Turkish Bulgur Pilaf

September 28, 2021mayurisjikoni




Turkish Bulgur Pilaf is a healthy, nutritious, tasty, vegan one pot meal that comes together within 30 minutes. Especially popular as a side dish or as a main meal, the main flavour is from the herbs, onion and tomato.

As a matter of fact, Bulgur Pilaf is a common Middle Eastern side dish served with kebab, grilled meat. However, many families enjoy it on its own with some plain yogurt or tzatziki.


What is Bulgur?

Bulgur, Burghul or Bulgar is a wholegrain that contains more fiber and protein. Specifically, it is a staple in the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Cuisine. In fact, it is cracked wheat that is parboiled, dried, and then broken into various smaller pieces.

Interestingly, bulgur wheat comes as fine, medium, coarse and extra course. Usually, the fine variety is used for salads like Tabbouleh. Generally, is not cooked but soaked in hot water. On the other hand, the other sizes need to be cooked in water or stock like we do with rice. However, cooking time depends on the size of the bulgur. Actually, to make a good pilaf, it is best to use coarse or extra coarse bulgur. You don’t need to wash bulgur before cooking it.

Is Bulgur Wheat and Dalia (cracked wheat) the same?

Certainly, they are not. Though both are wheat based grains, bulgur is parboiled and cracked while dalia or cracked wheat is not parboiled. Raw wheat berries are crushed for dalia.


A bit about the group:

In brief, every month a new theme is chosen by members. Furthermore, the participants are paired up. In turn, they give each other 2 secret ingredients to use in their recipe which is prepared fitting the theme. As soon as their dish is ready, the photo is shared on our Facebook group. Afterwards, the others try and guess the secret ingredients. Towards the end of the month the recipe is shared on the group. Furthermore, this way members get to know each other and interact with each other.

This Month’s Theme

This Month’s Theme, EXOTIC BIRYANI AND PULAO, is suggested by Swaty who blogs at Food Trails. In short, her suggestion was to make any biryani or pulao Indian or International using any grain that we want to. I made up my mind to use bulgur wheat.

Swaty has a huge collection of biryanis and pulao. Check out her 24 different dishes. From the list I definitely want to try out the Gatte Ke Pulao and Pearl Pulao. The ‘pearls’ are small fried paneer balls. As for this theme, Swaty has prepared an exotic, delicious Kathal ki Biryani/Jackfruit Biryani.

My Partner

This month I teamed up with Priya Iyer who blogs at The World Through My Eyes. In brief, from her blog I would love to try out Fragrant Lemon Scented Rice using the famous Gondhoraj Lebu. This fragrant lemon is very popular in West Bengal.

We gave each ingredients that we normally would use to make biryani or pulao. While Priya gave me mint and garlic which worked perfectly well for my Turkish Bulgur Pilaf, I gave her shahi jeera and garlic. Using those two ingredients she has prepared a lovely, inviting Matar Pulav.

My Favourite Rice Dishes

Vangi Bath/Eggplant Rice, Maharashtrian Style is a flavourful, filling,easy to make, one pot rice dish that is best enjoyed with some raita (yogurt relish), salad and papad.
Check out this recipe
Restaurant style, vegetarian Mexican Style Rice, loaded with vegetables. Homemade is million times better as you can add a variety of veggies and its so flavourful.
Check out this recipe

Mushroom Egg Fried Rice

Beetroot Rice

Lemon Rice

Spinach Rice

Khatti Kanki – Gujarati Style Curd Rice


Turkish Bulgur Pilaf

Since the time enjoyed Bulgur Pilaf at a Turkish Restaurant in Montreal – Avesta, I’d wanted to try out the recipe. At the moment, the airbnb hubby and I are staying at, the nearest supermarkets on either side are about 25-30 minutes walking distance. Both did not stock coarse bulgur wheat.

Indeed, Hubby and I have been trying to walk everyday, our steps ranging between 5000 – 10,000 or more. Making the best of good weather, walking paths before winter sets in. My son recommended we try out an Epicerie which sells Middle Eastern goodies. In fact, the walk to that place and back was nearly 10,500 steps. Armed with a bag of extra coarse bulgur wheat and fresh tomatoes, was ready to make the delicious quick meal.


Can I Add Other Ingredients To The Bulgur Pilaf?

Most certainly you can, ranging from meats, other vegetables to vermicelli. Add feta, nuts, olives, herbs of your choice, lentils, etc. However, the basic one is with onion, tomatoes and herbs.

In general, to make it into a wholesome and filling meal I added some chickpeas. Overall, with plain yogurt it was really tasty.


