Bulgur Pilavı

Spicy tomato bulgur pilaf topped with green lentils and parsley in a white bowl with a spoon inside it.

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5 from 2 reviews

Spicy tomato bulgur pilaf with lentils is ready in about 30 minutes. Makes a perfect side for chicken, beef or any dish you like.


  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • ¼ cup green pepper, chopped

  • ½ cup tomatoes, diced

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1 cup coarse bulgur

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon dried mint

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 and ½ cup hot water

Optional topping:

  • ½ cup cooked green lentils

  • 2 tablespoon parsley, chopped


  1. Add in chopped tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. Add in tomato paste,bulgur, salt, dried mint and black pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Pour hot water over these. Bring it to a boil.

  4. Reduce the heat to the lowest and cook it covered for 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed.

  5. Remove from heat and let it rest for at least 15 min. before serving.

  6. Top with green lentils and parsley when serving.


  • Do not cook the bulgur over high heat. The water will be fully absorbed before the bulgur has been fully cooked, which may also cause the bulgur to burn at the bottom.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to its lowest possible setting. Remember to keep your lid on the pot to prevent moisture from evaporating.

  • You cannot use fine bulgur for this pilaf recipe. Pilaf has to have some texture otherwise it turns out more like couscous. Medium, coarse or very coarse bulgur will work best and give a nice mouth-feel.

  • Allowing your bulgur to rest before serving it is another essential step, especially for coarse and very coarse bulgur. This allows the grains to continue cooking without losing additional moisture.

  • Green beans, fresh peas, zucchini, eggplant, and cabbage all make healthy and tasty additions. This recipe uses only simple ingredients so that you can easily add others.

  • The green lentil garnish is also not a traditional serving style, however, we love the texture and flavor it adds to the whole dish, especially if the pilaf is served as a main. Alternatively, you can garnish your bulgur pilaf with beans or chickpeas.

  • If you like, you can make this pilaf plain; without tomatoes, tomato paste and spices. To do this, cook onions in olive oil, add in bulgur and salt, cook for 2 minutes, pour water and let it simmer until all the water is gone. Optionally, add in cooked green lentils, chopped parsley and gently stir before serving.