Tomato bulgur pilaf

If you bought bulgur wheat to make tabbouleh, you may be wondering what else it can be used for. Wonder no longer! It is perfect for a vegetable pilaf. It could accompany a gently spiced vegetable stew (like a tagine), or vegetables stuffed with a rice mixture. If you eat meat, try it with chicken roasted in olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice.

Serves 3 - 4 as the main accompaniment to a meal; 4 as the grain part of a Bennet & Luck style salad; more as a side dish in a mezze.


1 generous tablespoon of olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1/2 a green pepper, chopped

2 small tomatoes, chopped (or their equivalent)

1 tablespoon tomato puree (tomato paste)

1/3 teaspoon ground black pepper

a scant teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried mint

1 cup bulgur wheat

1 1/2 cups boiling water

a good handful of chopped parsley 

If you're unfamiliar with any of the ingredients, find out more about them here:



Fry the onion and green pepper till the onion is transparent, then pop on a lid, turn down the heat to the lowest setting, and allow them to sweat for 15 minutes.


Turn up the heat and add the chopped tomatoes, the herbs and spices, and the tomato puree. Stir everything together and let it it fry for five minutes so the tomatoes cook and the tomato puree begins to caramelize.


Now add the bulgur and incorporate it well before adding the boiling water. When it starts to bubble, pop the lid back on and lower the heat all the way again. Let it simmer slowly for 15 minutes.


At the end of this time, turn the heat off, leave the lid on, and let the pilaf rest for a further 15 minutes.


I think this is best served lukewarm, but at this point you could fork the pilaf to fluff it up, then add the chopped parsley and mix it through. I've added some lentilles vertes for extra protein (boiled separately for 35 minutes - you can't add them raw to this dish and expect them to cook in time). They get forked through too.

Any questions? You can use the comments form at the bottom of the page.

Did you know?

You'll find recipes at the back of all the books in the Send for Octavius Guy series:

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