese creates a creamy, thick "dressing" of sorts if the salad is left to rest, at room temperature, for one hour.


Rinse 1/2 cup split red lentils and soak in water for at least 3 or 4 hours. Generally this isn't required when cooking any sort of lentil but our quick-cooking pilaf demands the legumes be softened before hitting the pan.

Drain lentils and set aside while you heat 4 T. olive oil in a large, deep skillet or saucepan. Over a medium flame add and saute 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1 large onion, finely diced. Cook until the onion is soft and then add in 1 cup coarse or medium-grained bulgar wheat and the drained lentils. Stir fry for 3 minutes or so; the bulgar should begin to brown and release a nutty aroma.

Add 2 T. chopped parsley or cilantro, 2 whole dried red chilies, 1 bay leaf and 1 small cinnamon stick. Stir-fry for another minute. Pour in 1 1/2 cups water and 1 t. salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 35 minutes. Make certain the flame is as low as possible. 

After 35 minutes turn off the heat and let the pot rest undisturbed for 20 minutes. Stir or fluff with a fork and adjust salt if needed. Now's a good time to add a generous amount of fresh ground black pepper.

Serve hot or warm.


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