Turkish Bulgur Pilaf

Try this quick and easy Turkish bulgur pilaf recipe! It is a Turkish recipe I got from my mom. It is one of my favorite side dishes. It goes great with just about anything! For those of you that are not familiar with this grain, I gave a brief description of what it is and how you can use it below. If this is totally new for you, I totally recommend you trying it.. it is just that good!

Turkish Bulgur PilafTurkish Bulgur Pilaf | Mealplan4me

You will need the following for this Turkish Bulgur Pilaf recipe:


  • 1 Cup grain (any size; I usually get #2 or #3 medium sized grains)
  • Butter, about a tablespoon
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno or Serrano Pepper, chopped
  • 1 Small Onion, diced
  • 1 T. Tomato Paste
  • Red hot Chilis (optional)
  • Water


Goes great with any beef or chicken dishes!

To prepare this dish, start by melting the butter in a sauce pan. Once melted, add the diced onions, chopped Serrano pepper and red hot chiles. Cook for about 5-8 minutes or until the onions are soft, not caramelized. Then, add the tomato paste and chopped tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes are soft. Then add 1 cup of water. Add the grain. Cover and cook until it soaks up the water (like rice). Depending on what size grain you purchased, just know that the larger the grain, the longer it will take to cook. When I use the #3 grain, it usually takes about 25 minutes to cook.


Serve this immediately as a side dish. You can easily turn this into a main course dish by adding ground beef or cubed lamb.

Pair it Up!

I love making this side dish. I usually make this when I am grilling, whether it is steak or chicken. One of my most common meals I make this recipe with is grilled kofte or lamb shish kebabs

What is Bulgur?

If you are not familiar with bulgur, it is a grain made from durum wheat and is typically used in Middle Eastern and some European cuisines. They are usually found in specialty stores, but occasionally find them in local grocers, but are usually much more expensive. I recommend purchasing it through bulk bins as it is much more affordable rather than buying it in a box. 

It comes in different sizes, ranging from 1-4, from #1 being very fine to #4 being a very course grain. I typically buy sizes 2-3 depending on what I plan to make with it. The number 2 grain works really well with this recipe. You can use grain number one, but it can get lumpy and sticky if you are not careful with the water level since it is very fine. I have never used the largest grain, but size number three goes perfect when making Tabbouleh salad. Other dishes made from this grain are soups, salads, stuffings, and can be substitute for rice and bread crumbs (get the #1 fine grain for this) and others. This recipe is easy to make and can be served for lunch or dinner, any time of year. 

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