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Bulgur: An Overlooked Healthy Grain-Food…and Bulger Pilaf Recipe

The bulgur pilaf is a recipe from my mom, who got it from her sister, who got it from her Lebanese mother-in-law. I’ve never had bulgur traditionally other than in tabbouleh or kubbeh, but this is supposed to be common in Lebanon.

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My guess is that it’s inspired by Turkish cooking, since bulgur is widely used in Pilafs there.

Bulgur is 95% whole grain made from wheat. According to the Wheat Foods Council website, only 5% of the bran is removed in the process of making bulgur. When harvested, the wheat kernels are boiled until they swell and crack open. They are then left to dry, cracked, and sorted by size.

While the processing takes time, for most of us consumers, it’s precooked and takes almost no time to prepare. Giving convenience foods a new meaning!

Buglur comes in 4 different sizes, but the only two I found here in the US are coarse and fine. For this recipe, coarse bulgur works better.

When you make this recipe, load it with veggies–remember that vegetables shrink! I used onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers, but you can use whatever comes to your mind or is available.

Other ways to use bulgur are salads (tabbouleh), soup, casserole, stuffings, etc. Anything you use rice for.

Check out this eggplant, bulgur and tomato casserole from Taste of Beirut. Or this lentil, bulgur, and spinach soup from Binnur’s Turkish Cookbook.


  • 1 c coarse bulgur
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped small
  • 4 plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped small
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped small
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp each all spice, cinnamon, and cumin

Soak the bulgur in warm water for 10 minutes then rinse.

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add the vegetables and spices and saute until soft. Add the bulgur and 3/4 c water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat until bulgur is cooked.

Bulgur pilaf with scallop scampi–recipe to follow tomorro!

Nour’s guidance and expertise was the key to dramatically halting our son’s [Crohn’s] disease progression! His pediatric gastroenterologist is now in agreement of our choice to treat solely with diet and supplements. All his labs have improved and his inflammatory markers are so low they are practically nonexistent.

Before working with Nour, I experienced intestinal pain off and on for for 54 years with minimal success on medications. I have benefited 100% from Nour’s program as I am now pain free!

A lot of time and money was wasted on foods that I thought would help my digestive struggles [diarrhea, bloating, hunger], but in fact I was making it worse. The main benefit is getting a handle on what negatively affects my digestive symptom. Doing a total 180 to my eating habits has been pretty amazing.


11 thoughts on “Bulgur: An Overlooked Healthy Grain-Food…and Bulger Pilaf Recipe”

  1. This looks delicious! can’t wait to read the scampi recipe. How long did you need to cook the bulgar for?

  2. Nour El-Zibdeh, RD

    Thank you all for your comments.
    Nagla: good question. If I remember correctly, about 15 to 20 minutes. I remember making a mental note that it’s faster that rice.

    Nicole: scallop scampi to come. I wanted to put them together but it became a very long post.

    Thanks Rebecca!

    Thank you Sarah for stopping by. I’m glad you have a plan. I get annoyed by food in my pantry that just sits there. I hope you like it.

    Stephanie: it’s less chewy than oatmeal but nutty and a little sticky too. I hope you enjoy it!

  3. Pingback: Recipe: Scallop Scampi: Light on Fat, Loaded with Flavor : Practical Nutrition

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  5. Hi would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using? I’m going to start my own blog soon but I’m having a tough time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

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