Bulgur Wheat “Meat”


Ah….fake meat post here we come. I have never been a huge fan of tofu, tempeh while I’ve tried and tried to love it…I don’t really, I have yet to sample seitan so we will see perhaps it is in my future. In the meantime I have been looking in to various meat substitutes. Beans and lentils are on my love list and I cook with them regularly…a bit too much in hubby’s opinion. Enter bulgur wheat!

To make my bulgur wheat meaty here’s what I did:

Add one cup sunflower seeds to a blender along with 1/4 cup braggs and one cup diced tomatoes. Pulse until the seeds and tomatoes form a butter of sorts. Add one cup water and mix.

Toast one cup medium grind bulgur wheat in a saucepan. Once toasty remove from heat and add the seed mixture. Mix until the bulgur has absorbed all the liquid and you have a bulgur paste.

Spread the paste onto a baking dish and put it into a three hundred and fifty degree oven. Cook the bulgar stirring every so often until it becomes crumbly like ground beef. This will take about 30-40 minutes.

Once crumbly the bulgar can be used as ground beef.

This particular bulgur ended up as two types of meatballs.

The first a regular beef meatball…subbing in half bulgur wheat “meat” for ground beef. This is a really good way to reduce your overall meat consumption and save money on your budget.

I purchased one pound of grass fed, antibiotic hormone free beef for almost 7 dollars. Where as I was able to purchase one pound of bulgur wheat for 1.24 cents at my local food coop. For very little money I was able to make the pound of ground beef double by subbing in the same amount of bulgur wheat “meat”.

The other meatball was a mixture of smushed black beans, bulgur wheat “meat”, flax egg and spice.

Both meatballs were good…and my family didn’t notice anything a miss with the beef meatballs…or at least no one questioned if there was something different about them.

Bulgur Wheat “Meat”

1 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup braggs or coconut aminos
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup water or veggie stock
1 cup bulgur wheat

Any seasonings you like.


10 thoughts on “Bulgur Wheat “Meat”

    • When using bulgur in chilli or spaghetti sauce you can just add in dry uncooked bulgur just increase your liquid. When cooked with the sunflower seeds it makes a more complete protein which is a good thing about this recipe.

  1. Amy, I am trying to make a bolognese sauce. Would the best result be to follow your recipe, and then “brown” the mixture? I also was going to use some lentils and some mushrooms to mimic the lost texture of meat. So, I don’t need to make this more complicated than it has to be, and I also don’t want to have it be too tomatoey. Any ideas? (I am assuming that adding bulgur wheat will be a good addition to bolognese, instead of dried smoked tofu, tempeh, or even quinoa.) My daughter doesn’t eat meat and our family bolognese sauce was her absolute favorite. I want to surprise her with something that might taste similar. I am not familiar with lentils but heard they could be good for this purpose. Just not sure what kind of lentils to use. Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you!

    • Hi Melissa. I have made many Bolognese sauces using lentils, it’s best to use a French lentil, brown or green lentil as apposed to a red or yellow lentil. For the bulger wheat you could certainly use a recipe like I have put up or just add cooked bulger to the sauce and use some seasonings that are ‘meaty’ for instance adding some soy or tamari adds a saltiness that you get with meat. I also have a ‘Bolognese’ recipe on the site that you may want to check out. It uses lentils. There are a few recipes that I sub lentils into to ‘trick’ my hubby into meatless meals they add a nice texture that meat eaters typically look for. Just use a similar flavour profile as a regular “meat” Bolognese and I am sure that it will be a great hit with your daughter!

      • Hi Amy. Thanks so much. I have never cooked with lentils before, and I know my daughter could think the standard look of green lentils would look weird. Some people recommend “beluga” lentils. Do you have a favorite, small lentil to use? Or would quinoa be better for a 14 yr old who wants the bolognese to look like the bolognese she’s used to? Or in that instance, is it better to stick with the bulgur wheat as a substitute, along with some “toothy” mushrooms, finely diced? Thank you 🙂 I will check out your bolognese recipe right now!

      • I would certainly stick with bulger wheat. It has less flavour than quinoa so it takes on the flavour of the sauce. Ground beef isn’t really that flavourful…it’s more of a texture thing. I absolutely love beluga or black lentils and Puy lentils. If you can easily find the black lentils by all means use those. Brown are usually easy to find and are my go to everyday lentil. When you put them in sauce or in a dish they don’t really stand out but blend into the look of the dish. The addition of mushrooms will definately add to the flavour…just don’t skimp on the red wine which is really want Bolognese is really about! Let me know how it goes.

      • Thanks so much! I assume I should cook the lentils in a vegetable or mushroom stock (with maybe some bragg’s?) before adding them to my sauce? Can I “brown” them? Or maybe all the wine and veggie stock added afterwards are plenty of liquid and they don’t need to be cooked beforehand? Sorry for all the questions … I could not find your bolognese recipe, so maybe some of these questions are answered there. I will definitely let you know. My daughter is not vegan – just no meat – no we can still do dairy!

      • I usually cook them first. There’s no need to brown them. Cooking them in a stock with brags would be great. When making a Bolognese it’s really about layering flavour starting with browning your veggies, deglazing with wine, and slow cooking your tomatoes and finishing with herbs and spice. Add the cooked bulger wheat and lentils towards the end of cooking so they keep their texture. Finish with parmigiana and it should be a great meal.

      • Would it be overkill to do a finely diced mushroom combo, as well as the bulgur wheat and lentils? I’m thinking of mimicking the pancetta, using some crisped tempeh with smoked paprika, so I have that layer. And then I am decided between the mushroom combo, bulgur or lentils as the other meat layer. I want it to “look” as much like meat bolognese as possible. I think the brown mushrooms could look like meat (as long as I dice them fine enough) and feel more toothy, but between the bulgur or lentils (neither of which I have experience with), which would look more like a meat sauce? If I need to choose lentils vs bulgur, which is the better choice, or should I do all the above? Thanks!!

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