This healthy bulgur salad is the perfect lunch! Filling, flavourful, and full of nutrients, the salad comes together so quickly and it's all you're going to be making once you try it. The bulgur is very nutty and soaks up the dressing beautifully. It pairs perfectly with some protein if you want to turn it into a dinner.
What is Bulgur?
Bulgur is pre-cooked cracked wheat, and its a common grain used in Middle Eastern cooking. It has a lot more fibre than rice and its packed with nutrients. Bulgur comes in different sizes ranging from coarse (which is what we use in this recipe) all the way to very fine. You may have heard of Tabouli, which actually uses fine bulgur.
The size of bulgur is sometimes depicted using numbers from #1 to #4. I love coarse bulgur in this salad and as a pilaf. Coarse bulgur requires cooking, while fine bulgur can be simply soaked in hot water and it'll be ready to eat, like in this fish and bulgur salad recipe.
Ingredients you'll need to make this recipe
This bulgur salad recipe uses coarse bulgur. If you only have fine bulgur, you can use it but don't cooking it. Simply soak it in water (instructions in this recipe). You'll also need fresh vegetables which can be interchanged with whatever you have on hand. This combination is my favourite! Don't skip the almonds and raisins - they take it to another level.
How to make this recipe
The first step is to cook the coarse bulgur. It's cooked the same way that you'd cook rice, and the bulgur to water ratio I prefer is 1:2. Start by heating some oil and toasting the washed bulgur for a few minutes, then add the salt and water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes covered.
Next, chop up all the fresh vegetables into small similar sized cubes. You can feel free to use vegetables you have on hand. I love using green onions and parsley as well to add freshness and extra flavour.
Finally, mix together all of the dressing ingredients and shake it well in a jar to emulsify the oil. Mix the bulgur salad together with the dressing, top with almonds and raisins, and enjoy! I like to serve it after chilling in the fridge for a few hours to allow the bulgur to soak up all of the juices.
FAQ's and Expert Tips
Bulgur is cracked whole grain wheat that is parboiled and dried, which is why it cooks faster than other whole grains such as brown rice. It is sold in different sizes, and they're either numbered (1-3 or 4) or labelled as fine, medium, coarse or extra coarse. Fine bulgur (#1) is used in salads like Tabouli and doesn't require cooking. It just needs to soak in water. Medium bulgur (#2-3) is generally used in food like Kibbeh, while coarse or extra coarse bulgur (#3-4) is used in Pilafs
Yes, bulgur is richer in fibre and nutrients than rice. It's packed with vitamins and minerals, and has a good amount of fibre. Fibre rich food is always great to include in your diet. In fact, bulgur actually has more than twice the amount of fibre found in brown rice.
No. Bulgur is pre-cooked cracked wheat, while quinoa is actually a seed. Quinoa is more nutritionally dense and has more protein.
Other Salads You Will Love
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Healthy Bulgur Salad with Easy Dressing
For the salad
- 2 cups cooked coarse bulgur (see notes for cooking instructions & substitutions)
- 3 small cucumbers
- 1 tomato
- 1 red pepper
- ½ cup parsley
- 3 green onions
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ cup almonds or seeds
For the dressing
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses (substitute with 2 Tbsp lemon juice and 1 Tbsp honey)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
For the salad
- Add the cooked bulgur to a bowl (see notes for how to cook it or you can follow package instructions).
- Chop all of the vegetables into small cubes and add to the bowl.
For the dressing
- Mix together all the dressing ingredients by shaking in a jar to incorporate well.
- Mix the salad together with the raisins and almonds or pumpkin seeds and serve immediately or chill in the fridge for 1 hour and serve cold.
- To cook the bulgur, add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a pot and heat. Then add 1 cup of washed and drained coarse bulgur, ½ tsp salt, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, the cover and reduce heat to low for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Optionally, you can also sauté an onion in the oil before adding the bulgur for 5-7 minutes to add extra flavour.
- If you can't find coarse bulgur, you can use fine bulgur, but it requires no cooking. Simply soak it in water per the instructions in this recipe
- If you don't have pomegranate molasses, you can substitute with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of honey.