Bulgur & Riced Cauliflower with Vegetables: Sebzeli Bulgur Pilavı

This bulgur is packed with vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, onion), and even uses riced cauliflower to replace some of the bulgur. Riced cauliflower has become extremely popular in the past few months; it can be used in place of a grain (like rice or bulgur), or simply mixed into a dish to bulk up the nutritional value and reduce the calories per serving. 

This dish goes well as a side for grilled meats, or even can serve as a meal on its own with some cool cacık (cucumber yogurt salad) on the side. 


Recipe:

3/4 lb eggplant, cut into 1 cm cubes (340 grams) *I used baby eggplants
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (120 mL)
1 tablespoon butter (15 grams)
3/4 lb zucchini, cut into 1 cm cubes (340 grams)
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 lb bell pepper (assorted colors of choice), small dice (225 grams)
2 tablespoons tomato paste (32 grams)
3/4 teaspoon salt + more for eggplant
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 3/4 cups bulgur (290 grams) *you can use whole or cracked bulgur- I used cracked this time
3 cups hot water (700 mL)
2 1/2 cups riced cauliflower (can be fresh or frozen) 

  1. Mix cubed eggplant and ~ 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes, then rinse well and drain. 
  2. Heat oil and butter in a large pot. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes until translucent. Add bell pepper and saute 3 more minutes. Add zucchini and eggplant and saute for 5 more minutes. Add tomato paste, salt, and red pepper flakes and saute the whole mixture an additional 3-5 minutes. 
  3. Add hot water and bulgur. Stir to combine and then cover and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes. 
  4. Test to ensure the bulgur is cooked through, then stir in the riced cauliflower. Turn off the heat and allow bulgur to sit, covered, for about 15 minutes. The cauliflower will fully cook in the steam. 
  5. Serve warm. 

Whole Wheat Turmeric Waffles with Date Paste & Chickpea Puree

A new play on the flavors of tahini & pekmez (molasses), bright tumeric waffles slathered in homemade date paste and chickpea puree makes for a perfect, fiber and protein-rich breakfast.

Having something delicious to look forward to for breakfast can be a great way to get yourself out of bed in the morning when your alarm goes off. Over the past few months, I've found myself constantly craving waffles for breakfast. My typical morning ritual has been to pour myself a big mug of coffee, pop some Van's whole grain waffles into my toaster, and then spread on some almond butter. I'll also typically sprinkle a mixture of hemp and ground flax seeds on top for extra nutrients. Recently I've been wanting to switch my breakfast up a bit, so I thought I would try making my own waffles and freezing them.

A constant goal of mine is to cook more in large batches so that I can always have healthy leftovers to grab when I don't have much time for cooking. Plus, when you make your own waffles, you can customize them to include whatever flavors you are in the mood for that week!

This week I decided to create a recipe for whole wheat waffles featuring turmeric. In my integrative nutrition master's class last year we learned more about how the food that you eat directly impacts your gene expression in your body. Turmeric is one spice that can help reduce inflammation in the body, and researchers are continuing to study how curcumin (the active phytochemical in tumeric) can be used to help prevent inflammatory diseases like cancer, arthritis, IBD, and more. Keep in mind that it is highly unlikely that turmeric alone is going to work any miracles; however, it can safely be included into a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, herbs, and spices to provide more nutritional variety. 

I always suggest using the whole food over a supplement if you do not have a documented medical reason for taking the supplement. For example, rather than taking a turmeric supplement, try to find ways to add it into the foods you are already eating (like these waffles- or into soup, salad dressing, stews, smoothies, and more!). 

The date puree and chickpeas in this recipe taste similar to the Turkish mixture of tahini and pekmez that is typically used for dipping bread, but provide more protein and fiber to keep you full until lunch.


Recipe:
Makes 5 waffles (20 small sections)

Date Paste: 
Pitted dates
Water
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (2 1/2 mL)

Chickpea Puree: yields about 1 1/2 cups
1 15-oz can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained (425 grams)
1/3 cup tahini paste (70 grams)

Whole Wheat Tumeric Waffles:
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups milk of choice (415 mL)
1/4 cup olive oil (58 grams)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (2 1/2 mL)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (2 grams)
2 teaspoons baking powder (~10 grams)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (240 grams)
1/4 teaspoon salt (1 gram)
1 tablespoon turmeric (10 grams) *if you're looking for something less earthy tasting, start with 1 teaspoon turmeric when you make your first batch
Oil of choice for waffle iron 

  1. To make the date paste: The night before (if possible) tightly pack pitted dates into a mason jar or other container with a lid, then add a small amount of water. Cover and let sit overnight to allow the dates to soften. Puree the softened dates (+ optional vanilla extract) in a food processor until you have a smooth, creamy paste. Extras can be kept in your refrigerator for about 1 month or frozen, but I am sure that once you have this you will find lots of ways to use it! 
  2. To make the chickpea puree: In a food processor, puree chickpeas and tahini. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time if needed to smooth it out. 
  3. To make waffles: Whisk together eggs, milk, olive oil, and vanilla in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together baking soda, baking powder, whole wheat flour, salt, and turmeric. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into wet ingredients until you have a smooth batter. Heat your waffle iron and use oil to prevent batter from sticking to the edges. Make waffles according to the directions on your waffle iron. 
  4. Enjoy waffles with a generous amount of date paste and chickpea puree. Sprinkle with hemp or flax seeds for added nutrients. Freeze extras and reheat them in the toaster oven to enjoy another day! 

Best Turkish Red Wine on a Budget

Alcohol prices in Turkey are high due to the government's "special consumption" taxes. Alcohol restrictions have increased significantly over the past decade under the Justice and Development Party (AKP), including limits on the time alcohol can be sold (not between 10 pm- 6 am) and the locations where alcohol sale can take place (not within 100 yards of schools or mosques).

With this in mind, Turkey is not like much of Europe where you can expect to find great bottles of wine on sale for just a couple of Euros.

After months of trying to find red wine that did not taste like juice, but also did not cost over 50 lira (about $25) per bottle, I have come to the conclusion that the best red wine on a budget is Kayra's Buzbağ. At a neighborhood liquor store (tekel) the price can be as much as 25 lira (about $12), but the secret is to buy this wine at Migros where it can cost between 14-16 lira ($7-8)!

My personal favorite, the classic (klasik), is a blend of Öküzgözü (meaning "ox eye" for their large size) and Boğazkere grapes from the Southeastern part of Turkey. The other two wines pictured above are named for the Turkish provinces associated with the individual grapes- Diyarbakır for Boğazkere and Elazığ for Öküzgözü and feature just those single grape varieties.