Bulgur Salad with Cucumbers, Red Peppers, Chickpeas, Lemon & Dill

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With fresh herbs, chopped vegetables and chickpeas, this Middle Eastern-style bulgur salad is like a bulked-up tabbouleh.

Made with nutty bulgur, fresh herbs, chopped vegetables, and buttery chickpeas, 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.

What you’ll need to make bulgur salad

bulgur salad ingredients

Bulgur is a chewy and nutty-tasting 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 many stores also carry it in the bulk bins.

Step-by-Step Instructions

To begin, in a medium bowl, combine the bulgur bowl and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

bulgur and salt

Pour 1-1/4 cups boiling water over top and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

bowl covered with plastic wrap Let the bulgur steam for 30 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed.

steamed bulgur

While the bulgur soaks, 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.

soaking red onion in water

Once the chopped onion has soaked, drain thoroughly.

draining onion

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, sugar, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt.

whisked dressing

Add the cooled bulgur, onion, bell pepper, cucumber, dill, parsley, and chick peas.

adding the bulgur and vegetables to the dressingToss well, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

tossed bulgur saladChill until ready to serve or up to two days. Serve cold or room temperature.

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

With fresh herbs, chopped vegetables and chickpeas, this Middle Eastern-style bulgur salad is like a bulked-up tabbouleh.

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


  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from 2 lemons
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 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 chickpeas, drained and rinsed


  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 15-30 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed. Let cool, then fluff with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, to soften the bite of the raw onions, place them in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit for ten minutes, and then drain. (Feel free to skip this step if you don't mind the strong taste of raw onions.)
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, sugar, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Add the cooled bulgur, onion, bell pepper, cucumber, dill, parsley, and chick peas. Toss well, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Chill until ready to serve or up to two days. Serve cold or room temperature.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

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

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Didn’t have bulgur so substituted with spelt. Delicious summer salad.

  • Excellent combination of ingredients. Very refreshing salad! We made this several times last summer.

  • This is a lovely recipe. It is easy to make, refreshing and quite a substantial meal on its own.

  • Do you think this would work with cooked millet instead of bulgur?

  • This is my “go to salad” for any and all occassions from home dinners to banquets and showers. I’ve given this recipe to so many that I’ve learned to make copies ahead of time. Best Salad EVER!

  • I found this recipe last year and it is now a family favourite- no changes to the recipe as it is great. Never had bulgar wheat before this we now have a large bag in store ready for that summer-fresh flavour all year round.

  • Really delicious salad which I haven’t been able to stop eating!

  • This is my favorite salad of yours, so far…have enjoyed them all but this tops them…I used quinoa instead of bulgar…my whole family is enjoying this!! It does keep well…

    • — Wendy G Schoenburg
    • Reply
  • Hi can I make this in advance or will it get soggy?

    • Danielle, you can definitely make this in advance!

  • I really think this bulgur salad is absolutely delicious. Made a few small changes to suit our personal tastes and find it to be a really wonderful and well thought out recipe.

    • — Peter Hesse, CEC
    • Reply
  • Can u substitute couscous for bulgur

    • Sure, I think that would work well.

  • This salad is great to have on hand year-round. It’s delicious! I sometimes reduce the oil, but otherwise stick to instructions. Love this as my go-to for lunch main or as side with soup. Also perfect to bring to cookouts as a nice non-mayo salad.

  • I have made this salad several times over the summer and served it with grilled foods. We have it as a side dish for dinner and then I take it for lunch to work. All the ingredients work so well together and the dressing is so bright and flavorful. I will make this year round.

