Beans and Bulgur {recipe}

I had some free time over the weekend, so I sat down with my laptop, opened up Excel, and scheduled out every hour of my work week in a beautifully color coded spreadsheet.

Did I mention I’m an accountant?


Anyway, once I factored in sleep, work, exercise, commute, time to eat, and bathing/primp time, I found I have about three hours of “free” time each work day.  THREE.  I have big aspirations each week—home cooked meals, coffee with friends, blogging,  Wheel of Fortune, flossing, plus 30 minutes of reading before bed—but with these dismal findings, it’s clear I can’t squeeze all of that in every night.

Years ago, in an effort to increase my workweek free time, I started batch cooking food on Sundays.  Sunday morning, while I sip my coffee and listen to NPR, I get to work in kitchen cooking meals for the workweek and portioning them into single-serve containers.  The single-serve containers are KEY.

A typical Sunday cooking session includes:

  • 5 servings of steel cut oats with almonds, blueberries, and cinnamon
  • 2 servings of quinoa (for sprinkling on salad)
  • salads.  Lately it’s mixed greens, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, feta cheese, and half a serving of cold quinoa plus balsamic vinaigrette (in a separate container).  I only prepare salads two at a time because I HATE soggy veggies.  Blegh.
  • snacks.  My go-tos are hummus & veggies, Greek yogurt and fruit, or a loaf of sprouted bread that I keep at work along with some PB to make sandwiches at my desk.  Don’t judge.  I also keep a container of almonds in my desk drawer.
  • The wild card:  something, ANYTHING, I can use for workweek dinners

On a normal work day, I make myself eggs and toast before heading to the office, but when I’m really crunched for time I’ll cook a large batch of scrambled eggs or an egg casserole on Sunday that I can quickly heat up each morning before heading out the door.

I can get by eating the same breakfast, lunch, and snacks most days of the week, but when it comes to dinner I honestly get depressed if I eat the same boring thing every night.

beans and bulgur (4)

Dinner ideas usually come from brainstorming ways to use up leftovers from the weekend.  Other times I’ll cook a big batch of something that I can use in many different ways, so I don’t get stuck eating the same thing four nights in a row.  That could be a giant roasted spaghetti squash, a batch of black bean burgers, or a pot of some sort of grain.  This week, my dinners will revolve around a big ole batch of beans and bulgur.

If you haven’t tried bulgur, don’t be scared–it’s a whole grain that’s higher in fiber and protein than brown rice, easy to cook, and has a great chewy texture.

beans and bulgur (2)

I’ll be honest, sometimes I eat the beans and bulgur cold, straight from the bowl in the fridge.  (I have a bizarre love of cold grains–especially when eaten from a Chinese takeout box.)  Other days, I’ll toss the beans and bulgur onto a salad or use them as the base for meatless tacos.

Tonight, I topped the hot beans and bulgur with fresh tomato, green onion, and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and had some steamed broccoli with lemon juice on the side.

Beans and bulgur, baby.

beans and bulgur

Beans and Bulgur

Makes 4 small servings (or 2 large)

Adapted from Cooking Light’s Mexican Stuffed Poblanos

  • 3/4 cup reduced sodium chicken stock, divided
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quick cooking bulgur (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 15 ounces pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 ounces chopped green chiles
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • Hot sauce (optional)
  • S&P

In a small pot, bring 1/2 cup stock to a boil, stir in bulgur, cover, and remove from heat.  Let stand for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic, season with S&P, and sauté for 5 minutes.  Then add the beans, green chiles, cumin, and 1/4 cup stock.  Add hot sauce to your liking (I recommend a squirt of Sriracha).  Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and allow to simmer and thicken for 10 minutes.  Then stir in cooked bulgur.

Stats on 1/4 of beans and bulgur:  210 calories, 35g carbs, 4g fat, 9g protein, 10g fiber

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  1. I get the spreadsheets. They’re comforting in a way that non-bean-counters will probably never understand. I may be in recovery, but accountancy never really leaves you 🙂 This looks like a really tasty dish, and great to grab and go.

  2. It was heavenly, and everyone in the family loved it. I made one big change. Instead of cumin, I put in the spice mixture “ras el hanout”, which includes cumin, among other spices. It was superb.