The Washington Post

Bulgur Pilaf With Spring Peas

Bulgur Pilaf With Spring Peas 4.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Eat Voraciously Newsletter Weeknight Vegetarian Jun 14, 2020

Vibrant spring peas in two forms add texture, color and nutrition to this grain dish. Bulgur — parboiled cracked wheat — is a great warm-weather option, because it cooks by absorbing the hot broth while off the heat. You can use couscous instead, but it won’t have the same appealing toothsome quality.

4 - 6

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4-6 servings

  • 1 tablespoon canola or other neutral oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 whole cloves
  • One (1-inch) piece cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (3/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped (1 tablespoon)
  • 2 cups medium-grind bulgur
  • 2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (may substitute vegan butter, such as Miyoko’s or Earth Balance), divided
  • 4 1/2 cups fresh or frozen peas (from two 10-ounce bags), divided
  • 2 cups (about 6 ounces) sugar snap peas, strings removed
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste


In a 3- or 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the cumin, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf and cook, stirring and shaking the pan, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion, ginger and jalapeño and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in the bulgur and cook, stirring occasionally, until it darkens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the broth and 1/2 teaspoon salt, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and let the pilaf stand until all the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes.

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, combine 1 tablespoon butter and 2 cups of the peas and cook, stirring frequently, until the peas are very soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and mash well with a fork.

When the pilaf is ready, discard the cloves, cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Stir in the reserved mashed peas and gently warm over low heat.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. When it melts, stir in the sugar snap peas. Cook, stirring frequently, until the snap peas are crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups of peas, along with the mint, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the pepper. Cook until just heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Taste, and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

To serve, spoon the pilaf into shallow bowls and spoon the snap pea mixture over the top. Serve hot.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Flavorwalla” by Floyd Cardoz (Artisan, 2016).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 339

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 7g 11%

Saturated Fat: 3g 15%

Cholesterol: 10mg 3%

Sodium: 308mg 13%

Total Carbohydrates: 56g 19%

Dietary Fiber: 16g 64%

Sugar: 8g

Protein: 13g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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