  • Made this dish for main course of rotisserie chicken from Costco. I also cut the cumin & sugar down to 3/4 tsp. This dish was AMAZINGLY!!!! As you know the Costco chicken can taste very rich. The lemony fresh herby taste of this salad was complimentary to the chicken. The textures were so satisfying. I was concerned about the amount of dill, but it worked really well. My husband isn’t a fan of lemony salads, but per all of the ‘once upon a Chef’s’ recipes, it was so well balanced & fresh tasting. Cooking the bulgur as directed was the EASIEST part of the recipe. While I chopped everything up, the bulgur was absorbing the water. When I was done measuring all the rest of the ingredients, the bulgur was ready to add. The main difference I made in following the directions was making the dressing in a separate bowl with olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, pepper, sugar, salt & garlic. This way I was able to ensure even distribution when I added it to the rest of the ingredients. This is a very filling side dish. Any leftovers can be lunch the next day. Really excited about making this one. I’m happy I get to review this for a chance to win the book. That’s why I made the dish!!! Easy to make, flavorful & fresh. Definitely a winner.

  • This is such a tasty salad! I serve this (I made no adjustments to recipe) with the Middle Eastern Chicken Kebabs and some warm naan with homemade hummus and the hubby always raves! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Use scallions (green onion), not red onion
    No chickpeas
    No cumin
    No bell pepper
    No sugar
    !/2 of the lemon juice
    1/2 half of the dill

    Now this is more traditional

    • Really, Greg? All “traditions” were new at one point! Try this recipe as written–it is excellent and now a permanent addition to my salad repertoire. I agree, don’t throw out the old, but recognize that variations are the spice of life.

  • Yum! This was so good! To be honest, I forgot to buy the fresh dill so I just skipped it, but it was still great without. I put feta cheese and fresh sliced avocado on top. Perfect lunch to take to work!

    • Any cucumber substitution recommendations? This salad looks awesome but I donโ€™t like cucumbers. I would love to have a green vegetable in the salad and thinking of trying asparagus. Any recommendations appreciated.

      • — Raina Alexander
      • Reply
      • Raina, asparagus (that has been blanched to soften it a bit) would be great. Other options that come to mind are celery and/or green pepper. Hope you enjoy!

  • Hi Jenn! I’m new to your website but so delighted I stumbled across it. I made this salad last week to bring to the cottage and it was amazing. I could not believe I made something so good. I made everyone try it and they all loved it. I cannot wait to try more of your recipes. This was honestly one of the tastiest dishes I have ever made. My cousin is a vegetarian and my mother always stresses about what she will make for him when he comes to dinner, but now I have the perfect dish to bring to keep him happy! Thank you so very much for sharing!

  • Refreshing recipe! Even my carnivore husband enjoyed it, that’s how delicious it was. Followed the recipes to a T, no need to change a thing.

  • Can this be made a day ahead?

    • Definitely! Hope you enjoy.

      • Thank you

  • This was great Jenn! You’re my go to, every recipe is delish!

  • This was so damned good. The dressing is superb. Added mint instead of dill. Added Feta and some quartered cherry tomatoes. Had some leftover tritip that I added as well. I could eat this everyday.

  • This is one of my all-time favorite recipes. I make it all the time, sometimes just for myself, but I’ve also brought it for several potlucks.

    I add feta, omit the parsley and add a ton of dried dill (you can never have too much dill). I just think this is the brightest, tastiest salad ever and I never get sick of it.

    Thank you!

  • Your recipes never fail us. I come back to your site every single week. Thank you for making the recipe so simple and delicious. I love it when you gave us an unfamiliar ingredient and comment as where we could find it in the groceries section. That helps us in the process. This salad is one of our favorite. I use quinoa since I don’t have bulgur and it still tastes great.

  • I had a total mind blank and made this with quinoa instead of bulgur by accident, but it is absolutely totally delicous. I skipped the dill and used dried parsley instead of fresh. I can hardly wait for the salad to chill properly before I eat more.

    • I usually bring chilled grain salads to room temperature before eating. The flavors come through so much better.

  • Another winner…….absolutely delish!!

  • Oh my gosh! Just follow the directions and prepare to have a new favorite dish! Yum!!!
    Thanks for sharing this recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Can you substitute Farro for the bulgur wheat?

    • Definitely! Keep in mind the potentially different cooking time for farro.

