Turkish Bulgur and Vegetable Pilaf

Bulgur and vegetable pilaf

The Spruce 

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
401 Calories
12g Fat
67g Carbs
13g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 401
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 785mg 34%
Total Carbohydrate 67g 24%
Dietary Fiber 11g 40%
Protein 13g
Calcium 59mg 5%
*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.)

Click Play to See This Turkish Bulgur and Vegetable Pilaf Recipe Come Together

Whether you are looking for a new and tasty side dish or you are trying to get your family to eat healthier, it's the perfect time to try a traditional Turkish recipe for bulgur pilaf with vegetables. It is an simple and delicious way to get all the nutritional benefits of bulgur wheat, as well as tomatoes and peppers while enjoying the flavors from Turkey. Bulgur pilaf with vegetables is the perfect side dish to go with grilled meats and chicken, or just about any time you might eat rice.

If you've never tried bulgur, also called bulgar wheat, don't worry—it's more familiar than you think. Bulgar is used in a number of Middle Eastern recipes and is comparable to rice and couscous but has a nutty flavor and chewy texture. 

This pilaf dish most resembles Spanish rice, but with a heartier, nuttier flavor due to the use of bulgar. Like many Turkish dishes, it is made with very economical ingredients that are easy to find; you may actually already have most of them on hand. You can find bulgur in most supermarkets in the rice, international foods, Latin, or organic food sections, as well as online and at any Middle Eastern or Greek groceries.


  • 2 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable (or olive oil)
  • 1 medium onion (grated and drained well)
  • 1 large tomato (grated, with juice)
  • 1 small green bell pepper (grated)
  • 2 cups bulgur (coarse)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or water)
  • Garnish: fresh or grilled pepper, chopped tomato, and fresh Italian parsley

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for bulgur and vegetable pilaf
    The Spruce
  2. Melt the butter together with the oil in a covered skillet or shallow pan. Fry the drained grated onion until tender but not brown—about 5 minutes.

    Melt and the butter and oil
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  3. Add the grated tomato and juice and the grated pepper and continue to fry until the vegetables have softened and the liquid is reduced.

    Add the grated tomato and juice
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  4. Add the bulgur and stir well to combine using a wooden spoon.

    Stirring bulgur
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  5. Add the salt, pepper, tomato paste, sugar, and broth and stir until combined. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low.

    Add spices
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  6. Let the bulgur simmer gently until all the liquid has been absorbed - about 15 to 20 minutes. Keeping the pan covered, remove it from the heat and set it aside to cool down. 

    Let the bulgur simmer
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  7. Gently stir the pilaf before serving to make sure all the ingredients are well blended.

    Gently stir the pilaf
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  8. Garnish each serving with a piece of fresh or grilled pepper, tomato, and some fresh Italian parsley. Serve and enjoy!

    Garnish and serve
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  • After grating the onion, be sure to set it in a colander to drain; it's important to remove all of the liquid, or else the mixture will taste bitter.
  • Once you remove the pan from the heat, the bulgur will continue to steam; for more even steaming, place a few paper towels or a sheet of newspaper under the lid. Do not remove the lid until ready to serve.

Watch Now: Easy and Tasty Bulgur Variation