Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Healthy, Nourishing Spiced Breakfast Bulgur with Fruit and Almonds

I must confess that I am not naturally a breakfast eater. Give me a late brunch that someone else makes and I am happy, but getting up early and eating is not my thing. I do recognize the many benefits of starting the day with something filling and nutritious though so I make it a point to have something healthy to start my day. Sometimes it's a smoothie---made with berries and greens tossed in, other times it is fruit and yogurt, or a piece of toast with nut butter, or a power bar. Some days it is leftovers, pasta or soup (BTW: Sunday's delicious Beans, Bacon & Boursin Soup makes a fabulous morning meal). ;-) I have never been a fan of oatmeal or any of it's cousins like cream of wheat, or other warm mushy cereals--it's a texture thing. A while back I tried Mark Bittman's Breakfast Bulgur from his Food Matters book and liked the chewy, nutty texture.

Flipping through what is fast becoming one of my favorite cookbooks, Bittman's follow-up, "The Food Matters Cookbook" I saw his recipe for Spiced Breakfast Bulgur. I liked the fact that it cooks up in orange and spiced water to add extra flavor. I used cinnamon sticks, cracked cardamom pods, and a few cloves to flavor my bulgur. Bittman suggests topping it with fresh fruit and I did a combination of the leftover orange, plus banana, and some mixed dried berries (blueberries, cherries and cranberries) from Trader Joe's. Adding the dried berries in at the last few minutes of cooking the bulgur makes them soft, plump and flavorful. Topped with sliced almonds and drizzled with local honey, it is a healthy, easy breakfast that even I can look forward too.

The recipe can be found on pages 275-276

Bittman says, "Wheat is a classic breakfast cereal, and bulgur is the fastest-cooking wheat there is. Simmering the grains with citrus and spices is a wonderful way to add distinctive but not overpowering flavor. For a more assertive flavor, stir in another pinch of ground spices just before serving."

Spiced Breakfast Bulgur with Fruit and Almonds
"The Food Matters Cookbook" by Mark Bittman
(Makes 4 Servings)
Time: 25 minutes

1 orange, halved
any one or a combination of the following: 2 cinnamon sticks. 1 whole nutmeg, 2 tsp whole allspice berries, 2 tsp cardamom pods (I used cinnamon, cardamom, & cloves)
1 cup bulgur
2 cups sliced fresh fruit of choice (I used bananas. leftover orange & dried mixed berries)
1 cup nuts, toasted if you like, optional (I used sliced almonds)
honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar for serving, optional (I used local honey, drizzled)

Squeeze the juice from the orange into a medium saucepan and toss in the peels along with whatever spices you're using. Add 2 cups water and bring the mixture to a boil. Fish out the orange peels and spices with a small strainer or slotted spoon.

Stir in the bulgur and a pinch of salt and adjust the heat so that the mixture bubbles gently. Cook, without stirring, until the bulgur is tender but still a little chewy, 5 to 10 minutes; add a little water if the mixture starts to dry out. Cover, remove from the heat, and let sit for at least 5 minutes, or up to 1 hour. Serve hot or at room temperature, topped with the fresh fruit, nuts and honey if you like.

Adaptation: Herbed Breakfast Bulgur: This is terrific with berries. Substitute a lemon for the orange and a sprig of rosemary, thyme, lavender, or tarragon for the spices. proceed with recipe.

Notes/Results: Total hug-in-a-bowl breakfast, it's warm, sweet, filling, and nourishing, really what more could you ask for? The cooking of the bulgur in the orange and spiced water added great flavor and makes me want to experiment with other juices or spices (I like Bittman's adaptation idea to do an herbed version, maybe with lavender). It also reheats well. I added a splash of vanilla coconut milk when I heated it up and it was fabulous, so you can cook up extra for quick breakfasts during the week. I will definitely be making this again.

Do you eat breakfast regularly? If so, what do you like to eat?


I am sending this healthy bowl of goodness to the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, hosted by some great bloggers--girlichef, A Moderate Life, Hunger and Thirst, Frugality and Crunchiness with Christy and Alternative Health and Nutrition. Check out their new "hub" and see all the links to some fabulous dishes and posts.

And I am also sending it to Roz at la bella vita for her Fresh, Clean & Pure Friday. Check out the links for some wonderful ideas, recipes and posts.


  1. Oh, I just love the spice blend here, orange and cardamom, yummy and warming! Thanks for sharing with the Hearth and Soul hop.

  2. I have eat breakfast or you can hear my stomach growl...I usually eat toast w/egg (scrambled, sunny side up, over easy, egg salad), sometimes pancakes w/ a protein. Rarely is my breakfast Japanese ;) I really have to go through this cookbook!!

  3. Oh, awesome! I didn't see this one is my search through this favorite of mine, as well. I on the other hand AM a breakfast (and brunch) person and would love to be eating this right now. Six in the nmorning ;) LOL! Thanks for sharing it w/ the hearth and soul hop this week, Deb.

  4. I'm so glad you found a breakfast you could get behind! I've never tried bulgur but the texture you describe makes me think I would love it. I bet this would work great as a lunch also...

  5. You made that look good....but I admit to not being a fan of Bulger. Tried is about 20 years ago when we were very serious vegetarians but maybe my taste buds have matured. This looks fantastic.

  6. I love the blend here: orange and cardamom!
    Even after living here for a long time, one still cannot get used to a 'cold' breakfast! :-)
    Savoury, steaming and hot would be our daily breakfast back in India .

  7. I'm not much of a breakfast person. Would rather stay in bed a little longer and eat something quick!

    I enjoy bulgur salads. Never thought to have it for breakfast!

  8. I've made a similar dish with couscous soaked in apple juice. It really is lovely!

    I have to have breakfast, but not too soon after I wake, and not necessarily breakfast food!

  9. looks so healthy, nice and delicious.

  10. Deb, this is very interesting. I'm glad you featured this. I would have completely missed it and it deserved to be tries. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  11. I am definitely with you on the oatmeal, cream of wheat, etc..as far as texture goes....NO thank you!

    Love the flavors and fresh fruit additions!

    Thanks for sharing at the hearth and soul hop.


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