I've stumbled upon a delicious dish that's ended up evoking some great memories! I *LOVE* trying exotic & ethnic cuisine. Several years ago, my British BFF Hayley & I went out for an Ethiopian feast. Scooping up the food with injera (spongy flatbread) was wonderful; my favorite dishes were vegetarian wats - split peas & lentils cooked with berbere sauce. It was a great experience I've never forgotten! Another dish that I fell in love with around that same time is Mediterranean Tomato Kibbe - essentially bulgar (cracked wheat) cooked in tomatoes & spices. Both have similar textures - thicker than a stew, but spoonable.
I talked this fall about my love affair with Trader Joe's 17 Bean & Barley Soup. I stocked up with literally 10 bags at Christmas, and I've been making it just as I described:
*(quick-)soak 1 bag Trader Joe's 17 Bean & Barley Soup (or ANY bean soup, really)
*drain & rinse
*put in pot with 2 cans diced tomatoes & 2 cups chicken stock, as well as garlic (fresh or ground), onion (sautéed or powder), and Mrs. Dash Italian Blend - all to taste
...until I decided the other day to also dump some bulgar (cracked wheat) into the pot, as well! (How much? Ummm, I dunno. I just dumped. More than 1/2 but maybe not a full cup? It doesn't really matter. :-)) I left it all to simmer, and when I checked back, I was thrilled! It was no longer a soup - the bulgar wheat had absorbed the tomato juice & chicken stock to puff up like rice. It was totally kibbe/wat consistency, and with the two main components of each - bulgar and split peas & lentils - along with the tomato, stock, & spices, it's a flavor profile made in heaven.
This stuff is amazing, cheap to make, and SO healthy! Full of dietary fiber, protein, vitamins, & minerals, while having just minuscule amounts of fat & sugar. The bulgar creates almost a creamy texture, very much like risotto. It's divine.