Bulgur Pilaf

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Bulgur Pilaf is a classic Turkish side dish that is simply made from Bulgur. It has very rich nutritional benefits because of Bulgur characteristics. One of the best benefits of consuming Bulgur Pilaf is the fiber ratio that the Bulgur contains. Bulgur Pilaf is also very beneficial for both children and pregnant women because it contains a rich amount of folic acid in it. In Turkey, experts suggest that consuming Bulgur is also good for our nervous and digestive systems compared to consuming rice.

You can prefer to eat this Bulgur Pilaf with grilled meat and/or chicken meat. It supports the main dish’s taste by adding its own flavor. Besides its nutritious pros, it is also a very economical side dish to prepare.

The Story of Bulgur and Bulgur Pilaf

Bulgur is considered a man-made grain, which is formed from specially treated wheat (cleaned and pre-boiled). Once the cleaned wheat absorbs water, its size gets bigger and once the water evaporates and it gets dry, it becomes Bulgur. After this process, it divides into different sizes to make different types of foods.

We don’t have any written historical information about the origins of Bulgur and who invented the Bulgur Pilaf first. We only know that Bulgur Pilaf is a very common side dish in all Middle Eastern countries for centuries.

Which type of Bulgur is suitable for Bulgur Pilaf?

There are a couple of different types of Bulgur in Turkey. We have a big piece of Bulgur type, a small piece of Bulgur type, and dark brown color of Bulgur type. To make Bulgur Pilaf, we need a big piece of Bulgur type. The small piece of Bulgur type is usually used for making salads such as Kısır Salad (Bulgur wheat salad). And the brown color is used for making mezes such as çiğ köfte (raw meat).

In the below photo, you can see different sizes of Bulgur. The Bulgur in the first spoon is the type of Bulgur that we use for making Bulgur Pilaf. It has bigger in size than the others. The bulgur in the middle spoon is representing the small piece of Bulgur that we use for making salads. And the brown color Bulgur at the third spoon is representing the one that we use for making çiğ köfte (raw meat) meze.

Bulgur Pilaf

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Turkish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 138 kcal


  • 2 cups Bulgur wheat
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion medium size, diced
  • 1 big tomato diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 1/2 cups water


  1. Melt the butter with olive oil in a saucepan. Then add the diced onions and stir onions get softy. Add diced tomato, tomato paste, salt, black pepper and stir them well.

  2. Add bulgur into saucepan and stir them well until you make sure they are well combined and then add the water and  bring the mixture to a boil then close the lid.

  3. Bring the heat to “low” level after you close the saucepan lid and cook it 20 minutes. Bulgur will simmer slowly during this time and it will absorb the all liquid.

  4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and open the lid. Put a paper towel on to the saucepan and close the lid again. Let Bulgur Pilaf to rest 5 minutes. Then you can serve to plates.

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