Vegan, Nutritious and…Totally Delicious!
Vegetarian Burghul Pilaf in Tomato Sauce, or Burghul bil Banadoura, is a dish almost forgotten by many. Not me though! I love it, still cook it, and enjoy it with my family. You also will, I promise!
Let me tell you first a little something about our Burghul, or what you know as ‘cracked wheat’.
Burghul in our culture and history
For centuries, Burghul occupied an important place in the food storage of all Lebanese homes. It was an essential ingredient to many of our ancestors’ dishes.
More importantly, it was an ingredient of survival throughout the harshest phases of our history, old and modern.
Despite that, our cuisine would come to undergo a significant change in its Burghul-based recipes, at the onset of the 20th century. The rice was introduced into our country and our kitchen.
A gradual switch, from the Burghul to the rice, occurred. Gradual and yet significant enough to generate a saying that marked that cultural event: “The rice is honored, and the Burghul hanged itself.”
Yes, we Lebanese love to come up with funny sayings that stick around long after they lost in importance. This is one of them! 🙂
However, that was not the end of it. The Burghul has not completely disappeared from our cuisine, nor has its importance minimized as some claim. It neither lost its powerful presence in times of need for survival.
Our civil war, which ended officially in 1992, proved it. Hundreds of urban families survived for weeks on Burghul when fierce battles completely paralyzed certain cities, confining the families in their homes and shelters, with no way to step out.
In that, the Burghul has earned to wear our ethnic Tarboush, for where the rice failed, the Burghul has prevailed!
Burghul in The Lebanese Cuisine
Despite the common belief, we still honor in our recipes this old ingredient that took a major role in feeding the remote villages of Lebanon for centuries, during the times of wars and persecution, and crucial urban cities in recent history.
Henceforth, I will give the Burghul its rightful place of being a main component of some of our dishes, like the Vegetarian Burghul with Tomato Sauce, our Kibbeh in its several recipes, the Mojadra bil Burghul, and the Burghul bil Dfine….
And let us not forget its needed presence in our worldwide famous Tabbouleh!
Vegetarian Burghul Pilaf in Tomato Sauce: The Recipe
So here, I bring you a Northern recipe of the delicious Vegetarian Burghul in Tomato Sauce from my mother’s kitchen. Nothing fancy about it, yet the family loved it big time. We mostly had it during Lent to which we Lebanese Christians are committed.
Totally vegan, and easy to cook in few steps, this light dish could be eaten cold or hot. My siblings and I particularly loved it with toasted Lebanese bread. (I still do!)
Try it with a Fattoush Salad on the side, or with a most consistent dish of poultry or meat.
Vegetarian Burghul Pilaf in Tomato Sauce
- 2 cups Burghul (cracked wheat) corase
- 1 Onion (medium) chopped
- 1 can Tomato dices
- 2 tbsps Tomato Paste
- 1 Green Pepper chopped
- Vegetable Oil
- 1/2 tsp Lebanese 7-Spice or ¼ black pepper + ¼ white pepper
- 2 cubes Vegetable Stock
- 4 cups water
- 4 heads Fresh Parsley
- 3 tbsps Fresh Parsley chopped
- 1 Tomato (optional) cut in 4 and gently grilled
Recommended to consume with:
- Lebanese Pita Bread toasted
Warm the oil in a shallow pan on medium heat.
Fry in the onions to wither for about 5 minutes.
Add the green pepper and fry together until tender but not brown.
Mix in smoothly all the diced tomatoes with their juice.
Continue to fry for about 8 minutes or until the vegetables have softened.
Add the burghul and work the vegetables through with a wooden spoon, and Season with salt and spices.
Add the tomato paste, the Veggie Stock Cubes and the 4 cups of water, and stir until combined..
Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Leave it to simmer gently until all the liquid has been absorbed
Remove the pan from the heat, and set it aside to cool down. Keep it covered as the burghul will continue to steam inside the casserole.
Before serving, stir the burghul gently to ensure that all the ingredients are well blended.
Pour all on an oval serving plate.
Plant the heads of the Parsley at the top center like a small bouquet. (ref. photo).
Sprinkle the chopped parsley around the plate
Place the grilled pieces of tomatoes on both sides of the serving plate.