Whenever I bring home leftovers from a Turkish restaurant, I always find myself reaching right past the doner kebab and going straight for a midnight snack of bulgur. The tiny, slightly nutty kernels sop up flavor like a sponge, and still manage to hold their texture (similar to couscous) without becoming mushy. Bulgar's high in protein and fiber, not to mention a thoroughly satisfying and filling grain, giving you considerable bang for your buck.
Here, I've paired the cracked wheat kernels with warm, peppery flavors. Shredded carrots and chickpeas are coated in paprika and coriander before they're folded into bulgur with lots of fresh parsley. A three-ingredient tahini dressing does double duty as a binding and flavor agent, and keeps the bulgur from drying out after sitting.
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup bulgur wheat
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large carrot, grated on the large holes of a box grater (about 1 cup)
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons smoked or sweet paprika
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon very hot water
- 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 pitas with pockets, halved
Bring 1 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boil in saucepan. Add bulgur, return to boil, and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Let sit off heat for 5 minutes; fluff with fork. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large skillet pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add carrots and chickpeas to pan; stir in coriander and paprika. Mix to coat and cook over medium-low heat until fragrant and carrots are softened, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl and stir in bulgur. Season to taste with salt.
Whisk together tahini, hot water, and 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice until very smooth. Stir into chickpeas and bulgur to coat. Pour in remaining lemon juice and fold in parsley. Season to taste with salt. Serve immediately, or let cool slightly then refrigerate. Reheat the next day in microwave, covered with damp paper towel, before stuffing into pita halves, or stuff into pitas once cooled and refrigerate until ready to eat at room temperature or cold.