Cheesy Bulgur — Breakfast of Champions

Shortly after my first cup of coffee, the lingering effects of a hearty dinner faded away to the inevitable morning hunger. My brother and I were looking at a long stretch over arid, dusty trails on the Three Sisters Loop with a To Be Decided campsite for the night. It was definitely the morning to whip up a filling favorite: cheesy bulgur. It might not get you on the front of a cereal box, but as my Dad was famous for saying, “it’ll stick to your ribs.”

As you’ve likely guessed bulgur (cracked wheat) and cheese are the base, but there are an infinite number of variations for the dish. My go-to uses sharp cheddar, bacon, basil, jalapeño, and onion. This is the recipe I’ll lay out for you, but as usual doctor it how you’d like. Also, as is my norm, the portions are on the filling side so adjust as you need. Side note, I like to snack on banana chips for a breakfast dessert with this meal.

At home ingredients and preparation:

Part 1:
  • 2 cups bulgur
  • 3 cups water
  • pinch of kosher salt

Combine bulgur, water, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook until tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Next fluff with a fork. Line your dehydrator trays with parchment and spread the bulgur evenly. Dehydrate for roughly 8 hours or until it is brittle. Bag into 45-55 gram portions according to your appetite. Freeze until you’re hitting the trail.

Part 2:

Each amount is per serving. Bag in individual snack size ziplocks. Refrigerate until departure.

  • 50 grams cheese – shredded or diced
  • 20 grams dehydrated bacon or bacon bits, I buy the softer, bagged kind, not the crunchy salad version
  • 5 grams fresh basil – thinly sliced also known as chiffonade
  • 2 to 5 grams jalapeño – finely diced, seed the pepper first for less spice
  • 15 grams onion – finely diced
  • salt and pepper – I go heavy on the pepper with a pinch of salt and re-season on the trail

I use fresh veggies. If you choose dehydrated ones pack them separately from the bacon and cheese and soak them with the bulgur, adding extra time. I’ve found the bacon bits reasonably shelf stable as is, but the package says to refrigerate after opening. Use common sense here and dehydrate them if you’re concerned about spoilage.

Another favorite version of mine, which is also perfect for dinner, is a mixture of bacon, carmelized onion, gruyere, and mushroom. The main notes for this one are, using minimal oil when carmelizing your onions so they dehydrate better and dehydrating the mushrooms, so rather than express their copious amount of liquid they actually soak up some. Fresh garlic and thyme are a good addition to this and you can substitute sweet onions for the carmelized to eliminate two prep steps.

Beyond those two variations, anything you’d want in an omelette you can put in this recipe. Pepperjack is another favorite of mine, but go with gouda, colby, or gruyere and you won’t be disappointed. As far as meats go I rarely stray from bacon, but dehydrated or freeze dried sausage and ham are excellent options as well. For vegetarians there are many facon options, I tend to like ones made from coconut. For vegans and dairy free people there are a plethora of tasty non-dairy cheeses available, I’m partial to Miyoko’s.

When it comes to veggies I recommend using heartier, but reasonably quick cooking types like kale or chard, bell or poblano pepper, and shallot or onion, For herbs, basil is my all time favorite. Typically I’ll use whatever fresh variety I have on hand; cilantro, oregano, thyme, marjoram, though I highly suggest skipping rosemary due to its potency and toothiness.

Ingredients and instructions for the trail:

  • 1 bag bulgur
  • 1 bag all the good stuff

Bring 3/4 cup water to a boil. Remove from heat, add bulgur and cover for about 10 minutes or until soft. Bring to medium heat and add your bag of goodies. Turn off heat and stir until well mixed. If needed add salt and/or pepper to taste. If you’ve used any dehydrated components remember to rehydrate them as well.

Happy hiking and tasty eating!

That evening’s sunset behind South Sister was a stunning array of hues

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