Runner’s Recipe: Tomato and Chickpea Stew with Bulgar

I’ve never been one to follow recipes before, so when Noah’s mom presented me with a Turkish cookbook for Chanukah (I heart Turkish food), I considered it a challenge. Because, although I’m not exactly a picky eater, I am particularly picky about how my food is prepared.


I love the control I get from cooking in my own home. Butter? Whole milk? Ehh, I’m fine with it, but I typically save such ingredients for hearty restaurant meals. On my turf, I try to appreciate the value of nutritious items, instead doctoring up delicious recipes with healthful twists and turns for a dish I can be proud of putting in my body.

One of the first dishes I decided to try was tomato and bulgar stew served with a garlicky yogurt. It’s listed in the cookbook as an appetizer or side dish, and so in true Stacy fashion, I decided to add chickpeas to the mix (both for bulk and the addition of protein, as most meals cooked in my apartment are meatless). Plus, chickpeas are a traditional Turkish ingredient and would pair well with the others, I figured.

If you’re looking for an incredibly easy recipe that requires little more than what’s already on your shelves, then I definitely suggest trying this one out. Served warm on a cold day or cold in the summer, it’s the perfect little meal for the person with a taste for Turkish or the runner concerned with effective fueling.

Below, I’ve written the entire recipe as it appears in the cookbook. In bold, you’ll see changes, additions and exclusions if you’re a health-fiend like myself.



What You Need

2 tablespoons butter ***I left out the butter and replaced it with a little extra EVOO instead

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil ***To make up for the butter, I added 1 to 2 tablespoons of EVOO

2 medium onions, finely chopped ***I used a small and a medium onion

3 to 4 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut into quarters

3 tablespoons coarse bulgar ***I went with four tablespoons since I like the grainy texture and wanted to create a meal

1/3 cup water, if needed

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley

What To Do

1. In a 3-quart pot over medium heat, heat the butter and olive oil. ***I only heated olive oil here

2. Saute the onions and garlic, stirring constantly, 4 to 5 minutes.



3. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook for 10 minutes. ***I forgot to peel my tomatoes in advance. This wasn’t a big deal, as the skin peeled off naturally, and I was able to pick most out (and put them right into my mouth).


4. Add the bulgar, salt and pepper to taste. ***I also added the chickpeas here. Also, I actually incorporated the salt and pepper about 5 minutes into step 3, then waited 5 minutes for the mixture to become infused with the spices before adding bulgar. I’m not sure if it makes a difference, really.


5. Mix well; if there is not about 1/2 cup of liquid in the pot from the tomatoes and onions, add water. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.


6. If all the liquid has been absorbed and the bulgar is not cooked, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of water and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes, covered, over low heat.

7. Remove from heat and place the stew in a shallow serving dish. Adjust seasoning if desired. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with Garlicky Yogurt and whole wheat bread.


8. To make Garlicky Yogurt: Simply add 3 minced garlic cloves and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt to 1 1/2 cups of plain yogurt (I used fat-free).


9. Serve all together, and add a side salad if you’re still looking for more veggies and greens.


  • Is this a recipe you’d ever cook up? Would you serve it as an appetizer, as listed in the cookbook, or for a full meal (which I did)? As runners, athletes, health nuts, whatever, would you make any additional changes?

21 thoughts on “Runner’s Recipe: Tomato and Chickpea Stew with Bulgar

  1. Looks great, I definitely want to try it. I am trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals and healthier. I was curious if the cookbook listed any nutitional information. Thanks for posting.

    • No calories or anything like that. Considering most of the dishes list lamb and butter among its main ingredients, that’s probably a good thing. I tend to take these types of recipes and then healthify / vegetarianize them. This one happened to be (mostly) healthy.

    • I couldn’t do it any other way either! Because when I eat out too often, all I crave are clean, “at-home” ingredients. It’s nice to have a balance in a natural way.

    • I couldn’t do it any other way either! Because when I eat out too often, all I crave are clean, “at-home” ingredients. It’s nice to have a balance in a natural way.

      • Exactly! I also find that traveling can sometimes be hard. When we stay in hotels, it’s harder to prepare our own food, but not every restaurant serves the healthy meals I’m craving!

  2. yummo!! I will defo try this as I stopped eating meat and poultry about a year ago so chickpeas and bulgar wheat have been a big part of my diet ever since! I just have one question as a non-USandA person…..what is this Evoooooooo you speak of? is it an oil or a fat and what would be the equivalent in Aussie-Pom speak please? 🙂 P.S still not running but have been on some very long bike rides…..wee bit hot for anything other than swimming at the moment!

  3. That looks SO freaking good. Your adaptation sounds even better than the book’s – so hearty! I would totally go nuts for some garlic naan with that…even though Indian and Turkish are such different cuisines it still sounds like a great pairing!

    • Actually, one of my favorite hummus dips comes from an Indian market near me! Not so different after all, though I’ll admit, there are zero Indian spices in the dip. Maybe that’s why it works.

  4. That looks super yum! I’m definitely going to try it. If you like Turkish, you would LOVE my absolute favorite restaurant in my neighborhood (Upper East Side). It’s called Beyoglu and it’s on 81st and 3rd and it is to DIE FOR. The portions are huge and the prices are reasonable the the food is delish. Definitely go with sharing friends because it’s the type of place you get a couple of things and try it all!

    • I’ve heard of this place and have been wanting to try it for a while! Have you been to Agora? It’s tough for me to branch out with that one. It’s BYOB, incredibly cheap, super cute, and basically all of the food is cooked in the back by a grandma. I suppose I’ll have to try Beyoglu eventually though. It’s time.

      • And I’ve mean meaning to try Agora! I feel the same way you do, because every time I think about going I’m like, “well…I could also go back to Beyoglu for the 10000000th time…” Maybe someday we should orchestrate a trade and then report back?

  5. Yum this looks delicious! I actually made Middle Eastern food last night. It’s probably my favorite food because even if I stuff myself, I never feel gross.

    Have you by chance heard of any good Middle Eastern places on the UWS? I never venture to the UES for restaurants…

  6. Pingback: 5 Ways to Add Value to Your Life in 2013 « Will Run For Glitter

  7. Pingback: Turkish Dinner Pt. 2: Bulgar Pilaf with Vegetables « Will Run For Glitter

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