Turkish Bulgur Pilaf with Lentils is a healthy and delicious side dish packed with a lot of nutrition and fibre. This simple recipe requires only a few ingredients which you probably already have in your pantry. It also comes together very quick which makes it perfect for a weekday meal.
Turkish Bulgur Pilaf with Lentils is the perfect accompaniment to most Turkish dishes such as Kuru Fasulye, Mediterranean Green Beans, Inegol Kofte or Lamb Shish Kebab. It is made with two healthy ingredients; bulgur wheat and lentils. Bulgur wheat is a very popular ingredient widely used in Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisines. It is made from cracked and parboiled wheat grains and is available in different sizes such as fine, medium, coarse and extra coarse. Fine or medium size bulgur is ideal for salads and coarse or extra coarse is great for pilafs. You can easily find bulgur at your local supermarket or Middle Eastern markets.
Why This Recipe Works?
- It's extremely easy to make with only a few ingredients you might already have in hand.
- It's a healthy side dish as well as delicious!
- The leftovers freeze beautifully.
- You can substitute butter with olive oil and use vegetable stock to make it vegan/vegetarian friendly.
Ingredients and Substitutes
- Bulgur - This healthy ingredient is widely used in Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisines. Use coarse or medium-coarse bulgur for the best results.
- Green Lentils - They are a staple in Turkish cuisine and are used for making soups, salads or adding to bulgur pilaf or borek filling. They are an excellent source of fibre and are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. You can substitute them with brown lentils.
- Onion - It adds flavour to the pilaf. You can use brown, yellow or white onions.
- Butter - It gives a rich and nutty flavour. You can substitute it with olive oil.
- Olive oil - I use olive oil for its health benefits but you can add more butter and skip the olive oil.
- Stock - You can use Basic Homemade Vegetable Stock for the vegan/vegetarian version. If using store-bought stock, always check the seasoning before adding more salt.
How to Cook Bulgur Pilaf with Lentils?
Cooking this delicious side dish is very easy with this simple and straightforward recipe. However, to achieve the best results you need to follow a few simple steps:
- Precook the lentils - Cooking green lentils takes slightly longer than bulgur wheat. Therefore, it is necessary to precook them before mixing them with the bulgur. Place the lentils in a pan with plenty of cold water. Precook the lentils on medium heat for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Caramelize the onions and sauté the bulgur wheat - Heat a large heavy-based pan on medium heat and melt the butter. Add the olive oil and sauté the onions until soft and slightly caramelized. Add the bulgur and sauté for few minutes to achieve extra nutty flavour. When the bulgur is sautéed for few minutes, add the pre-cooked green lentils.
- Cook the pilaf on low heat - Add the stock, season it with salt and freshly ground black pepper. give it a good stir and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and gently simmer the pilaf for 20 minutes with the lid off. Remove the pan from the heat and let the pilaf rest for 10 minutes covered with a kitchen cloth before serving.
For other great side dishes why not try:
They don't need to be soaked but you can soak them if you want to reduce the cooking time.
Yes, the two main ingredients of this dish are bulgur wheat and green lentils. They both are high in fibre and low in fat. It is full of vitamins and minerals and keeps you full for longer which makes it perfect for weight loss.
Top Tip From the Chef
Add some leftover roast chicken or lamb pieces to bulgur pilaf while cooking and turn this side dish into a delicious meal.
I hope you enjoy the process of making this delicious and nutritious Bulgur Pilaf as much as you enjoy eating it! 🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet Olsun!
Lentil and Bulgur Pilaf
- ½ cup green lentils (90 grams)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter (optional) (20 grams)
- 1 medium onion (finely diced)
- 1 ⅓ cup coarse bulgur (250 grams)
- 3 ½ cups vegetable stock or chicken stock (830 ml)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Place the green lentils in a pan with plenty of cold water, precook them on medium heat for 20 minutes. Drain them and set them aside.
- Heat a large heavy-based pan on medium heat and melt the butter.
- Add the olive oil and onions, sauté the onions until they're soft and slightly caramelized.
- Then add the bulgur and sauté for a few minutes before adding the lentils and the stock.
- Season it with salt and freshly ground black pepper, stir the mixture until combined and bring it to a boil.
- Let the pilaf gently simmer for 20 minutes on low heat with the lid off.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes covered with a kitchen cloth before serving.
- 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.
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