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Bulgur Wheat Skillet Casserole with Vegetables and Coffee

Updated on June 4, 2017
ButterflyWings profile image

Butterfly loves cooking and growing beautiful foods, and has a passion for designing memorable meals. Garden-born recipes are her favorite.

How This Dish came to Be

I had a simple idea one forenoon - take my regular bulgur skillet casserole, which I had fallen in love with after discovering it in the cookbook "Nourishing Traditions" (author Sally Fallon), and add root vegetables and leafy greens, instead of cinnamon and other sweet spices. I had a bountiful supply of fresh vegetables waiting for me to get creative with them. So I proceeded, hoping my children would enjoy this dish better than the plain bulgur, which can be somewhat dark-flavored.

First I needed to grind my bulgur wheat, which I had already sprouted, dried, and set waiting in a large jar. I decided to use my electric coffee grinder for this, set for a rough grind. It was faster than my hand-cranked grain grinder, and it was already too close to lunch time to dilly dally. Unbeknownst to be, my husband had ground some extra coffee, then used most of it, leaving only tracings in the Catch-container. I did not check, as the bin appeared to be empty. I realized my mistake as soon as I had begun grinding my wheat, but by then it was too late. I decided to go ahead with my plan, coffee grounds and all. I am so glad I did. And the kids were pleased with the lunch, too.

What You Can Expect

This is a versatile skillet dish using both cooked and fresh vegetables, as well as an unusual ingredient for a grain dish - freshly ground coffee. Delicious - coffee lovers, unite!

Simple, But Attractive

Use colorful garnishes of your choice (dried cranberries and green onions are used here).
Use colorful garnishes of your choice (dried cranberries and green onions are used here).

Even People Who Think They Don't Like Bulgur Wheat Tend to Enjoy This Dish!

Cast your vote for Bulgur Wheat Skillet with Vegetables and Coffee

Prep and Cooking Times Overlap

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 35 min
Yields: 4-6 main dish servings

You can substitute all vegetable ingredients for others of your choice.

  • 2 cups water, potable (filtered or bottled)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted, your choice
  • 1 cup bulgur wheat, coursely ground
  • 1 teaspoon coffee, finely ground
  • 2 slender carrots, sliced thinly on the bias*
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced thinly on the bias*
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • Chili pepper (hot), to taste (use your favorite), or, 1/2 bell pepper, chopped or cut in thin strips
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium cucumber, diced
  • 2-3 stalks kale, torn small (save middle stem for another use, or add it during Step 1 to cook)
  • 1 small handful or 4-5 sprigs parsley, snipped medium-fine (may include stems)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • To taste, onions, green, sliced or snipped thinly on the bias*
  • 1 small handful dried cranberries (, or dried cherries/your choice of dried fruit, snipped in pieces if large
  • 1-3 Tablespoons malt vinegar, rice vinegar, or other vinegar of your choice, (optional)

Knife Skill Tips

*Bias = diagonally.

See the video at the end of the article for a simple way to cut vegetables in this style.


  1. Boil 2 cups water in a heavy, medium-size skillet (cast iron is good), adding butter to melt. Add freshly-ground bulgur wheat, coffee, carrots, celery, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Simmer until wheat is tender, and vegetables are tender-crisp, stirring often and thoroughly. Remove from heat.
  2. Add chili pepper, cucumber, kale, parsley, soy sauce, and vinegar, if desired (may add later over individual servings, too). Stir lightly. Add onion, and cranberries, sprinkling garnish-like over the top.
  3. Serve as desired - fancy or simple, plain or over lettuce/kale leaves, as a casserole or side dish, cold or hot. You may add radishes or other vegetables, and any dried fruit you like, as well as any spice combinations that appeal. This is a versatile dish, lending itself to imagination. You can also try different flavors of coffee grounds, though I suggest that all be finely ground, so they "disappear" in the final product.

Serve Straight out of the Skillet, or Any Way You Like!

Colorful vegetables are the making of this dish.
Colorful vegetables are the making of this dish.

Simple Knife Skill - Bias Cut

Love whole grains? Me, too.

© 2016 ButterflyWings


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    • ButterflyWings profile image

      ButterflyWings 2 years ago

      Aviannovice, sure - and let me know how it goes, please. I'm curious how other grains substitute. Since the whole recipe was kind of an accident on my part, let the experiments roll!

      What happened was I used my coffee grinder to crack the bulgur, not realizing there was a bit of coffee grounds already in the container. When I dumped the wheat in the skillet (already with simmering water), I stared in stunned surprise, then went, "Well, this could be interesting." I adjusted the recipe accordingly, and it turned out great.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I can't have wheat, as I am gluten intolerant, which is why I find it necessary to substitute.

    • ButterflyWings profile image

      ButterflyWings 2 years ago

      Aviannovice, wheat should work, though bulgur (which is just sprouted and dried wheat), has a slightly different flavor profile - nuttier, sweeter, but with dark or bitter overtones, not unlike dark chocolate...which explains why it works with coffee.

      Rice might wind up to "light" tasting for the flavors to work optimally, but there is no harm in trying! At any rate, if the flavors need further blending or lightening, try a dash of malt vinegar or rice vinegar. This should even things out.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I just have to substitute wheat, and I'll be doing all right, since I am gluten intolerant. I might use some rice, but this sounds quite good.