Bulghur Risotto With Pumpkin

Spring eating is variable, it’s like the weather – changeable. One minute you want something warming and filling the next something light and Summery. Today’s recipe fits Spring weather nicely – light and tasty, adaptable and filling.

As I try and decide which of the MANY winter squash seeds to sow, and how many plants I can possibly squeeze into my veggie plot we are still munching on our stored winter squash; only a couple left to eat now.  Crown Prince is a favourite, reliable, tasty, firm orange flesh, not dry and stringy, a great keeper. Sadly it’s an F1 – something I’m not overjoyed about. It means it’s a hybrid and I can’t save seeds from it – well I could but the likelihood of them coming true is slim. I’m waiting for a nice organic grower to start selling these seeds as true seeds and not F1’s.  

Bulghur Risotto with Pumpkin

Recipe originally from Madhur Jaffrey‘s World Vegetarian

“This dish has a North African / Arab flavour even though it comes from the Greeks of Cyprus”.

Firstly a couple of notes about the recipe –

We’ve made this dish now many, many times and have added the garlic, you can omit  it if you like. When we made this recipe again, I looked back at the original and weighed the ingredients out (we have got used to making this dish by look and feel) and according to Madhur this amount is good for 4-6 people. Well I don’t know what kind of appetites these 4-6 people have but this amount was perfect for 2 of us. We eat it with some grilled Haloumi or crumbled Feta cheese, some Harissa and a green salad, if you are in a meaty frame of mind I’m imagining lamb chops would be perfect. It’s light enough to not make you feel like you have stuffed yourself silly but filling and tasty at the same time. I’m sure if you made this you would love it, and no doubt make your own changes like adding some pinenuts.

Ingredients ~

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • A 4cm / 1 1/2″ stick of cinnamon
  • 1/2 a medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
  • A large piece of pumpkin or butternut squash – when peeled and cored it should weigh about 225g / 8oz. Peeled and chopped into small bite size pieces
  • 120g bulghur wheat

Method ~

  • In a large pan or wok heat the olive oil, when hot add the stick of cinnamon and fry for a minute to release the flavours, now add the chopped onion and garlic and turn the heat to medium and fry until the onion is cooked, but not too brown or burnt
  • Add the pumpkin pieces and then the bulghur wheat and stir them into the onion mix and a pinch of salt. Cook for a few minutes, stirring.
  • Now add 175ml / 6 floz water, stir, bring to the boil and then turn the heat down to low and put a lid on the pan.
  • Cook for 15 minutes, and then check to see if the bulghur is sticking to the bottom of the pan, if it is add a tablespoon of water or two to the bulghur, and replace the lid.
  • Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until both the pumpkin and bulghur are cooked.
  • Turn off the heat and place a clean tea towel over the pan. Leave the mix to sit for 15 minutes.

And one last photo opportunity?


  • Only recently had cinnamon pumpkin ravioli. They would be good as a cold dessert too I suppose, maybe with some sour cream and yellow raisins.

  • This sound delicious, Claire, and I’m with you. Just looking at the list of ingredients and their amounts, however could this be expected to serve 4 to 6 people? I’m glad you included that last photo; it’s a good one!

    • Thanks John, you know I wonder if it was a typo as the recipe actually said 70g?! So I wonder if it should have been 370 or somesuch.

  • Beautiful, beautiful pumpkin! I am crazy about anything to eat with pumpkins or squash. I love that you save your pumpkins to eat later…how do you do that? Where and how do you store them? I would love to do this next fall so I could have a lovely pumpkin dish in the Spring. Isn’t Madhur Jaffrey just the best? Thanks for sharing this great post.

    • Hi Teresa, thanks for your comment you have reminded me how much I take for granted, I forget to write the details down! So I will definitely make a memo to self to talk about storage later in the year, but for now the synopsis is –
      I pick the squash and leave a good long handle (stalk), I wipe them down with a clean cloth (some people use a very weak bleach / water solution to clean them). They then sit on my windowsills until we get round to eating them. I usually leave them a minimum of a month before starting to eat them – it helps the taste etc. What I do find is that I have to check them reguarly to make sure none are going rotten. Over the years I’ve fiigured what are good keepers – the Australian Blue, Crown Prince are very good to store.
      Now storing on a windowsill isn’t recognised as a normal way to store them, most people put them in a cool, sometimes dark room – tops of wardrobes, basements, spare bedrooms, under beds all seem popular. But I like having them to look at – sort of window decorations.
      I hope this helps – I’m looking forward to my canning lessons later in the season 🙂
      And yes Madhur Jaffrey is a star!

