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Turkish Food – Bulgur – A Tasty Side Dish!


When I lived in Turkey before, your main course was always accompanied by white rice with pine nuts (pilav – pronounced “pilau”). Nowadays, due to increased prices, white rice is often not available. What the Turks have done instead is substitute it with bulgur pilav, which is not rice at all, but cracked wheat.

It is prepared with a tomato sauce and has become one of my favorite parts of the meal. Unfortunately, as in many Asian countries, the bulgur is not always served warm. It’s still tasty cold, but no where’s near so as when served straight off the range. It is extremely healthy, and even more so without any meat in it.  We went to a friend’s house, and she taught us how to make it.


3 Tblsp. olive oil

1 small onion

1 cup bulgur

Fresh dill (destemmed)

2 Tblsp. red pepper paste or tomato paste

2 -1/4 cups of water


First you chop the onions and begin sautéing them in the olive oil. When the onions are translucent, put in the bulgur and stir, frying the kernels just a little. Then add the rest of the ingredients, cover, and let simmer for about 20 minutes. This recipe serves about four or five.


I want to thank my good friend, Füsün, for all my Turkish lessons in cooking, language, and life!

For more of

Füsün’s recipes, you can read my posts on pilav and fasulye.

Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.