  • I have made this salad about 4 times now in the last couple of months, exactly as written in the recipe, and my husband and I still get excited about making it and having a small bowl immediately upon completion. We’ve been trying to eat a more plant-based diet, and this salad is delicious and good for you, as well as beautiful to look at in the bowl. I tried making more “traditional” tabbouleh salad from Ina Garten’s arsenal of recipes (I am a huge Ina fan, too), and my husband wasn’t loving it. Perhaps too much mint. I think the cumin does wonders for this recipe — warms it up a bit. GREAT ADDITION. Anyway, I’m so excited about this recipe and this site — each item I have tried so far has been spot on and really enjoyed by my family. And the step-by-step photographs are wonderful. Thanks, Jenn!

  • Very good!

  • I have made this three or four times by now, and every time it’s a winner. I make it without the dill, and apart from that (I strongly dislike dill) I adhere faithfully to the recipe. I keep the proportions given and I just keep this salad in the fridge for the week’s meals as a quick and easy side dish to be added to my lunch boxes. Honestly, it gets even better when it’s had the chance to get its flavours really combined.

  • What kind of salt did you use? Kosher salt or Morton’s table salt? I think there is a big difference so I don’t want to make a mistake and ruin the salad

    • I use fine sea salt, which would be the same as table salt.

  • This recipe is great. I did modify it a bit because my husband doesn’t like raw garlic or onion. I sauteed them few a few minutes and tossed in the pepper at the end too so the onion and garlic was easier to distribute. It does dirty a pan but if you aren’t a fan of raw onion and garlic this works well. I also omitted the sugar.

  • This recipe is so flavorful and fresh and a complete meal in itself. The only modification I made was to substitute freekeh (cracked green wheat) for the bulgur wheat. Leftovers are awesome for a quick, healthy lunch the next day.

  • Review:
    This was so so so delicious!! My family and I absolutely loved it. The only change I made was that I didn’t add as much oil as called for and I added a little more cumin at the end! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for the recipe.

  • I have made this salad twice now. The first time I made it with the red onion and despite soaking they were a bit too strong. This time I substituted green onion and it was great! Both times, the salad was great, actually, but I just preferred it with green onion. Love! Thank you!

  • This is a great salad! I made this for my wife who was taking it to a picnic lunch with the girls. I didn’t want to part with it!! Thanks Jennifer.

    • — George Ponaparte
    • Reply
  • Great Summer Time Salad for a pot luck. The bowl was empty about 1 hour into the pot luck.
    I forgot to add salt while cooking the bulgur, but added it during the mixing process, it was still good.

  • I like to saute onions in a little olive oil, cool and add to salads. It takes away the strong taste and adds a nice flavor.

  • The salad was a hit! My husband and I really enjoyed it!

  • This recipe is so easy to make and so delicious. It is perfect for a hot day because it is cold and filling.

  • I would really love to make this. is it high in sodium?

    • Hi Lupe, You can reduce the salt or use no salt added chickpeas to reduce the sodium.

  • Delicious and easy to make

  • Jenn, not actually having bulgur on hand, is there another good substitution? Thanks!

    • — Cindy Condrich
    • Reply
    • Hi Cindy, You could try couscous.

  • Although we have liked most of your
    recipes, (not the kale salad) do you
    ever post recipe reviews where the
    recipe is not a favorite? I only have seen
    very favorable reviews and not everyone
    must love everything! This is the only
    site where everything is loved and because
    of that there is really no discussion about what can be changed within a recipe.
    Just wondering!

    • — sidney hubbard
    • Reply
    • Hi Sidney, I really do publish every review — and if you look through all the comments, you’ll find the ones that aren’t favorable ๐Ÿ™‚ I do have to approve comments before they are published to sift through all the spam, especially since so many readers subscribe to the comment threads.

      • Just a further comment to Sidney. There may not be drawn out discussions on changes to Ms. Segal’s recipes, but if you read the reviews, you’ll see that many people change some of the ingredients either because they don’t like something, don’t have something on hand, or thought of modifying something to suit their taste, e.g.. sautรฉing the onions in this recipe. I do think, though, they should NOT rate when they have changed so many ingredients that they have basically almost created another recipe. And yes, all her recipes I have tried are really good, she even got me baking!

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

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

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