Bulgur with Lamb, Chickpeas, Spinach and Prunes

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

In the Middle East, bulgur and dried fruits are often combined with meat, with memorable results. Serve this dish hot or at room temperature, accompanied by a salad of arugula dressed with a lemony vinaigrette. These sharp and acidic ingredients balance out the richness of the lamb and the sweetness of the prunes.

NotesSpeed Tip: Since there are many good, strong flavors in this dish, it’s an ideal recipe to use minced dried onion instead of taking the time to peel and chop a fresh onion.

Serves4 to 6

Cooking Methodstewing



Total Timeunder 30 minutes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionFamily Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free


Taste and Texturemeaty, savory, spiced, sweet


  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 2 tablespoons minced dried onion (see Notes)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon harissa or ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1¼ cups coarse bulgur
  • 1 can (15 or 19 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 10 large pitted prunes, quartered
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Heat the oil in a heavy 12-inch sauté pan or high-sided skillet over high heat. Add the lamb, onion, and cinnamon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lamb loses its pink color, about 3 minutes. Drain off the fat.

  2. Gradually add the broth, 1 cup of water, and the salt. Blend in the harissa. Bring to a boil.

  3. Stir in the bulgur, chickpeas, and prunes. Set the block of spinach on top. Cover and cook over high heat for 5 minutes.

  4. Break up the spinach and stir it in. Cover and continue cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir in a bit more water if the mixture seems dry and the bulgur is not quite tender. Adjust the seasonings, adding black pepper to taste and more harissa, if desired. Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes or until ready to serve.

  5. Stir in the pine nuts and 1/4 cup cilantro. Garnish individual portions with the remaining cilantro.

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