Bulgur Salad

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This Bulgur Salad is a powerhouse recipe — packed with so much texture and flavor! Cooked and cooled bulgur wheat gets tossed with crisp cucumbers, sweet bell pepper, dried apricots, salty pistachios, and a vibrant herb blend. The fresh lemon-mint dressing finished everything off beautifully!

What Is Bulgur Salad?

It’s a salad with the base consisting of bulgur wheat instead of lettuce greens! Bulgur is a whole grain; the flavor is light and nutty. It ranges from fine to extra course. Texturally, we have found the fine bulgur to be fairly reminiscent of small couscous.

Overhead view of Bulgur Salad in a bowl

Bulgur Salad Recipes To Love!

We’ve been hooked on this Tabouli recipe for months now (ever since our trip to Dubai, it’s on the menu a few times a month!).

And after making this Jennifer Aniston Salad with quinoa, I also made it a few times with bulgur wheat. That inspired me to make a couple different versions of Bulgur Salad. So, this very recipe and this Blueberry Corn Salad have joined the ranks. Have you tried any of these yet?!

There’s nothing exotic about bulgur, but it seems very few people know much about it and I’m on a mission to change that. Not only is it so easy to prepare (more on this later), but it’s downright delicious and delivers nutritional benefits to boot!

Process shots: Combine bulgur wheat and salt; pour on boiling water; cover tightly with plastic wrap; when water has absorbed, fluff with a fork

How To Cook Bulgur Wheat For Salad

Bulgur is par-boiled wheat that is dried to make a quick-to-fix grain. There are different varieties, mainly varying in coarseness of the grind. We like fine bulgur best — not only does it make for the best texture in this salad, but it’s also so easy to prepare.

In fact, all you need to do is pour boiling water over it and let it stand — no stovetop babysitting!

Fine bulgur wheat can be a hard ingredient to find in grocery store, so it’s typically something I order online. You can sometimes find it (depending) in the baking or international sections or in the area where packaged grain mixes are. 

QUICK TIP

Unable to find bulgur? Use cooked and cooled quinoa or small couscous instead in this salad!

How To Prepare Bulgur Wheat For Salad

Once the bulgur is softened, let it fully cool before adding to the salad.

If you’re in a hurry, pop it in the fridge (or even the freezer). We love preparing the bulgur a day before — it makes the salad come together so much quicker!

Process shots of making the dressing:Combine mint, Dijon, honey, lemon zest and salt and pepper; add oil and lemon juice'; blend until smooth; serve

How To Make Bulgur Salad

After preparing the bulgur, it’s all about tossing together all the other salad ingredients and drizzling the most irresistible lemon-mint vinaigrette on top.

Here are a few recipe tips:

  • For the dressing, we love zesting the lemons with a microplane and then juicing them with this citrus juicer
  • Use a small, powerful blender to quickly prepare this dressing. We love this mini “Twister” jar for all sauces and dressing!
  • Regular cucumbers don’t work as well since they don’t have enough flavor and are too watery. (Stick to English/Persian cucumbers, which are sometimes labeled as mini/salad cucumbers.)
  • Save time (and your fingers!) by purchasing shelled pistachios. We love roasted and lightly salted pistachios best — more flavor without any extra effort on your part. (Here’s what we use in this salad).
  • If you don’t have access to fresh-from-the-garden mint, this single .75 oz. packet is the perfect amount for this salad and dressing!

Process shots: add salad toppings to the cooled bulgur; drizzle on dressing; toss to coat

STORAGE

Storage

This salad will stay fresh in an airtight container for 2-3 days. Keep in mind that bulgur will continue to absorb the dressing, so before enjoying, make sure to give the leftover salad a good stir and taste to see if it needs more seasoning or another squeeze of lemon.

This salad doesn’t freeze or thaw well.

Closeup view of Bulgur Salad

Bulgur Salad FAQs

1What is the difference between bulgur and tabbouleh?

Tabbouleh (or tabouli) is a Middle Eastern Salad with finely chopped herbs, tomatoes, and bulgur.

Bulgur on the other hand is a nutty whole grain consisting of pre-cooked, dried, and ground groats of wheat.

Bulgur is an ingredient in tabouli.

