Kisir is a Turkish whole-grain salad made with bulgur wheat, fresh herbs, vegetables, and a tangy dressing. This delicious, healthy and filling Turkish Bulgur Salad is great to enjoy on its own, but also perfect as a meze or side dish with any grilled meat, chicken or fish.
Kisir, also known as Turkish Bulgur Salad is one of these dishes that tastes even better the next day when all ingredients have blended and soaked well. You can eat it as a salad, but also roll it in little lettuce leaves or grape leaves and eat it as a snack. As well as being delicious, Kisir is full of health and goodness coming from fresh vegetables, bulgur wheat, and pomegranate sauce which is full of antioxidants.
Like many other traditional recipes, this Kisir recipe can vary from region to region. My version of this bulgur salad is from southeast Turkey where a generous amount of tomato and red pepper pastes are a part of the mixture.
Why This Recipe Works?
- You can prepare Kisir a couple of days in advance and it's a great recipe to prepare in a big batch.
- You can keep the leftovers in the fridge for up to five days, and the taste will be even better.
- Bulgur Salad is a super delicious but easy-to-make dish that you can serve as a side dish, a part of a mezze platter or as an appetiser.
- Made with healthy ingredients such as bulgur, olive oil, vegetables, pomegranate molasses and herbs, this salad is ready in 20 minutes!
Difference Between Kisir and Tabbouleh
Tabbouleh is a green Lebanese salad made with mainly parsley with a little bit of bulgur. Kisir uses bulgur as the base and the herbs (usually parsley and mint) are added as a flavoring.
Also, the dressing for Kisir has tomato and/or pepper pastes, olive oil, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses. The dressing for Tabbouleh only has olive oil, lemon juice and/or pomegranate molasses.
Ingredients and Substitutes
- Bulgur - Use the finest grade bulgur wheat for this recipe. This type of bulgur only needs to be soaked in some liquid and then it's ready to eat. You can find it in the Middle Eastern / Turkish markets and online from Amazon.
- Tomato paste - It is the staple of Turkish cooking. It adds an umami flavour to the dishes as well as a bright red colour. You can find it in Turkish or Middle Eastern shops. You can also buy it from .
- Red pepper paste - Turkish red pepper paste is a rich, delicious paste made with juicy, spicy red peppers and I use it quite often in my Turkish recipes. You can buy it from Turkish or Middle Eastern shops or online from . Substitute it with tomato paste if you don't have it in hand.
- Olive oil - I always use good quality extra virgin olive oil when it comes to salads.
- Vegetables and herbs - I use red onions, spring onions, flat-leaf parsley, fresh mint leaves to mix with the salad and crunchy cucumbers & juicy tomatoes to garnish it.
- Lemon juice - I always use lemon juice squeezed from fresh lemons instead of bottled lemon juice for a fresher and more delicious taste.
- Pomegranate molasses - It is a thick syrup made with pomegranate juice and is commonly used in Middle Eastern / Turkish recipes. It has an intense sweet-and-sour flavour and is perfect to use for salad dressings or marinade. You can buy it from most Turkish / Middle Eastern shops or online from . Don't substitute it with any other molasses. Instead, use extra lemon juice.
This bulgur salad recipe is super easy and there are only a few steps that you need to follow to achieve the best results:
Soak the Bulgur
Place the bulgur in a large bowl and pour boiling water on it. Give it a good stir and cover it with a cling film or a clean kitchen towel. Let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes until the water is fully absorbed.
Prepare your vegetables and herbs while resting the bulgur wheat. When the bulgur absorbed all the liquid and softened, fluff it with a fork and then add the tomato paste, pepper paste, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, chilli, black pepper and pomegranate molasses.
Mix it well until it's completely incorporated and then add the chopped parsley, mint, spring onions and red onion. Give them a good stir and transfer the kisir into a salad bowl or individual bowls. Garnish your salad with cucumber slices, tomatoes and lettuce leaves.
For more delicious and healthy bulgur recipes why not try:
Bulgur is a kitchen staple in Turkey and there are different grades of milling used for different dishes. Fine or very fine ground bulgur is best for salads like Kisir or Tabbouleh Salads. Although I highly recommend using fine grade bulgur, a fine couscous will work well as a substitute if you can't find it.
The leftovers would keep well for up to five days in an airtight container when refrigerated. I dont recommend freezing Kisir Salad.
You can serve Kisir with some fresh lettuce as an appetizer or as part of a mezze platter with Ezme Salad (Acili Ezme), Pacanga Boregi, Mediterranean Whipped Feta Dip or Barbunya (Turkish Style Borlotti Beans).
You can also serve Kisir as a light lunch or as a substantial dinner with some Patlican Kebabi (Eggplant Kebab), Adana Kebap, Guvec (Turkish Lamb Casserole) or Lamb Shish Kebab.
Top Tip From the Chef
Although it is very easy to make this delicious salad, it can get too dry or too soggy if you don't use the right amount of water for the bulgur.
I hope you enjoy the process of making this delicious and healthy vegan Bulgur Wheat Salad as much as you enjoy eating it! 🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet Olsun!
Did you make this recipe?
Kisir - Turkish Bulgur Salad
- 250 g finest grade bulgur
- 250 ml boiling water
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 40 ml pomegranate molasses
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon red pepper paste
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon flaked chilli (pul biber)
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 5 spring onions (sliced)
- 1 small red onion (diced)
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley (chopped)
- ⅓ cup fresh mint leaves (chopped)
- tomatoes, cucumber slices and lettuce leaves (to garnish)
- Place the bulgur in a large bowl and pour boiling water on it.
- Give it a stir and cover it with a cling film or a clean kitchen towel. Let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes until the water is fully absorbed.
- Prepare your vegetables and herbs while resting the bulgur wheat.
- When the bulgur absorbed all the liquid and softened, fluff it with a fork and then add the tomato paste, pepper paste, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, chilli, black pepper and pomegranate molasses.
- Mix it well until it's completely incorporated and then add the chopped parsley, mint, spring onions and red onion.
- Give them a good stir and transfer the kisir into a salad bowl or individual bowls.
- Garnish your salad with cucumber slices, tomatoes and lettuce leaves.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Don’t leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.
This post use affiliate links. This means that if you click on them and then buy something, we get a small amount of commission to keep the site running, but it doesn’t cost you anything more.