Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fiber? I barely know her!

We hear it all the stinkin’ time—fiber is an uber-important part of maintaining good health. But seriously, sometimes fiber is just not tasty. Though Jason and I do enjoy the new(ish) Fiber One bars (check out the oats and chocolate kind), it’s not always the easiest task to cook a high-fiber meal that doesn’t taste like a bucketful of horse feed.

Recently, though, I discovered medium-grain bulgur, which is coarser and chewier than the fine-grain kind used in tabouleh. It’s seriously delicious. It’s kind of like brown rice’s way better looking and more impressive cousin. Bulgur has more than twice the fiber, less fat, fewer calories, and nearly four times the folate as brown rice. Plus it cooks in half the time. It’s nutty, pleasantly chewy, and inexpensive, too. Oh, and topped with roasted veggies, this dish packs a ton of vitamins and fiber—a superstar of a meal.

Bulgur Bowls with Roasted Veggies
serves 2
Toss in some prepared rotisserie chicken or sautéed tofu (if you’re into that kind of thing) for some protein, if desired.

1 cup bulgur
2 cups chicken broth or water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 lb broccoli, chopped into small florets
1 large zucchini, chopped into bite-size chunks
1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-size chunks
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1 (1-inch) piece of ginger, grated
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice or rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the bulgur and the broth. If using water, add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir and cover, and bring to a boil. When bulgur boils, lower heat to medium-low, and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed and bulgur is tender.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°. Place vegetables on a large rimmed baking sheet, and toss with pepper, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and olive oil. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes, tossing about halfway through cooking, until vegetables are tender and caramelized in places. Remove from oven and set aside.

To make the sauce, whisk together ingredients in a medium bowl, adding vegetable oil to reach desired taste and consistency. When bulgur is cooked, spoon an even amount into each serving bowl. Top with roasted vegetables, and drizzle with about 1 tablespoon sauce, or to taste.

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