Bulgur Salad with Cucumbers, Red Peppers, Chick Peas, Lemon and Dill

5 stars based on 9 votes


Made with bulgur, fresh herbs, chopped vegetables and buttery chick peas, this Middle Eastern-style salad is like a bulked-up tabbouleh. I like to make it over the weekend and keep it in the fridge all week long for healthy lunches.

If you’re unfamiliar with bulgur, it’s a chewy and nutty-tasting Middle Eastern grain made from whole wheat kernels that have been parboiled, dried and cracked. In addition to being delicious, it’s super healthy — high in fiber and protein, rich in vitamins and minerals and low in fat and calories. You can find it in most supermarkets near the pasta, rice or hot cereal, and some stores (like Whole Foods) also carry it in bulk bins.

To begin, prepare the bulgur. Since it’s already partially cooked, all you have to do is place it in a bowl with boiling water, cover it with plastic wrap and let it steam for 30 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed.

In the meantime, prepare the vegetables and herbs.

I like to soak the red onions in cold water to remove the raw onion taste. This is totally optional — if you like raw onions, skip this step.

Fluff up the cooked bulgur with a fork…

Then combine it with the vegetables, herbs, chick peas and spices.

Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil.

Then toss to combine, season to taste and serve.

Bulgur Salad with Cucumbers, Red Peppers, Chick Peas, Lemon and Dill

Servings: 4-6 as a side dish (2-3 as a main course)
Total Time: 40 Minutes


  • 1 cup bulgur or light bulgur
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small English (or hothouse) cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 15-ounce can chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from 1-2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, best quality such as Lucini or Colavita
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  1. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Place the bulgur in a large bowl with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1-1/4 cups boiling water. Cover the bowl tightly with saran wrap and let sit for 25-30 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile, to soften the bite of the raw onions, place them in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Let them sit for ten minutes, and then drain. (Feel free to skip this step if you don't mind the taste of raw onions.) Combine the cooked bulgur with the red onions, remaining teaspoon of salt (I know it seems like a lot but the salad is bland without it) and all of the other ingredients. Season to taste with more salt, pepper, sugar or lemon if desired. Serve cold.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 336
  • Fat: 15g
  • Saturated fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 46g
  • Sugar: 7g
  • Fiber: 11g
  • Protein: 9g
  • Sodium: 1085mg
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    Obsessed! So delicious. I substituted lentils for the bulgar and added a jalapeno and feta cheese. All I’ve been eating!

    - Emma on March 30, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I love making this salad on a Sunday and then packing the leftovers for lunch throughout the week. Sometimes I leave the onions out so I don’t have to worry about my breath at work. Ha! Either way, it’s fresh and delicious!

    - Rebecca P. on March 21, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is a great dish for lunch. It keeps well in the fridge and the flavors are a great combination. It’s great with grilled chicken for dinner as well. Make it for dinner and take the leftovers for lunch the next day!

    - Julie spencer on March 21, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this recipe on a Tuesday night for dinner on Wednesday. I didn’t have parsley, so I bought some and added it Wednesday right before we ate it. So the parsley didn’t have time to really set with all the rest of the ingredients. But WOW! This recipe was AWESOME!! I had it again for lunch today, and am looking forward to eating the rest. This will definitely be one of my new go-to salad recipes!

    - Janice on February 5, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This salad is AMAZING! I love, love, love it and wouldn’t change a thing. I didn’t have any fresh dill so added 1/4 cup freeze dried, but other than that, I made the recipe exactly as written. Thank you!

    - Melissa on January 19, 2015 Reply
  • Do you think you could do this with brown rice for the bulgur to make it gluten free? Thank you.

    - michelle morris on January 11, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Michelle, Yes, absolutely.

      - Jenn on January 11, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this salad for company and it was a hit with everyone. We love tabbouleh and I think that this version is even better than the more traditional recipes. There is a nice balance of flavors and this salad goes well with chicken or fish. By itself, it is a delicious lunch and it tastes great left-over.

    - Roxana on December 3, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This recipe is a keeper! The salad stays fresh for several days and is tangy, light and delicious. We have meat eaters and vegetarians in our family and this salad works well as a main course, side dish or healthy lunch.

    - Nancy Templeton on December 3, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is the first time I am leaving a review for a recipe, EVER – because it is THAT good. The flavors are a perfect blend, subtle and nothing is overpowering (I followed the trick to soak the onions.) I first tried your Black Bean Avocado salad which was also a home run, as a novice “chef” I truly surprised myself… thank you!!

    - Veronica on August 19, 2014 Reply
  • 4 stars

    This is a delicious summer salad and so refreshing! A great take on traditional tabbouli that is good enough to serve at a party.

