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bulgur pilaf on a white plate

Bulgur Pilaf (with Tomatoes and Chickpeas)

This vegetarian Bulgur Pilaf is a Middle Eastern dish that is so flavourful and a great alternative to rice. Cooked with onions, tomatoes and chickpeas, you only need a few ingredients to make one of the best sides ever!
Course Sides
Cuisine middle eastern
Keyword Bulgur Pilaf
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6


  • 2 cups coarse bulgur
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 to mato diced
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can chickpeas 540mL
  • 1 chicken stock cube or vegetable if vegetarian
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3.5 cups water


  • In a non-stick pan, start by adding the vegetable oil and cooking the onion on medium heat for 3-5 minutes until softened
  • Add the tomato paste, diced tomato and chicken stock cube and continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring often
  • Wash and drain the chickpeas and add them to the pot along with the 3.5 cups water, salt, and black pepper. Allow everything to come to a boil
  • Once boiling, add the washed and drained bulgur and mix well. Cover the pot, turn the heat down to low, and allow it to cook undisturbed for 20 minutes
  • After 20 minutes, turn the heat off and let it stand for 5-10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve


  • The water ratio specified should be perfect, but because the type of bulgur can differ, if you taste the bulgur after cooking and you feel it is still too firm, simply add a splash of water (about ½ cup), cover the pot and allow it to cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes. The additional steam should help soften it more.
  • Optional add-ins: diced bell pepper, peas, or mushrooms. You can add them in with the onion and allow it to soften before moving on to the next step.
  • Optional: you can also heat about a cup of vegetable oil and when it's hot, pour it on top of the bulgur when it is done cooking and just before serving. This is how it is traditionally served but I skip this step to keep the bulgur pilaf lighter