I’m debating whether I should keep including “simple” in my recipe titles, since simple food is the name of the game lately, and really since my internship year started. But I guess it never hurts to call it out.
Anyway: this bulgur chickpea dish is indeed very simple, as the name implies. There’s some cooking time involved (though it’s worth saying that it can be shortened if you tweak the recipe ingredients a little), but the dish involves almost no active work. It’s as easy as mixing ingredients up and slow cooking, but in this case the oven does the work for you.
Beyond that, the recipe is full of nutrition—fiber, protein from the combination of bulgur and beans, adjustable on sodium and naturally low in fat—and incredibly easy to customize. I’ve been using a combination of chickpeas, sweet potatoes, canned tomatoes, and the un-seasonal addition of zucchini. Broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, and cabbage would all be great additions or substitutions.
Speaking of that: I’ve tried the recipe with butternut squash in place of sweet potato and without either. The cooking time can be reduced to 25 minutes without the sweet potato or winter squash; with one or the other, it needs a full 45 minutes in order for those vegetables to be cooked through. So if you’d like to make this in a pinch, you could try another, faster-cooking veggie instead.
I kept the seasonings simple, but as I’ve been saying often these days, customize with what you have. Plenty of spices would be lovely in the recipe, including crushed red pepper flakes, which I didn’t add only because I tend to be conservative with spice. I don’t recommend skimping on the everyday lemon tahini dressing that’s linked in the recipe below; it gives the dish a touch of acid and creaminess that really enhances the experience of eating it! But if that dressing isn’t your thing, yum sauce or delightfully green tahini dressing would be great, too.
Here is the nourishing, hands-off, and simple indeed recipe.
- 1 cup bulgur wheat (dry)
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 can, drained and rinsed)
- 1 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted, diced tomatoes
- 1 small zucchini, chopped
- 1 medium sweet potato, scrubbed or peeled and chopped (substitute 1/2 lb cubed butternut or other winter squash)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced (substitute 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ras el hanout (substitute 1/2 teaspoon coriander, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon cardamom)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 2 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 batch everyday lemon tahini dressing
- Preheat your oven to 375F. Mix all ingredients together in a Dutch oven, a cast iron baking dish with a lid, or any other casserole dish with a lid. Cover and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 10 minutes.
- While the bulgur bakes (or ahead of time) make the everyday lemon tahini dressing. To serve, drizzle the bulgur generously with the dressing and enjoy!
This recipe is a truly perfect option for meal prep/batch cooking, since it can simmer away in the oven while you do or prep anything else you need. And it makes generous portions: enough for four hearty dinner components (I’ve been serving it simply, with steamed greens and lots of the dressing) or six portions if you’re using it as a side dish with something else that’s substantial. No matter how you serve it, I hope it saves you time and gives you pleasure.
This week has been busy so far, with a nutrition workshop/conference yesterday and my final week at my current internship site. I’ve used my evenings to get grounded as best I can and my mornings to reflect on things during my commute. It’s all a work in progress…but it’s progressing. Happy Wednesday, friends!