Ingredients Required For Turkish Bulgur Pilaf

  • Bulgur – coarse or extra coarse
  • Chickpeas – cooked. Can use canned or soaked and cooked ones. Can replace it with mixed vegetables, or meat.
  • Olive Oil
  • Red Onion – peeled and finely chopped
  • Bell Pepper – usually green one is used but I used the red one. Deseed and finely chopped.
  • Garlic – peeled and minced
  • Tomato Paste – you know the really thick variety you get. Like cirio, cento, hunts, etc. Use good quality.
  • Chopped Tomato – prefer to use fresh ones. But can used canned ones too.
  • Stock or Water – I used vegetable stock.
  • Cinnamon Powder
  • Cumin Powder
  • Red Chilli Flakes – optional
  • Pepper Powder
  • Salt – add according to your taste
  • Fresh Parsley – finely chopped
  • Fresh Mint – chopped

Check Out The Easy Step By Step Video






Turkish Bulgur Pilaf is a healthy, nutritious, tasty, vegan one pot meal that comes together within 30 minutes. Especially popular as a side dish or as a main meal, the main flavour is from the herbs, onion and tomato.
5 from 16 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Light Meal, Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean, Turkish
Servings 2


  • 1 cup bulgur wheat coarse or extra coarse
  • cups chickpeas cooked
  • 1 medium red onion peeled and diced
  • 1 medium bell pepper diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 large tomatoes diced
  • 2 cups stock or water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • ¼ tsp pepper powder
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp mint chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley chopped


  • Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.
  • Add onion and stir fry for a few seconds.
  • Add garlic and chopped bell pepper. Stir fry and allow it to cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, mix well. Cover the pan and allow the mixture to cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add tomato paste, salt, cinnamon, cumin and pepper powders and mix well.
  • Add bulgur wheat, chickpeas and stock or water. Mix well.
  • Cover the pan and allow the mixture to cook for 15 minutes.
  • Check if the bulgur wheat is cooked. If not add a little more water and cook. Mine was done in 15 minutes.
  • Add chilli flakes, parsley and mint. Mix well. Switch off the heat.
  • Cover the pan and allow the bulgur pilaf to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Serve hot Turkish Bulgur Pilaf with some yogurt or with grilled meat, kebabs.


  • The general rule to follow is for every cup of extra coarse bulgur you need 2 cups of liquid.
  • Add vegetables or meat of your choice.
  • Serve with feta cheese and olives.
  • Adjust spices according to your taste.
  • Don't omit adding tomato paste as that adds a tangy or umami flavour to the pilaf.
Keyword bulgur pilaf with tomatoes, Turkish Bulgur Pilaf

Pin For Later:

A little request:

If you do try this recipe then please either

  • add a comment below,
  • send a picture to my email mayuri.ajay.patel62@gmail.com
  • tag me as #mayuri_jikoni on Instagram
  • or tag me on Twitter as #Mayuri1962




  • Priya vj

    September 30, 2021 at 2:21 pm

    5 stars
    Bulgar pilaf looks superb and very inviting. A very informative and interesting read about bulgar wheat on your post

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 1, 2021 at 9:09 pm

      thank you so much Priya.

      1. The Girl Next Door

        October 14, 2021 at 2:11 am

        5 stars
        Love the look and sound of this Turkish-style Bulgur Pilaf. Can make out how flavourful it must be.

        I have never cooked with Bulgur wheat before. After reading that interesting note about it on your blog, I’m very much tempted to.

      2. mayurisjikoni

        October 16, 2021 at 5:15 pm

        Thanks Priya, am sure you’ll be able to get it from Amazon, Food Hall or Big Basket. Try it, we love the lovely nutty flavour.

  • Preeti Shridhar

    October 2, 2021 at 10:21 am

    5 stars
    The other day I saw all sizes of bulgar wheat at an Indian store. I didn’t know which one to pick up for salads. Your recipe has come at the right time. Learnt so much from this post. Now I will confidently pick up finest one for salad and extra coarse to try your Turkish Bulgar Pilaf, which sounds so delicious. I can already imagine it with spicy pickled olives on the side.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 2, 2021 at 3:12 pm

      Thank you so much Preeti and you’re welcome. With olives it will taste awesome.

  • Renu

    October 13, 2021 at 10:05 am

    5 stars
    Bulgar Pilaf looks so good and healthy with chickpeas, a perfect balance. The pilaf looks quite chatpata , with all that spices.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 13, 2021 at 8:11 pm

      Thanks Renu, the pilaf is flavourful but not hot as it has no chillis.. except for paprika. Made it for the Thanksgiving lunch and the family loved it.

  • Shobha Keshwani

    October 14, 2021 at 6:25 am

    5 stars
    I love trying out different cuisines. This is really an innovative dish. I have used bulgur only in making salads and kibbe. Now I have a new dish to try out. I am sure hubby will like it a lot.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 16, 2021 at 5:13 pm

      Thank you so much Shobha. Make sure you use the coarse variety and not the fine one as we do for salads.

