Simply Lebanese

Tomato Bulgur Pilaf

Bulgur Pilaf
  • Prep Time
    5 mins
  • Cook Time
    20 mins
  • Serving
    4
This tomato bulgur pilaf only requires 5 ingredients! It’s a great alternative to rice and perfect side dish with chicken and grilled meat.
Bulgur Pilaf

This tomato bulgur is one of those dishes that I make when I am not in the mood for rice or pasta, but am looking for that healthy but filling grain. This very simple but satisfying bulgur, makes a wonderful side dish to grilled meats such as lamb chops, chicken, or kafta

Tomato bulgur pilaf which is known in Arabic as “burghul a banadoura” can be served as a main dish or as a side dish. It is often served with yogurt, plain (how I feed it to my 1 year old) or as a yogurt salad like my Lebanese cucumber and yogurt salad.

It is a very popular dish in Lebanon and in Turkey because of it’s simplicity and for the fact that it costs very little to make! At every Turkish restaurant I have ever eaten at, this bulgur pilaf is always served on the side of whatever grilled meat I order. 

What is Bulgur?

If you’re not familiar with bulgur, it is a whole grain that resembles quinoa. It is healthier than white rice, containing much more fiber and protein. It is also lower on the glycemic index and contains more vitamins and minerals.

There are different types of bulgur; the two main types being coarse, and fine. The fine bulgur is what is used in tabbouleh and kibbe because it can be used raw, while this dish requires the coarse one for cooking. For the course bulgur, you will notice in Middle-eastern grocery stores, they contain numbers on the packaging. Number 1 typically means the fine bulgur, 2 and 3 are course with 3 being the largest size. Both 2 and 3 will work for this recipe. 

Bulgur cooks fairly quickly. I cook the course bulgur using the same ratio of bulgur to water as I do for short-grain rice to water. For every 1 cup of bulgur, I use 1 1/2 cups of water. It cooks in about 15 minutes over medium-low heat. 

STEP 1

Begin by finely chopping the onion and dicing the tomato.

STEP 2

In a medium saucepan, heat up the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes on medium heat until the onion is translucent.

STEP 3

Stir in the diced tomato and sauté until it has completely softened, about 3-4 minutes.

Bulgur Pilaf

STEP 4

Rinse the bulgur 2-3 times and add the washed bulgur to the onion/tomato mixture.

Bulgur Pilaf

STEP 5

Increase the heat and add the chicken stock (substitute with water if you want the dish to be vegan) followed by the tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper. 

Stir well and let come to simmer.

Bulgur Pilaf

STEP 6

After most of the water has been absorbed, about 5 minutes, lower the heat to medium-low and cover, to cook for 10 more minutes.

Bulgur Pilaf

Serve warm with a light salad or plain yogurt.

Bulgur Pilaf
Bulgur Pilaf

Tomato Bulgur Pilaf

This tomato bulgur pilaf only requires 5 ingredients! It’s a great alternative to rice and perfect side dish with chicken and grilled meat.
4.72 from 52 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Turkish
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 210kcal
Author: Iman

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Coarse Bulgur
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 1 Medium Tomato
  • 3 tb. Tomato Paste
  • 3 tb. Olive Oil
  • tsp. Salt
  • ¼ tsp. Black Pepper
  • cups Chicken Stock or Water

Instructions

  • Begin by finely chopping the onion and dicing the tomato. 
  • In a medium saucepan, heat up the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes on medium heat until the onion is translucent. 
  • Stir in the diced tomato and sauté until it has completely softened, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Rinse the bulgur 2-3 times and add the washed bulgur to the onion/tomato mixture.
  • Increase the heat and add the chicken stock (Water if you want the dish to be vegan/vegetarian friendly) followed by the tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well and let come to simmer. 
  • After most of the water has been absorbed, about 5-7 minutes, lower the heat to medium-low and cover to cook for 10 more minutes. 
  • Serve warm with a light salad or plain yogurt.

Nutrition

Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 33.3g | Protein: 5.6g | Fat: 7.3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5.1g | Sodium: 869.2mg | Potassium: 257.8mg | Fiber: 5.7g | Sugar: 2.9g | Vitamin A: 170IU | Vitamin C: 6.8mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1.2mg

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    Recipe Reviews

    • Joanne Robertson

      5 stars
      Thanks Iman, this was a really delicious dish. I made it along with some salmon and Brussels Sprouts. I’m going to make it again and add some diced red and green peppers. My husband really enjoyed it as well!

      • Iman

        Thank you so much, I am so glad you enjoyed it!

    • Anonymous B

      5 stars
      This is a great recipe, very simple and delicious. I have made the recipe as written and it’s fantastic, but I’ve also discovered you can just throw everything in a rice cooker (on the white rice setting if applicable to your cooker) and it comes out great too! Literally, just put all the ingredients as listed in the pot, mix it up, and turn it on. No need to sauté the onion or anything. You can reduce the oil if you want via this method too, since you don’t need to worry about there being enough to fry the onion and tomato. I like to do 1T oil personally, lightens it up a bit when I have it as a side dish.

      • Iman

        Oh wow sounds so easy, def gotta try that!!

    • Sam

      Thank you for this recipe. Seems to be a regional dish eaten by Syrians and Palestinians also which could suggest it travelled to the Levant while under the Ottoman empire…or the other way around!

    • CAROL J BECK

      5 stars
      This is delicious. I wondered when you dd the salt and pepper? Thanks for your recipe.

      • Iman

        Thank you! I added it along with the chicken broth and tomato paste, just edited the instructions, thanks!

    • Rita

      5 stars
      This is delicious and so easy. I used a little more tomato and no tomato paste and a few sprinkles of hot pepper seeds. This recipe is a keeper.

      • Iman

        It really is such an easy and delicious dish, I am so glad you enjoyed it!

    • RightTheWrong

      1 star
      I was going to try your recipe until I realised you described the dish as Turkish.
      It’s NOT Turkish, it’s LEBANESE.
      As if it’s not enough that the Turks occupied Lebanon ruthlessly for 400 years, and tried to starve the people.
      Please get your facts RIGHT.

      • Iman

        Tomato bulgur is a popular recipe throughout the Mediterranean. Like many other dishes, quite a few regions claim it as their own. From my research, I learned that the recipe seems to have originated in ancient Turkey. I do the best that I can in my recipe research. Enjoy.

      • Jay

        Get over yourself, this isn’t a Politics blog but a food blog.

        And for your information, many more dishes are shared with Lebanon’s neighbours, it’s anyone’s guess where they originated from.

        • arrow

          5 stars
          The author is correct since tomatoes are native to Americas from Mexico to Peru and reached middle east by way of spanish explorers bringing these plants to Europe from where they reached ottoman turks via Genoese traders. The ottomans and italians were the earliest people in mediterranean to use tomatoes for cooking. Other europeans considered tomatoes poisonous since they are nightshades and used them mainly as ornamental plants for their brightly colored fruits till much later. TURKISH rule was bad for all subject peoples from other communities but thats out of topic. Cheers.

    • Marisa

      5 stars
      Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe – I make it regularly using vegetarian stock and both my kids love it. We have it with a bit of tahini sauce on top and it’s absolutely delicious (although one kid insists on eating it with sour cream!)

      • Iman

        Sounds so delicious!!

    • David

      5 stars
      Iman,
      I plan on making this dish for my father’s upcoming wake. He’ll be put to rest this Tuesday, June 8th.
      Dad wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t particularly fond of me or my adopted sister, Truley. Mom had her own liabilities. I remember when I was nine, I told dad that when I get older I want to own my own business. Dad then replied, “Whatever dreams you have for your future, file them away in your dream folder.” To say dad lacked support would be an understatement. As I stated, dad wasn’t perfect, but who is?

      Iman, I’m looking forward to making the recipe you provided. I plan on adding a tad amount of garlic.

      Thank you.

      David

    • Alison

      5 stars
      I was searching for a recipe and chose this one. Had really positive compliments from my very difficult to please young adult children! Given this was my first time making it ever, it turned out really well. Thank you! So easy to follow and delicious. I’m looking forward to trying more recipes.

      • Iman

        That is wonderful, so glad they all enjoyed it!

    • Elias

      5 stars
      Tastes just like mom’s! I also like adding green bell pepper and garlic

      • Iman

        Thank you! Sounds delicious.

    • Ms.jani rojas

      5 stars
      nice u have this blog

      • Iman

        Thank you!

    • Lynn

      5 stars
      I’ve made a few different recipes for this and this is the best. And very easy. I lightened up the salt and used 1 tsp which is much more than I normally would use. Very delicious!

      • Iman

        thank you!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

    • Ruby

      Do you keep the saucepan uncovered?

      • Iman

        Yes, until step 6 if you notice, I mention lowering the heat to med-low and covering for the last 10 minutes of cooking!

    • Renata

      5 stars
      This recipe is so good and easy to make.
      Love it!

      • Iman

        Awesome, so glad you love it!

        • Max

          Do you cook the bulgur before you add it to the oni/tom?

          • Iman

            I do not!

          • Dominique D Douglass

            5 stars
            Thanks for the recipe. I love this stuff from Trader Joe’s and I’ve been wanting to make it! Already had all the ingredients on hand!

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