Fragrant red bulgur

This flavorful red bulgur is a perfect side dish that can tickle your taste buds and boost your mood!

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Ingredients – red bulgur

  • 4 dl bulgur
  • 7-8 dl vegetable stock
  • Small jar of tomato purée, ca. 200 grams
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, preferably the long sweet kind, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • To serve: 2-3 tablespoons of parsley, finely chopped

A Turkish shop owner in my neighborhood shared this recipe with me some 20 years ago. It has been a regular on our family’s table ever since, and it’s even ‘teenager approved’, which is an added bonus.

Method – red bulgur

  • In a deep frying pan, add olive oil and cook the onions for a few minutes
  • Add red pepper and cook until soft
  • Add the bulgur and tomato purée and stir until well blended  
  • Add enough stock to cover the bulgur mixture
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper

Let simmer for 15-20 minutes until the stock is well absorbed and the bulgur soft.

Add the chopped parsley and serve.

Red bulgur keeps well in the fridge until the next day, and you can freeze it too.

Health benefits of red bulgur with onions

The simple red bulgur recipe above was shared with me by a Turkish shop owner in my Oslo neighborhood 20 years ago. It has been a regular on our family’s table ever since – and it’s even ‘teenager approved’, which is an added bonus!

Bulgur, tomatoes, and onions are staple ingredients in many cuisines and offer significant benefits for gut health due to their nutrient profiles and fiber content.

Bulgur

Bulgur is a whole grain made from cracked wheat. It’s rich in dietary fiber, particularly insoluble fiber, which aids in digestion by adding bulk to stool and promoting regular bowel movements. This helps prevent constipation and supports overall digestive health. Additionally, the fiber in bulgur acts as a prebiotic, feeding beneficial gut bacteria and enhancing the microbiome’s diversity and balance. This can lead to improved gut barrier function and reduced inflammation – great benefits from a simple dish such as red bulgur.

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Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a nutrient-dense food high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like vitamin C, potassium, folate, and lycopene. Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, has been shown to reduce inflammation in the gut. The high water content in tomatoes, along with their fiber, helps maintain hydration and regularity. Tomatoes also contain soluble fiber, which helps feed beneficial gut bacteria, promoting a healthy gut microbiome. This fiber can also slow down the digestion process, allowing for better nutrient absorption.

Onions

Onions are a rich source of prebiotics, particularly fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and inulin, which are types of soluble fiber. These prebiotics stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in the gut, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. The fermentation of these fibers by gut bacteria produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are beneficial for gut health as they provide energy to colon cells and have anti-inflammatory properties. Onions also contain quercetin, an antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation in the gut.

Combined Benefits

When combined in dishes, such as in salads or pilafs, bulgur, tomatoes, and onions create a synergistic effect that enhances gut health. The fiber from bulgur and onions promotes regular bowel movements and feeds beneficial gut bacteria, while the hydration and antioxidants from tomatoes help reduce inflammation and support overall digestive health. This combination can improve nutrient absorption, support a healthy microbiome, and protect against digestive disorders.

In summary, incorporating bulgur, tomatoes, and onions into your diet can significantly benefit gut health by promoting regularity, enhancing microbiome diversity, reducing inflammation, and supporting overall digestive function.

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