  • Swati

    October 14, 2021 at 11:48 pm

    5 stars
    Never tried bulgur in pulao, Always use it for salads (the finer variety). I will love to try this soon. Thanks for explaining exactly what type of bulgur to in pilaf and how different it is from our Indian Dalia.. Wonderful share.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 16, 2021 at 5:11 pm

      Thank you so much Swati. As you make a huge variety of International food am sure you’ll like this bulgur pilaf.

  • Poonam Bachhav

    October 15, 2021 at 2:34 pm

    5 stars
    I love reading your blog posts as they are so informative. This Bulgar pilaf looks absolutely flavorful ! I also prefer keeping my rice dishes less spicy.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 16, 2021 at 5:06 pm

      Thank you so much Poonam.

  • Anu Kollon

    October 16, 2021 at 9:01 am

    5 stars
    This Turkish Bulgar Pilaf is so exotic, authentic, and healthy too. I love the fact it is mild on spices and my family would love it. Definitely going to try this.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 16, 2021 at 5:04 pm

      Thank you so much Anu, please give a feedback when you try out the recipe.

  • Vasusvegkitchen

    October 17, 2021 at 5:03 am

    5 stars
    Bulgur pilaf sounds very interesting and looks very exotic. You gave detailed information about bulgur. Liked the combination of bulgur and chickpeas, adding this recipe in my do list to try soon.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 19, 2021 at 3:08 pm

      Thank you so much Aruna and am glad you found my post interesting. Please do give the recipe a try.

  • Jayashree T.Rao

    October 19, 2021 at 3:02 am

    5 stars
    Bulgur pilaf is a good way to have a tasty and healthy meal. This is a nice post about using bulgur wheat.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 19, 2021 at 3:03 pm

      Thank you so much Jayashree.

  • Sujata Roy

    October 19, 2021 at 9:07 am

    5 stars
    Turkish bulgur pilaf looks super tempting nutritious and flavorful. Never tasted anything with bulgur. Thanks for the recipe. I love one pot dishes. Now here is a tried and tasted new recipe to try.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 19, 2021 at 3:01 pm

      Thank you so much Sujata. Bulgur tastes a bit like our dalia. But it takes a shorter time to cook as it is precooked before crushing it.

  • Seema Sriram

    October 19, 2021 at 5:27 pm

    5 stars
    This weekend we have some friends coming over. It will be very exciting to try this turkish bulgur pilafrecipe for them. I may add some olives as you have suggested as well.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 23, 2021 at 7:40 pm

      Thank you so much Seema. Enjoy the pilaf with your friends.

  • kalyani

    October 20, 2021 at 8:34 am

    5 stars
    for the longest time, I thought bulgur wheat and dalia were interchangeably used. Thanks for mentioning it here too. the pilaf looks super appetising with all the aromats and the texture…

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 23, 2021 at 7:38 pm

      Thank you so much Kalyani. I too thought it is interchangeable till I watched a Lebanese Cookery Show.

  • Narmadha

    October 20, 2021 at 1:18 pm

    5 stars
    That is interesting reading about Bulgur wheat and this Turkish delight. With all those spices bulgur pilaf must be so flavorful and delicious. Making it a one-pot meal saves a lot of time. so quick and easy to prepare too.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 23, 2021 at 7:37 pm

      Thank you so much Narmadha, it is a quick one pot meal and very healthy. My family loves it.

  • Sasmita Sahoo

    October 20, 2021 at 1:48 pm

    Turkish Bulgur Pilaf sounds interesting … Such an exotic-looking pilaf here.
    Love the combo of bulgur and chickpeas in this pilaf which makes the whole dish super temptingly nutritious and flavorful too.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 23, 2021 at 7:36 pm

      Thank you so much Sasmita.

  • Preethicuisine

    October 31, 2021 at 4:52 am

    5 stars
    Turkish Bulgur pilaf looks scrumptious. I love one pot meals that has become a staple at my place these days. I can’t wait to try this delicious pilaf. It is so nutritious and delicious

    1. mayurisjikoni

      October 31, 2021 at 6:09 pm

      Thank you so much Preethi. It definitely is an easy to make and delicious dish.

  • Rafeeda – The Big Sweet Tooth

    November 5, 2021 at 2:26 pm

    5 stars
    What a beautiful dish this one is! I have had bulgur and it tastes so much like broken wheat. I am intrigued by how this pilaf would have tasted… Bet it is delicious…

    1. mayurisjikoni

      November 8, 2021 at 8:25 pm

      Thank you so much Rafeeda, it has a nutty and delicious taste. Am sure you will be able to source coarse bulgur.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Post Next Post

Example Colors

%d bloggers like this: