Bulgur Pilaf is a healthy side dish that pairs perfectly with grilled meat, chicken, kebabs, casserole dishes or hearty stews. This delicious bulgur dish is very easy to make with only a few ingredients and is a staple of Turkish cuisine. There are many different variations of Bulgur Pilaf (Bulgur Pilavi in Turkish) and the one with tomatoes is one of our favourites along with the Lentil and Bulgur Pilaf.Jump to Recipe
Bulgur wheat is widely used in Turkey for salad, soup, kofte and pilafs. It is delicious as well as being nutritious. It is available in a variety of grinds such as fine, medium, coarse and extra coarse. The coarse and extra coarse is great for making pilaf, and fine / medium is great for soup, salad and koftes.
Bulgur vs Quinoa
Although these two nutritious and popular ingredients look quite similar, they are different in many ways. Bulgur is pre-cooked wheat and contains gluten. It is higher in fibre and has lower calories than quinoa but quinoa is richer in minerals and vitamins. It is also an antioxidant regarding the latest researches in Turkey. Bulgur is originally from the Middle East and is widely used in Turkey, Balkans and Middle Eastern countries. Quinoa is a seed and is gluten-free. It is originally from South America and is widely used in the US and South American countries.
How to Make Bulgur Pilaf?
This is a very simple, straightforward recipe and to achieve the best results, you need to follow few simple steps:
- Use the right type of bulgur – Use coarse or very coarse bulgur for a fluffy and chewy texture. Using fine bulgur would make the pilaf mushy. Wash the bulgur under running cold water in a fine sieve. That’s a necessary step for getting rid of any dust or preservatives. Let the bulgur drain before cooking.
- Use butter and orzo or vermicelli– Cook the bulgur pilaf with butter for even nuttier taste. Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat and add orzo or vermicelli. Fry until golden brown stirring occasionally. Butter burns quick so keep an eye! Add the bulgur to the pan and sauté for few minutes until it’s dry. Stir in the tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and tomato paste. Add hot chicken or vegetable stock, combine all nicely. Chicken or vegetable stocks are great flavourings for pilaf. Make sure the stock is hot before adding to bulgur. Bring it back to the boil, lower the heat and gently simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes or until the bulgur is soft.
- Let the pilaf rest before serving – When the bulgur is cooked, take the pan off the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes with the lid off. Gently stir with a fork to make the bulgur fluffy before serving.
How to Serve Tomato Bulgur Pilaf?
Bulgur Pilaf with tomatoes complements most of the delicious Turkish dishes such as Lamb Shish Kebab, Turkish Chickpea Stew (Nohut Yahni), Inegol Kofte, Izmir Kofte (Smyrna Meatballs) or Islim Kebabi (Aubergine Meatball Wraps). You can also serve this versatile dish as a main meal with a side of salad, a bowl of yoghurt or mixed pickled vegetables.
Bulgur wheat is a whole grain made from cracked wheat and is widely used in Turkish, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines for many dishes.
Bulgur rice is packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre, and it’s great for weight loss as it will make you feel fuller.
Bulgur has a light and nutty taste with a crunchy texture when raw and a chewy texture when cooked.
I hope you enjoy the process of making this tasty side dish Bulgur Pilaf as much as you enjoy eating it! 🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet olsun!
Bulgur Rice Pilaf with Tomatoes
- 2 tbsp butter
- 50 g vermicelli or orzo (2 ½ tbsp)
- 1 large tomato (grated or finely chopped)
- 2 tbsp sundried tomato (finely chopped)
- ½ tbsp tomato paste
- 270 g coarse bulgur (1 ½ cup)
- 540 ml chicken stock or vegetable stock (hot) (3 cups)
- 1 TSP salt
- ⅓ TSP freshly ground black pepper
- Wash bulgur in a fine sieve with cold water and let it drain.
- Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat.
- Add orzo or vermicelli and fry until they turned golden brown.
- Add the bulgur and stir until nicely combined for few more minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, sun-dried tomatoes and chopped tomato and sauté for few minutes.
- Pour in hot chicken stock or vegetable stock, add the seasoning and give it a good stir.
- Put the lid on and bring to a boil.
- Let it simmer over low heat for 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
- Let it rest for 10 minutes without opening the lid.
- Stir it with a fork to make the rice fluffy before serving.
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