Turkish Bulgur and Vegetable Pilaf

Bulgur and vegetable pilaf
Bulgur and vegetable pilaf is flavored with grated tomato, pepper and onion and cooked in stock.

Elizabeth Taviloglu

  • Total: 35 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings (4 portions)
Ratings (60)

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 easy 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 wheat, don't worry—it's more familiar than you think. This dish most resembles Spanish rice, but with a heartier, nuttier flavor. 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, ethnic foods, Latin, or organic food sections, as well as online and at any Middle Eastern or Greek groceries.

What You'll Need

  • 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 pepper (grated)
  • 2 cups coarse bulgur
  • 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

How to Make It

  1. 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.
  2. Add the grated tomato and juice and the grated pepper and continue to fry until the vegetables have softened and the liquid is reduced.
  3. Add the bulgur and stir well to combine using a wooden spoon.
  4. 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.
  1. Let the bulgur simmer gently until all the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Keeping the pan covered, remove it from the heat and set it aside to cool down. 
  2. Gently stir the pilaf before serving to make sure all the ingredients are well blended. Garnish each serving with a piece of fresh or grilled pepper, tomato, and some fresh Italian parsley.


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.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
401 Calories
12g Fat
67g Carbs
13g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)