Bulgur with a little bit of everything


bulgur slad

I just realized I’ve been making this salad for six or seven years, and every time I make it I seem to add something more, to the point where by now it’s less of a bulgur salad than a salad with some bulgur in it.

Are you sitting there wondering what bulgur is? It’s sometimes (incorrectly) called cracked wheat; I was able to find it in our regular supermarket in Slovakia, and here in California it’s a bulk-bin staple. No longer an obscure health food item, it’s a bit heartier than couscous but occupies a similar niche. And it’s extremely easy to prepare, which endeared it to me from day one.

The first time I remember eating bulgur was in Bulgaria – no, really! I was in Sofia for a meeting and my colleague took me to a Lebanese restaurant where I nibbled my way through a rather vast array of hummus, toasts, and tabbouleh, which of course is a kind of herb salad with bulgur. It takes a lot to tear me away from Bulgarian food, especially in situ, but that was a really memorable meal. This salad is another category entirely, but I think you’ll find it’s a tasty place to be.

Bulgur salad with chickpeas, feta and lots of other things
adapted from epicurious

I just keep adding stuff to this salad, and this recipe reflects the most recent iteration. You can definitely change the ingredients around as you like; you could probably even swap the bulgur for quinoa or something else. Grain salads are like that, which is one of the reasons I love them.


Serves four as a substantial side dish

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbs water
  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ cup frozen peas
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 3 medium tomatoes (about 1 cup), diced
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin
  • 1 small carrot, sliced into thin coins
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley (a good handful)
  • 1½ cups baby arugula
  • zest from one lemon
  • 3 Tbs lemon juice
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese


  • In a small pot, bring the water to a boil, add the salt, bulgur, and peas and stir. Cover and remove from heat; allow to stand for 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
  • Dump out the bulgur and peas into a large bowl, fluff with a fork and allow to cool.
  • Toss with the remaining ingredients and serve.


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