2Do you have to pre-soak bulgur?

You don’t need to soak or wash bulgur before cooking it.

It soaks in boiling water to both cook and soften the grains!

3Is bulgur a carb or protein?

Bulgur is a carb! It is actually one of the lowest carb whole grains available.

4Which is healthier: quinoa or bulgur?

Quinoa contains more protein than bulgur, but bulgur contains more fiber. They’re both great options to add to meals — it really depends on your dietary preferences!

QUICK TIP

Want to make a meal out of this Bulgur Salad? Prepare this Italian Chicken Marinade or Blackened Chicken and serve atop or on the side.

More Salad Recipes:

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Bulgur Salad

5 from 1 vote
This Bulgur Salad is a powerhouse recipe -- packed with so much texture and flavor! Cooked and cooled bulgur gets tossed with crisp cucumbers, sweet bell pepper, dried apricots, salty pistachios, and a vibrant herb blend. The fresh lemon-mint dressing finished everything beautifully!
Print Recipe

Bulgur Salad

5 from 1 vote
This Bulgur Salad is a powerhouse recipe -- packed with so much texture and flavor! Cooked and cooled bulgur gets tossed with crisp cucumbers, sweet bell pepper, dried apricots, salty pistachios, and a vibrant herb blend. The fresh lemon-mint dressing finished everything beautifully!
Course Main Course, Salad, Vegetarian
Cuisine American, Healthy, Vegetarian
Keyword bulgur salad, bulgur salad recipe
Prep Time 25 minutes
Bulgur Soaking & Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 6 -8, as a side
Calories 282kcal
Author Chelsea Lords
Cost $8.20

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup fine bulgur wheat (Note 1)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups diced cucumber (Note 2)
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 packed cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 packed cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios (Note 3)
  • 1 pkt (.75 oz) fresh mint leaves, separated
  • Optional: 1/2 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup each: extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice (plus 1 tsp lemon zest)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • Fine sea salt & pepper

Instructions

  • BULGUR: Bring a small pot of 1-1/4 cups of water to a boil. Meanwhile, add the bulgur to a large bowl. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt and then pour the boiling water over. Stir, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let it sit at room temperature for 15-25 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed into the bulgur. Remove the plastic wrap and fluff with a fork. Let cool to room temperature. (If you're in a hurry, pop it in the fridge!) We often make this part a day before -- makes the salad come together so much quicker!
  • DRESSING: In a small blender jar (or food processor), add 1/4 cup (packed) mint. Then add in all the rest of the dressing ingredients. Season to taste with salt & pepper (I add 1/4 tsp salt & 1/8 tsp pepper). Blend just until smooth; don't over blend. Keep in fridge until ready to use.
  • SALAD: To the cooled bulgur, add the diced red pepper, diced cucumbers, chopped apricots, finely chopped parsley, finely chopped green onions, and coarsely chopped pistachios. Chop the remaining mint (you'll get about 1/2 cup) and add it in. Drizzle on 1/2 of the dressing and gently toss. Add remaining dressing (or as much as you'd like -- we love it all). If time permits, chill the salad 15-20 minutes. Toss again then add feta cheese (if using) right before serving.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Bulgur wheat: There are different varieties of bulghur, mainly varying in coarseness and only fine bulgur will work with the method indicated in this recipe. It also makes for the best salad texture! I've found this can be a hard ingredient to find in mainstream grocery stores so it's typically something I order online. Alternatively, use cooked and cooled quinoa or small couscous instead. 
Note 2: Cucumbers: Regular cucumbers don’t work well. They don’t have enough flavor and are too watery. Stick to an English cucumber or Persian cucumbers (Persian cucumbers are sometimes labeled as mini/salad cucumbers). You'll need 1 large English cucumber or about 4-5 small salad cucumbers.
Note 3: Pistachios. Save time (and your fingers!) by purchasing shelled pistachios. We love roasted and lightly salted pistachios best — more flavor without any extra effort on your part. (Here’s what we use in this salad).
Note 4: Mint: If you don't have access to garden-fresh mint, this single .75 oz. packet is the perfect amount for this salad and dressing!

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 282kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Sodium: 25mg | Potassium: 402mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1108IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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