Almost Turkish Recipes

Pub Style Bulgur Pilaf (Meyhane Usûlü Bulgur Pilavı)

Bulgur pilaf, a highly traditional central Anatolian dish, can be pretty boring, at least for me, when cooked regular way: with only tomato paste, oil, and maybe onions. However, pub style bulgur (my mom calls this recipe pub style, but I have no idea why) is rich in flavor + vegetables, is fun and a wholesome meal on its own.

I don't know how many different kinds of bulgur there are elsewhere, but in Turkey we have two types: fine and coarse. Fine bulgur is usually for desserts and salads like kısır (tabbouleh); and coarse bulgur is perfect for rice.

1 cup coarse bulgur
1 small onion, diced
1/2 bunch green onions, chopped (optional)
2-3 banana peppers or any fresh pepper, chopped
1 tbsp tomato or pepper paste
2 tomatoes, diced
1 potato, diced
1 tsp pepper flakes
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp mint flakes (if you have fresh mint, even better!)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped

1-2 cloves of garlic, sliced and added with the onion
carrot, chopped in rounds or half-rounds

-Heat the oil in a pot and add the onion. Stir for a couple of minutes and add pepper. When they are soft add first the paste, stir for a minute, and then diced tomato.
-When tomatoes are cooked, add the water, bulgur, potatoes, pepper flakes, ground black pepper, mint flakes, and salt.
-Wait until the water boils. Then turn the heat down all the way to very low and cook until the water is absorbed and bulgur is tender.
-Since parsley doesn't really need to be cooked, add it with green onions after you turn off the heat and mix well.
-Bulgur can be sticky, so you better stir it every now and then. Once it's cooked, cover the pot by putting a paper towel or a clean kitchen cloth between the pot and the lid to absorb the moisture. Let it sit for at least 5-10 minutes like that before you serve.

You can serve this delicious pilaf with yogurt, cold beer, meat, or with anything you want. I like it warm, but since it's cooked with olive oil it can be served cold as well. A lot of people I know eat it cold, actually.


  1. I do like the sound of this a lot. When I was a kid, bulgur was promoted by my parent's church for food storage. My mom used to add it to lots of foods. Imagine the surprise of me and my siblings years later when it became quite trendy! Quite yummy too.

  2. Food storage? I've never heard that. How does it work?
    I'm glad you liked it, Kalyn. Now I'm excited to share other bulgur recipes that I know.

  3. Something new for me to try! I love new side dishes. My mother fixed boiled potatoes for every meal (almost). Maybe that's why I am always looking for something different - and anything with tomatoes...

  4. Anonymous8:57 AM

    I have never cooked bulgut before but a friend of mine makes it all the time. I have to try this.

  5. You're got a great site- I came across this recipe while searching for a way to use some of the bulgar I've got, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I forgot the last step, using a paper or cloth towel to absorb some of the moisture- I'll have to wait til next time to see how it improves the recipe.

  6. My husband made this for a recent party we hosted which was quite the international food event. It was so delicious our guests cleaned up every last piece of bulgar. Completely excellent. The post isn't up yet (I'm working on it right now...), but I've linked you and just wanted to say I love your site and look forward to trying more of your excellent recipes. Thanks!

  7. Made this dish for the first time to rave reviews at a casual dinner party...have since made it several times for myself! This pilaf is easy and so delicious, and finally gave me something exciting to do with the bulgar in my pantry. Have varied it based on what's in my fridge such as mushrooms, and every time it has been excellent.

  8. Anonymous5:10 PM

    This tastes great! This will get added to my best recipes.

  9. You should try this recipe by adding 1 tea spoon groundbeef in it and see how delicious bulgur pilaf can be.

  10. Anonymous6:30 AM

    When do you add the green onion? Do you cook it?

  11. With parsley. I fixed it in the recipe as well. Thank you!