    - Tierney on July 6, 2014 Reply
  • Add a spoonful of sugar (or more) in the water when soaking onions and then rinse it out thoroughly. It shortens the soaking time and removes the bitterness better than simple soaking.

    - Sirpa on May 26, 2014 Reply
  • Thanks for this lovely recipe. I regularly make it on a Sunday night and have it for lunch through the week. I make a few small changes, I don’t like dill or parsley so I use coriander instead. I don’t use any salt or sugar. It’s amazing. Thanks again.

    - Aifric on May 19, 2014 Reply
  • really nice salad i tried and it cam out very well

    - rabab on March 17, 2014 Reply
  • I’ve just made this dish it’s delicious I’ve added extra lemon juice to taste. Super thank you.

    - Bridget Ramsay on February 15, 2014 Reply
  • Made this last summer and got rave reviews.

    - Lisa Kroll on November 7, 2013 Reply
  • This was so delicious! It got better the longer it sat in my fridge. It makes a ton, so I ate it for days – wonderful to have lunch ready in a snap!

    - Rebecca on October 22, 2013 Reply
  • I just made it, and it’s very delicious! I also added a couple of small tomatoes, and I didn’t have any parsley on hand. Otherwise, made as written. The flavors are reminiscent of tabbouleh, with a bit less herbs and a nice addition of chickpeas. It is a lovely salad, and it can replace a whole meal. Thanks for the recipe, and for your excellent site!

    - Marina on September 16, 2013 Reply
    • You’re welcome, Marina! I’m so glad you liked the salad…it’s one of my favorites :)

      - Jenn on September 16, 2013 Reply
  • Jen,
    I have been hooked on your site for over a year now. Each week, I browse through your recipes while setting up our meal plan.
    I have made this particular salad many, many times. I’ve even subbed wheat berries which was nice.
    I simply can’t say enough about how wonderful your dinners and salads are. It’s as if you know exactly what our family likes to eat – fresh, light food that’s full of flavor.
    Thank you for making my weekly planning so easy! (My husband, parents, and friends thank you as well!)

    - Nicole on September 4, 2013 Reply
    • That is so great to hear, Nicole. Thank you!

      - Jenn on September 4, 2013 Reply
  • This is delicious and easy to make. It looked exactly like it did in Jenn’s “easy to follow” photos, and tasted even better. My husband devoured it!!! Thanks for another great recipe, Jenn!

    - Jackie on August 2, 2013 Reply
  • Yum! Thanks!

    - Meredith on July 11, 2013 Reply
  • thanks for the recipe. but using cling wrap was regressive in the 80s. cover it with a plate for god sakes.

    - chris on June 5, 2013 Reply
    • I thought the plastic wrap was odd, too. I would never waste the plastic or the time to do that. Cover with a plate. Easy to do and easy on the earth.

      - Chickadee on January 4, 2015 Reply
  • What are your thoughts on using dried dill instead?

    - Renee on June 2, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Renee, Dried dill will work perfectly fine, just don’t use as much. You will probably only need a few tablespoons but add it to taste. Hope that helps!

      - Jenn on June 2, 2013 Reply
  • this is good. I added a finely sliced red chilli. and extra cumin.
    I forgot to add the olive oil and it tasted great, and tasted less great after I added the oil so I’ll omit for next time.

    - Rachel Squelch on April 25, 2013 Reply
  • How long will this stay good in the fridge for? Do you at the dressing all at once or just when you are ready to eat?

    - Lindsey on April 7, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Lindsey, You can add the dressing all at once and it will keep well for 3-4 days in the fridge.

      - Jenn on April 8, 2013 Reply
  • Hello,

    I did this recipe for my own blog. I forgt thebell pepper though ;-)
    It was delicous. Thank you so much!


    - Ines on March 29, 2013 Reply
  • Thank you for this recipe! it’s delicious. I made it cuz I needed a vegan dish for a get together. I substituted with red quinoa and I added some sherry vinegar. So good! :) I also added extra chickpeas because they are so delicioussss

    - fiona on March 28, 2013 Reply
  • I made this last evening for the second time, but I didn’t have cumin. I substituted garam masala and I think it gave greater depth. This is a really delicious and easy dish. I just had some for lunch too.

    - marjory on March 20, 2013 Reply
  • This salad was delicious. We are trying to eat healthier in our house, and this fit the bill.

    - Catharine on March 15, 2013 Reply
  • I used quinoa instead of bulgur, it turn out nice. I also used lime instead of lemon because that all I had in my fridge and it was still good. I would make this more often since its a quick fix for any day.

    - Liz on March 13, 2013 Reply
  • I made this and substituted quinoa – it”s a great lunch to take to work and I love that it doesn’t need to be heated in the microwave. Just stir and enjoy.

