Bulgur and Summer Vegetable Salad

Bulgur Salad
Dorling Kindersley/Charlotte Tolhurst/Getty Images
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
222 Calories
13g Fat
25g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 222
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 885mg 38%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Protein 5g
Calcium 53mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

In Turkish cuisine, bulgur, better known as ‘cracked wheat,' is a staple and one of the most common ingredients found in Turkish pantries. Bulgur is used in everything from main courses and side dishes to desserts. It is also made into a summer salad when combined with seasonal vegetables and herbs and is called bulgur ve yaz sebze salatası in Turkish. In this recipe, the cracked wheat is paired with summer squashes, vine-ripened tomatoes, and fresh basil. It’s not only good for you, but it’s also colorful and festive enough for company. The best part is that you can make it ahead of time as it stores well in the refrigerator.


  • 1 1/2 cups fine bulgur
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 zucchini or courgette squash
  • 1 yellow summer squash
  • 2 cups ripe cherry tomatoes or mini heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Steps to Make It

  1. In a large saucepan, add the bulgur, water, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover the pan. Let the bulgur simmer gently until all the water evaporates. Turn off the heat and let the bulgur continue to steam and cool down.

  2. In the meantime, prepare the vegetables. Wash and dice the squash, and cut the tomatoes in halves or quarters depending on their size. Wash the basil leaves and pinch off the stems.

  3. In a skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil and saute the diced squash for a few minutes until slightly softened. Set aside and let it cool.

  4. When the bulgur is completely cool, use your fingers or a wooden spoon to separate the grains. Add the salt and toss it through. Pour in the 1/3 cup olive oil and work it through all the bulgur evenly. Add the lemon juice and mix again.

  5. Add the cooled chopped vegetables to the bulgur and toss gently but thoroughly. Add the tomatoes and basil leaves and again, toss them through. (If the basil leaves are very large, you can tear them into smaller pieces before you add them.) 

  6. Either serve immediately or chill until later. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Using Bulgur Wheat

As bulgur is a staple in Turkey, it is used in many different ways. It is a binding agent in many meatball recipes like İzmir köftesi. Pilafs made with bulgur rather than rice, such as bulgur and vegetable pilaf, are favorites alongside grilled meats and poultry. You’ll find delicious tomato-y bulgur pilaf as the side dish of choice in many kebab restaurants.

There are also many ways to use bulgur in cold salads. Bulgur and fresh herb salad and bulgur salad with pomegranate seeds and mint are only some examples of newer ways to use bulgur. These recipes make wonderful side dishes at barbecues and other hot weather meals. They are also popular with health-conscious folks looking for dishes with healthy carbs and less fat.