Resistant Starch Recipes: Tabbuleh.

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The ticker on the Resistant Starch article ticks over quite a lot. So I thought those stealthy, silent readers might be coaxed into interaction if I laid a trail of recipes ideas using resistant starch rich foods.

Tabbuleh, tabbuoleh or bulgur salad:

all terms mean a combination of bulgur wheat, raw vegetables and parsley seasoned with salt, olive oil and lemon juice. According to well-known food write on Middle Eastern Cuisine, Claudia Roden, this salad originated in rural areas of Syria and the Lebanon and became popular as an appetizer to serve in cafes with arak and coffee. In the Kebab houses of North London it is has become 90% nonspecific greenery with a sprinkling of pulverised wheat grains. In the portfolio of resistant starch lovers it can become a quick, convenient accompaniment to almost any dish.

The best thing about tabbuleh is that gets better the longer you store it (in the fridge) as it soaks up a range of different flavours and textures according to what you have fresh that day.


Preparing the bulgur wheat:

Try and get hold of a product that has whole-grain or un-hulled somewhere in the title. It may not be 100% whole grain but it should look slightly nutty and golden brown.

  • Using a cup of dried bulgur for two or three serves of finished tabbuleh, rinse it once in cold running water.


  •  put it in a pan and cover it with a cup and a half of water and bring it to the boil then turn off the heat and put on the lid in which case it will be ready in half an hour or
  • you can pour on a cup and a half of boiling water, cover it and it will be ready in an hour. You may need to experiment until you get a grain that is still chewy and has bite yet is not hard and gritty.
  • rinse the prepared bulgar in cold water and drain thoroughly, the grains should be separate and not clumped together soggily. The dry-ish surface area is just right for soaking up flavours.
  • Turn it into a large bowl get ready to make it in to tabbuleh

Tabbuleh template

The basic one cup of dry bulgar recipe tabbuleh should include chopped:

  • skinned tomatoes
  • skinned cucumber
  • spring or red onions
  • flat leaf parsely


It should be dressed with

  • a good tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • salt and black pepper

Personally I like to

  • Add a teaspoon of Middle Eastern/North African style seasoning such as a combination of ground coriander, paprika and tumeric.

If you have any of the following, throw them in as well

  • olives
  • chopped coriander
  • mint
  • cornichons or gherkins
  • bottled sweet peppers/capsicums
  • bottled anti-pasti
  • raddishes
  • I know you Australians can’t resist beetroot but please, not in this case, too stainy
  • pine nuts
  • toasted almonds or sunflower seeds

Mix it well and then mix it well again. Cover and store in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Try and remember to take it out 15 minutes before you want to eat it so it comes close to room temperature and the flavours come out. You can keep adding things over the next four days, mix well and you will create a different dish each time, just remember not to let it get too soggy.


Serve it with any kind of lamb dish, grilled fish or chicken, fried haloumi, crumbled feta, roast vegetables or any chickpea or legume based dish. Fellafal would be ideal and another big hit of resistant starch.

If you might try making tabbuleh for yourself or if you know of a better way to use bulgur please fill in a comment and make contact with me. It can get a bit like Area 51 here sometimes, I believe you are out there somewhere….

Bulgar Wheat – history and nutritional profile

Whole wheat grains, are cleaned and washed then par-boiled. This gelatinises the starch granules and makes them explode. Traditionally they are spread out to dry in the sun and then milled in various fractions, the coarser keeps most of the nutritious outer coating or endosperm and the finer is paler, finer and less nutrtious. Ideally, we should try and find the first type, known as coarse bulgur which can be up to 3.5 mm in size. This can be difficult to get hold of and you may have to accept your bulgar cut with kernels that are sliced in to pieces and have lost their bran coat, see below.


High in fibre, it has a low glycemic index and the in-tact outer coating or endosperm provides significant amounts of phosphorus, zince, magnesium and selenium.  Some Bulgur products can contain up 8.2% of total dietary fibre, up to 2.8% of which can be resistant starch (1) and because it is cooked and cooled this is mainly the retrograde type of resistant starch, so it’s easy to see why it can keep you fuller for longer. An Australian study showed that eating 100g of bulgur makes people feel fuller for longer than they would after eating 100g of white, long-grain rice  although the energy / kiloJoule content is not significantly different (2).

This function of food is known as satiety (pronounced suh-TIE-a-tee please, not Say-shuh-tee) It refers to the feeling of being full and stops you eating anything more or snacking between your next proper meal. Sensory properties, like taste and texture send satiety signals to the brain and tell you to put down your cutlery and close your mouth. So it is easy to use bulgur wheat to fill up on resistant starch without really trying.


The sun or solar drying step makes bulgur highly resistant to microbial and enzymatic spoilage and gives it a very long shelf life. It has up to twice as much protein and fibre content as rice and pasta and this is making bulgur a popular choice for developing countries and as a staple of food-aid programmes. Bulgur is a staple of the World Food Programme’s regular food basket for people affected by the crisis in Syria. You can help with that by clicking this link

1. Table II, page 3. Bioactive healthy components of bulgur
March 2012, Vol. 63, No. 2 , Pages 250-256 (doi:10.3109/09637486.2011.639748), :Bioactive healthy components of bulgur,  Caba, ZT ; Boyacioglu, MH ; Boyacioglu, D, International Journal Of Food Sciences And Nutrition, 2012, Vol.63(2), pp.250-256 [Peer Reviewed Journal]. DOI: 10.3109/09637486.2011.639748
2. Measurement of satiety of wheat-based bulgur by intervention and sensory evaluation, Solah, VA ; Fenton, H ; Kerr, D ; Crosbie, GB ; Siryani, S, Cereal Foods World, 2007, Vol.52(1), pp.15-19DOI: 10.1094/CFW-52-1-0015



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