    - Angela on March 11, 2013 Reply
  • Made a double batch of this last night to enjoy with dinner and then have as leftovers this week. Very tasty, the lemon adds a refreshing citrus taste. I think it would be great with some feta too.

    - Tracy on March 11, 2013 Reply
  • Didn’t used to like bulgur, but what a change! Like this!

    - Dorothy on March 10, 2013 Reply
  • I liked this recipe. I made for a meatless dinner during Lent. I added a bit of balsamic vinegar to the leftovers and liked that too.

    - Lisa on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Finally a recipe for the bulgur I bought and knew to do nothing with!

    I think this recipe was perfect. I am vegetarian, so I’m always looking for recipes that are high protein, flavor, and low in fat. I want it to be hearty and savory and this is just that.

    I’ll be making this again and again. Also, I had no idea you could soak bulgur before making this recipe. I thought it HAD to be cooked.

    Cheers to another good one!

    - Brandy on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Tabbouleh is one of my favorite foods not only to eat, but to make as well. This recipe was a wonderful inspiration with the addition of the chick peas it’s almost like eating my tabbouleh with a side of hummus. Love it!

    - Colleen on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • This salad was great!
    Very refreshing and flavorful.
    I am not a huge fan of dill, so I just used parsley and I was very happy with the result.

    - Vasso on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Love the favors in this salad.

    - Kathleen French-Wilson on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • This is delicious. I used quinoa since I didn’t have the bulgur and it turned out great. Soaking the onions is a great tip to soften the taste of the onion. Next time I shall try adding avocado – sounds good! Thanks

    - Carla on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Had never heard of soaking the onion to rid it of the raw onion taste. Can’t wait to try it!

    - MJ on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • I have made this twice already, and my husband and I love it. I didn’t change a thing. I love the flavors and crispness. Leftovers are great for 2-3 days. And it’s such a colorful dish.

    - Donna on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • bulgur salad is a very refreshing salad, very mediterranean, accompany grilled meat very well.
    also, couscous works well with the same ingredients, very healthy,and tasty.

    - arlette forlano on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • This dish is easy and so delicious! I love the crunchy veggies with the bulgur….a perfect side dish for grilled meats of any kind

    - Melissa Lee on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Thank you Jennifer for this wonderful recipe.

  • I love this salad, I used this as one of the choices during the summer for a side dish to sandwiches in my restaurant. Thank you for posting it!

    - Nathan Copeland on March 4, 2013 Reply
  • Delicious salad! Thanks for posting.

    - Nancy on March 3, 2013 Reply
  • I just made this salad, very flavorful and absolutely deliish. Thanks again for sharing

    - Diane on March 2, 2013 Reply
  • Is bulgar the same as kasha?

    - Robin on February 27, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Robin, No it’s not the same. Bulgur is made from wheat kernels that have been steamed, dried, and cracked, while kasha is made from buckwheat.

      - Jenn on February 27, 2013 Reply
  • Delicious! Love it! Thanks so much for sharing!

    - Ina on February 25, 2013 Reply
  • This salad looks sooooo chalk full of flavors….I am quite certain I would CRAVE it!

    - leslie on February 25, 2013 Reply
  • Shannon, I made this tonight with quinoa and it was delish! I added in my favorite Israeli feta (from Trader Joes) and some avocado on top. Jenn–your blog is my go-to guide…thanks!

    - Louisa on February 24, 2013 Reply
  • Uncanny! Your blog always shows me just what I want to eat at that moment. You always feature my favorite dishes.

    That little Max is sure lucky to born into a family with cooks like you! He’s got a lot of good meas ahead!

    - MickMil on February 21, 2013 Reply
  • I just made this and it is delicious! Very flavorful!

    - Jackie on February 21, 2013 Reply
  • …would it change the taste greatly?

    - Shannon on February 21, 2013 Reply
  • What are your thoughts on substituting quinoa for the bulgur?

    - Shannon on February 21, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Shannon, I think it would work. Taste would be different, but still good!

      - Jenn on February 21, 2013 Reply
    • I made this with bulgar and because I am gluten free I also made it with quinoa. The quinoa and the bulgar wheat both absorb alot of the liquid so I would put in on last minute to get the freshest flavor.

      - susan on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Looks amazingly delicious! Would quinoa work as sub for bulgur? I have a 3 lb. bag I need to use- Thanks-

    - sonya in NC on February 21, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Sonya, Yes, quinoa would definitely work. Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the bag, only use less water. I typically use 1-2/3 cup water to 1 cup quinoa. So sorry for the late response…somehow your comment ended up in my spam folder.

      - Jenn on March 10, 2013 Reply

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