  • Maybe they were 6 tiny people who had already eaten before it was time for supper?! Lovely recipe and impressed at how well the squash and pumpkin keep for eating until spring.

  • I love winter squash and pumpkin, and am so admiring the fact that you still have a few! That was a good crop as well as very good planning. I’ve planted some pumpkins, but not winter squash. I think I need to get on it. The funny thing is that I kind of use your posts as a guide and reminder, and our climates and regional differences probably make much of what I’m gleaning not all that accurate. You still inspire me, though, with your careful attention to your garden. And this recipe is wonderful! Beautiful photos, too! Debra

    • Isn’t it strange but fun how we use other peoples blogs as reminders, I do it all the time and yet people are writing from vastly different climates. But I love reading the posts and comments you get so many useful tips and ideas. Blogging really has opened things up for me. And thank you for your kind words Debra, wishing you a lovely day 🙂

  • Crown Prince has the same gorgeous interior color as butternut squash, which is my favorite. Like you, I am down to two squash on my counter: one butternut and one red kabocha. Unlike you, I did not grow them. You are so right about changeable spring weather: today is all breezes and apple blossoms here.

    • I like the way you express yourself “all breezes and apple blossoms”, it conjures up such a distinct image in my mind.
      I’m looking forward to seeing how you cook your butternut and Kabocha, and of course hopefully seeing a painting or two 🙂

    • Thanks Frugal, the Madhur Jaffrey book is great, I’ve had it for years, and still go back to it for inspiration or exact details time and time again.

    • yes, “sweater weather”! As I’ve been back gardening I’ve found I’ve got the classic garden tan – brown hands and white arms (it’s still too cold to garden in short sleeves here) !

  • What a beautiful pumpkin! The contrasting colors are just lovely.

    Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  • This is almost different taste and recipe for me… I have never tasted them all together. My son he loves bulgur so much (we call like that) and pumpkins usually we cook as a dessert… But seemed to me so interesting and worthy to try… and also photographs are so nice too…
    Thank you dear Claire, with my love, nia

    • Thank you Nia, I’ve had many Turkish Bulgur dishes before and they have always been so tasty, I have a real fondness for Turkish cuisine, so flavoursome. YUM !!Wishing you a lovely day my friend 🙂

      • Dear Claire, my beautiful friend, first of all Thank you for your nice words on my emotional day post. You are so nice and I feel myself so lucky with you all.

        Do you know you reminded me to cook bulgur, especially for my son next week, he loves so much… Thank you for this too. And another point, please write to me an e-mail and write to me your post box address because I want to send you a very special surprise… It is one of my favorite. Thank you, Love, nia

        • Nia, it was such a beautiful heartfelt poem, how could I not be touched by it 🙂
          And what a surpirse and mystery, I’ll drop you a line, Claire x

    • Morning Shimon, and thanks for the thumbs up on the photos – I had a bit of fun trying different exposures, and juggling with light levels here, but I hapen to think this particular kind of squash is photogenic and find myself taking way too many photos.

  • That pumpkin is pretty neat, but It’s your recipe that has me going. I want to try this! I think I’ll try the butternut squash version.

    • Before we used to grow our own winter squash we always used Butternut, it tastes great with the Bulghur – it’s nice a firm and holds up well in the cooking. I hope you like it!!

  • So funny – we turned chilly and damp on Tuesday, and Hubby made a roast chicken and au gratin potatoes…he was NOT feeling light and spring-y!
    Alas, my winter squash stores are all used-up…can’t wait to plant more!

  • Your squash has done so well , keeping all this time, and this tasty dinner! you must be thrilled to be home.. c

    • Thanks Celi, thrilled? Hmmmm not sure, displaced is more accurate right now. I think what I need to do is get out and about for a walk with my camera and see what happens and what inspires

  • Of course I like the addition of garlic! LOL You know I did not even think twice about the measurements but thought it was like Asian portions as food and especially squash is ungodly expensive here.

    • He he, feel free to add as much garlic as you like! I had no idea that suash is so expensive where you are, isn’t it strange what is cheaper and not in other parts of the world, I can never quite figure it out!

  • This is my sort of dish, Claire.. I’m bookmarking to make this soon. I love the idea of tossing in a cinnamon stick while heating the oil.. very unique and I’m sure the flavor would be more intense! Yumm!! xo Smidge

    • It’s very simple, you just have to watch the bulghur doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan (I use a non stick wok with a lid). And yes the cinnamon flavours the oil, gently 🙂

Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s