- Bulgur is a type of cereal made using various wheat varieties
- It can be used in a wide range of foods like soups, salads, baked goods and pilaf
- Bulgur isn’t gluten-free
- People on a gluten-free diet can opt for gluten-free bulgur alternatives
Bulgur is a versatile cereal, used in a wide range of dishes. Consumers would like to know if this product is gluten free or not.
Bulgur is usually not gluten-free. It’s made from wheat-based cereals like wheat berries and durum wheat, which contain gluten. Bulgur isn’t safe for people with gluten sensitivities. There are several gluten-free alternatives to bulgur for individuals on a gluten-free diet.
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Is Bulgur Gluten-Free?
Bulgur is a type of wheat made from several varieties of wheat such as durum wheat and wheat berries, and it comes with a nutty flavor. Once the wheat to be used has been selected, it’s then washed and blanched. It’s then dried fully and then broken into smaller parts. It has a couscous consistency when it’s cooked.
This cereal comes in a wide range of textures. They include fine, medium, coarse as well as extra coarse. Most people who consume it regularly use it as a substitute for smaller grains like quinoa and couscous.
Bulgur is common in Mediterranean and West African cuisines. Its popularity across the globe is growing, thanks to a growing number of people who now prefer whole-grain cooking.
Gluten is a protein that occurs naturally in the grass family of cereals. It’s present in grains like wheat, barley, wheat berries, durum wheat, kamut, farro, spelt, rye, semolina and triticale, just to name a few.
Gluten acts as a glue that helps to keep these grains together and maintain their shape.
Gluten is known to cause complications in individuals with gluten intolerance, celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity and wheat allergy.
If these individuals consume anything that has gluten, they will experience symptoms like bowel issues, bloating, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, headaches, anxiety, constipation, and abdominal pain.
Having gluten problems and gluten intolerance means that one must take a gluten free diet, gluten free grains for instance. Many of the whole wheat products have gluten and will not be safe for someone with celiac disease.
In order to get gluten free products, one should carefully peruse through the market, in search of products which are certified gluten free. The market can be misleading, and you will need to be very prudent when making your choices.
Always seek information from sources which are reliable. In connection to this, organizations such as Beyond Celiac and the FDA, offer comprehensive information on the management of gluten problems, the foods you should take, and the foods you should avoid.
If you have a gluten-related condition and you want to try bulgur for the first time, you may be probably asking yourself; is bulgur gluten-free? Is bulgur safe for people on a gluten-free diet? Can you take bulgur if you have gluten sensitivity? Is bulgur naturally gluten free?
As we pointed out earlier, bulgur is made from durum wheat, wheat berries and other wheat varieties.
As much as the wheat used to make the bulgur may have been washed, blanched and dried, gluten remains in the final product – considering that it occurs naturally in these cereals.
Bulgur is usually not gluten-free and it is not a gluten free grain. Bulgur is not safe for individuals with gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, wheat allergies and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Because it is sourced from wheat kernels, then there is a low likelihood that it can be gluten free.
Is Bulgur Safe for Someone with Celiac Disease
You may be planning to try bulgur wheat for the first time but you are also wondering whether it’s safe for someone like you with celiac disease. As we earlier mentioned, bulgur wheat is made from gluten-containing grains. It’s not gluten-free.
Bulgur won’t be safe for someone with celiac disease. If you eat this grain, you are almost certain of experiencing various celiac-related complications and symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, anemia, diarrhea, constipation, and various other lower digestive issues.
People with mild gluten problems can take some gluten foods, but it's always good to seek the opinion of the doctor.
Top Gluten-Free Bulgur Substitutes
We’ve mentioned that bulgur is not gluten-free, meaning it’s not safe to consume for people on a gluten-free diet or individuals who experience adverse reactions after consuming gluten. The good news is that there are several gluten-free bulgur alternatives out there, which you can use as a substitute for bulgur.
One of the best gluten-free bulgur substitutes is quinoa. Just like bulgur, quinoa is rich in protein. It has a mild, nutty flavor, thus making it a great substitute for bulgur. You can use quinoa as a substitute for bulgur in pilafs, side dishes, salads, pilafs, baked goods and soups.
Another great gluten-free bulgur substitute is buckwheat. Contrary to its name, buckwheat doesn’t have any gluten. As much as its taste may be slightly different from that of bulgur, its uses are similar to bulgur. You can use buckwheat as a substitute for bulgur in a wide range of dishes like stews, soups, or salads.
You can also use amaranth as a gluten-free substitute for bulgur. Amaranth is probably the healthiest option among the gluten-free bulgur alternatives we’ve listed here. It’s rich in magnesium and iron.
This product has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor, making it perfect for breakfast cereals and gluten-free baking.
Riced cauliflower is yet another great gluten-free alternative to bulgur. It has almost the same appearance and texture as bulgur.
It has more nutrients and fewer carbohydrates, meaning it’s a healthier option. Also, riced cauliflower is highly versatile.
You can use it in a wide range of sweet and savory recipes and dishes.
Health Benefits of Bulgur
Bulgur contains fiber which enhances the functioning of the digestive system. With fiber, one is going to prevent common medical conditions that are related to stomach disorders. Bulgur helps in normalizing the bowel movement.
With effective and complete digestion, a lot of health problems can be prevented or managed. In connection to this, whole grains such as bulgur are good for intestinal health.
Bulgur plays an important role in enhancing weight loss. If you take bulgur, you are going to feel full, and you will have a reduced appetite. Managing weight has its benefits such as preventing heart conditions.
The food that one consumes has a direct impact on the likelihood of getting cancer. Taking bulgur has a positive impact in reducing the likelihood of colon cancer.
Bulgur is a reliable source of essential minerals. The University of Maryland says that manganese plays an important role in enhancing brain function, and management is found in foods such as bulgur.
Cooking Bulgur at Home
Making bulgur at home is not only quick but also simple. It requires you to prepare a mix of grain and water.
When preparing bulgur, the best portions are 1.5 cups of water with one cup of bulgur. It will take you just a few minutes to have this food ready. Coarse bulgur will take a longer time to cook when compared to fine bulgur.
If you have celiac disease, cooking bulgur at home will benefit you more because you will choose the ingredients that you desire. You will be able to avoid gluten products.
About THE AUTHOR
I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.Read More About Mark Walker