This Lebanese style bulgur pilaf recipe is hearty, healthy and delicious; it is full of fiber & infinitely customizable – a meal the whole family will love!
This Lebanese style bulgur wheat pilaf recipe is a hearty, healthy and delicious recipe. It’s full of fiber and infinitely customizable – a meal my hubby and kids are obsessed with! We eat it on its own with a spoon, with pita bread and olive oil like a dip, or as a starchy side with chicken or beef.
Today, I want to share with you a popular grain that I eat a lot of of – bulgur. In traditional Lebanese cuisine, we eat a lot of rice, couscous and bulgur. And one of my favorite ways of eating bulgur growing up is this way – as a bulgur pilaf! It’s an easy flavorful vegan recipe that you can eat as an entree or side dish.
What is bulgur (bulgar)?
You’ve probably heard of bulgur wheat used to make tabbouleh and other Mediterranean dishes.
It’s a nutty Middle Eastern grain, with a chewy texture that comes in a few different sizes. Traditionally, you would use the super fine variety in tabbouleh, and the more coarse variety in a pilaf or rice-type dishes. They are actually labeled in stores from #1 which is super fine, to #4 which is more coarse. I typically use #2 or #3 in this bulgur pilaf recipe.
Compared to processed and refined carbohydrates, whole grains like bulgur wheat contain more filling fiber. They also have more vitamins and minerals that support weight loss, according to many weight loss experts.
I would love for you to try it for your family! If nothing else, just try using bulgur wheat instead of rice in your favorite rice pilaf dish. Even when you compare bulgur to brown rice, it still has twice the fiber and on average more minerals/nutrients and all that good stuff our body craves. Now, that’s what mean when they say good carbs!
How do you make bulgur pilaf
To start, soak the bulgur in some water, which makes it softer and easier to chew on. While that’s soaking for 15 minutes, chop the vegetables super fine and heat up the tomato paste with olive oil. The bulgur will get its red color from the two tablespoons of tomato paste that you mix into the bulgur. One trick I learned from my husband’s mom is fry the tomato paste with the olive oil which gives it a more robust flavor.
Once the bulgur absorbs all the liquid it was soaking in, fluff it up and add it to the plate full of the chopped vegetables.
Now, mix it all together until all the bulgur is coated with the tomato paste. At this point, the recipe is pretty much done, but you can also add some cumin spice to it to enhance the flavors.
Top Tips to Make Bulgur Pilaf
- Soak the bulgur until all of the water has been fully absorbed.
- Leftovers will keep covered in the fridge for about 7 days.
- Use organic and fresh ingredients for the best flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can you buy bulgur wheat?
You can find the bulgur at Middle Eastern markets, natural-foods stores or even in large supermarkets, often located with other Middle Eastern ingredients. You can also buy it online.
What do you serve with bulgur wheat pilaf?
You can eat the bulgur pilaf as is, or try adding condiments like olives, pickled peppers and extra olive oil and eating with with pita bread. If you’re looking for some Mediterranean protein ideas to serve with the bulgur pilaf, try:
What are the health benefits of bulgur wheat?
Bulgur wheat is a whole grain and it is packed with vitamins and minerals. It is a fiber rich food which can improve digestion and gut health. Compared to rice, it has fewer calories, less fat and more fiber and folate than brown rice.
I really hope you enjoy this family favorite dish! It’s so easy and quick to make and the flavors are so fresh!
For more rice and grain dishes, check out:
This recipe was originally shared on the blog on November 3, 2016 and has been updated now to include new photos.
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feelgood Bulgur Pilaf recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste 1/2 the small 6oz can
- 1 vine ripe tomato finely chopped
- 1/4 green pepper finely chopped
- 1 green onion finely chopped
- 1/4 small red onion finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon parsley finely chopped
- 1 ½ cups fine bulgur wheat
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Heat olive oil in a small pot. Add the tomato paste and lightly fry until the tomato paste becomes fully incorporated with the olive oil and becomes fragrant.
- Soak the bulgur with 1 cup of water for 10-15 minutes, occasionally fluffing until the water is fully absorbed
- Combine the soaked bulgur, tomato paste, fresh tomatoes, green pepper, green onions, red onions, parsley and ground cumin. Mix well until the bulgur is well coated by the tomato paste and remaining ingredients
- Serve hot or cold, on its own with pita bread or as a a side dish
- Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. This will last about 7 in the fridge.
- Sourcing: You can find the bulgur at Middle Eastern markets, natural-foods stores or even in large supermarkets, often located with other Middle Eastern ingredients.