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It won't break the bank. It's at home in dozens of dishes. It packs far more fiber than brown rice, yet cooks in a fraction of the time.

Who knew that unassuming bulgur could do all that? Fact is, when you want a break from rice or pasta, you can't do much better than nutty-tasting bulgur. Here's why:

It's versatile

Tabbouleh—a Middle Eastern bulgur salad with parsley, mint, scallions, and tomato—is only the beginning. Say hello to your new go-to grain for pilafs, salads, grain bowls, and soups. It's also a great whole-grain sub for couscous.

Tired of oatmeal? Heat up some bulgur with cinnamon, apples or pears, and walnuts or pecans. Mmm.

It's a timesaver

Bulgur—dried cracked wheat that's been steamed or parboiled—is a breeze. Just add boiling water, cover, soak for 10 to 15 minutes, then drain. That's for a "fine" or couscous-size grind; a coarser or "medium" grind like Bob's Red Mill Red Bulgur needs a simmer or a longer soak.

It's a superstar

A serving of bulgur (about 3/4 cup cooked) has roughly 5 grams of fiber, plus a decent dose of the vitamins and minerals you'd expect from a whole grain—magnesium, iron, zinc, and a bunch of B vitamins. Nice!

Don't feel like hunting down a recipe?

The Healthy Cook's Pistachio Citrus Bulgur is a simple, knock-your-socks-off place to start.