Depending upon your cultural background and experiences (and your age) you may have spent part of your life with little experience of whole grains. Rice - yes. Oh, and you ate barley soup. And just maybe you'd embraced steel-cut oats sold in those nice Irish tins, or had wheat berry salad from a salad bar.

Then drip, drip - and eventually tidal wave - the nutritional / health benefits of whole grains were promoted, and they began to appear in both restaurants and our kitchens.

My first whole grain cookbook was published in 2007, another in 2008. No surprise, then, that the Winter 2009 LCBO Food & Drink magazine featured this recipe. These days, you are likely using bulgur, millet, quinoa, wild rice - maybe even farro or amaranth more often. I am so glad I am getting around to recording this recipe, because it's on a page I ripped out of the zine and I so often misplace it - hunting around for the recipe at the last minute, or winging it from memory.

I almost always have both bulgur and sweet potatoes on hand. If I don't have cilantro, I use any other garnish I have - or skip that altogether. You can have this on the table in half an hour as a side, or a main with an over-easy egg on top. I have served it warm, or room temperature as a picnic salad.

P.S. Did you know that you can now download digital versions of LCBO's Food & Drink - they even have an app. You can bookmark favourite pages. For me, that means no more rummaging around to find a recipe!

Preheat the oven to 450 F

1 lb. (500 g) sweet potato - usually one large

2 TB olive oil
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Peel the sweet potato(es) and cut them into cubes. The cubes can be 1/2" to 1" - but whatever you decide, aim for some consistency so they will cook at the same rate.

Combine the sweet potato cubes, oil, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. Spread out in a single layer on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.  Roast for about 20 minutes, stirring once or twice until golden brown and tender. Meanwhile prepare the bulgur.

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup coarse red wheat bulgur
pinch salt (optional)

In a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid bring the stock to a boil. Add a pinch of salt if using unsalted stock.  Gradually pour in the bulgur, stirring constantly.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until bulgur is tender and liquid is absorbed. In theory, it's wrong to peek at this since you release steam that is cooking the bulgur, but you until you sort out what "low" means, you may want to check this just a bit sooner to ensure the bulgur does not begin to stick to the bottom of the pan - or worse case - burn a bit. Fluff the bulgur with a fork (always a fork, never a spoon or spatula).

2 TB freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
chopped fresh cilantro

In the sauce pan or serving dish, gently combine the bulgur, roasted sweet potatoes and lemon juice. Season with more salt and/or pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Notes and Tips...

  • Sweet Potato Quantity - you want a nice sweet potato / bulgur balance, but you don't need to be precise. If you use two sweet potatoes, weighing a bit more than 1 lb. - it will still be great!
  • For KB Recipe Attribution Practices please click here.

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