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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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

  • Made this salad today and oh my gosh it tastes amazing – so refreshing and tangy. We loved it !

    • — Sue on July 8, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi. I made this recipe as prescribed except I added my own dressing which was made of olive oil and lemon juice plus garlic and dijon mustard. The herbs I added were what I had on hand, green onions, cilantro and dried dill. Came out great! I served it with a rack of lamb seasoned with Moroccan spice. success!

    • — Corinne Mauri on June 24, 2020
    • Reply
  • Very good. Makes a good amount. Very adaptable. I added parsley, mint, and some feta. As always, great recipe.

    • — wendie morin on June 16, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made this today to go with some yummy gyros my son and I made. It turned out delicious! I did omit the red bell peppers as we didn’t have any and substituted honey for sugar as we just don’t like to keep sugar on hand. I definitely recommend this to anyone who loves tabbouleh!

    • — Renee on June 8, 2020
    • Reply
  • I love the texture of this salad! Crunchy, fresh, and delicious.

    • — Katie N on May 15, 2020
    • Reply
  • Just made this and it turned out amazing! Didn’t have fresh dill but made it work with dried. Added just a touch of sesame oil for a little nutty flavor, a dash of tumeric, and some crushed red pepper. Definitely making this again.

    • — Zach on April 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi there!
    I just found your site today and a quiche (made from your recipe) is in the oven 🙂
    Regarding this recipe, I sadly do not have bulgur on hand. Do you think I could make it with quinoa, farro, or amaranth (all of which I have in the pantry)? Thanks!

    • — Nicole on April 21, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Nicole, Welcome to the site! I think quinoa would work well here. I’d love to know how the recipes turn out. 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 22, 2020
      • Reply
      • I just made this, with bulgur, and oh man!!! This is such an amazing dish..it’s like a party in your mouth! Love, love, love!

        • — Nicole on April 30, 2020
        • Reply
      • Hi Jenn! I’ve made this recipe many times and it is excellent like all your recipes!!! This time I substituted Quinoa for the Bulgar to make it Gluten Free for my sister. It was absolutely excellent! I’m not sure which way is better. They are both favorites of mine! Thank you for all your great recipes and your book!

        • — Denise Ksen Smith on September 1, 2020
        • Reply
        • You’re so welcome! 🙂

          • — Jenn on September 2, 2020
          • Reply
  • Very very yummy!

    • — Diane Manheim on April 3, 2020
    • Reply
  • This salad has so much more flavor than I expected. Both my wife and I were stunned by this one. I replaced the chickpeas with about a cup of Asiago Pressato cubed to the same size as the cucumbers. I also drizzled some pomegranate molasses over it when serving. This is going into my regular rotation. Thank you for the great recipe.

    • — Dave Shawley on February 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • I did not think it will be so tasty. I was making it for a first time and used green pepper instead of red, added mint, basil. Made some with cumin and rest without. Salt and lemon to my taste. Healthy and tasty. I definitely will make this salad again!

    • — Viktoria on September 27, 2019
    • Reply
  • I have made this before, and everyone loves it. It is healthy and refreshing with the lemon/oil dressing is perfect. A wonderful salad for a mid-eastern luncheon! Actually added tomatoes because I had home grown available and couldn’t resist using them.

    Thanks, Jen.

    Susan

    • — Susan Rittenberg
    • Reply
    • Oh yeah. I also added kale. It blended well with everything

      • — Viktoria on September 27, 2019
      • Reply
    • Hi I’ve made this salade several times now and each time im amazed just how good it is. I had a similar one when i was in Israel this time last year. I am sold and so are family and friends. Thank you !

  • Tastes great! Used scallions because the red onion at the store didn’t look good. Nice vegan dish for lunch or side. I also forgot the cumin, but maybe I’ll add to what I didn’t eat already!

  • Wonderful salad for a July evening. Fresh, crunchy, tasty.

    • Recipe looks delicious! Added to my list to try.
      Question: how long will the salad keep in the fridge for?

      Thanks!

  • What size bulgar did you use for that salad?

    • Hi Mary, I haven’t made this recipe in a while, but I believe I used #2 which is medium. Hope you enjoy the salad if you make it!

  • Such fresh flavour. An amazingly quick and tasty salad! I have made the recipe for a meal with the chick peas and have omitted the chick peas when I serve as a side dish with falafel.

  • I had a great Aunt who introduced me to bulgur when I was a kid and I never looked back. And I don’t mean that in a positive way! I forgot about it as quickly as I could! Fast forward many moons and it, along with so many other grains, are the darlings of many a health-conscious cook’s repertoire and are just plain EVERYWHERE.

    So when I first saw the recipe, it read deliciously and I figured, eh, a few decades have passed, maybe I should give the ol’ bulgur another shot? Like with many of Jenn’s recipes, I was very glad I did.

    Here’s the thing though, at I rarely use garlic and onion when i cook. And yes, I am 100% sure that it sets my great Aunt spinning in her grave. (Along with the rest of the many matriarchs of my extended Italian family who have passed on as well!) It is plainly and simply (and sadly!) just as some killjoy once perfectly phrased it, I love them but they don’t love me.

    Newsflash: no one whom I have ever made this for missed them (if I told them about leaving them out), or suggested they should be added (if I didn’t.) The fresh, bright taste of the lemon juice, sweetness of the red pepper, slight nuttiness of the chichi beans, and the deliciousness of the fresh dill and parsley, when considered with all the different textures in play, make this an absolute winner for every summer cookout. (Particularly the ones where you know that there may be a few non-meat eaters in attendance.)

    So leave the garlic and onion in the recipe, or leave them out and see what you think. But I do have one request, whatever you do, just don’t tell the kids the salad has something called bulgur in it!

    • — Mark from Potomac, MD
    • Reply
  • This recipe is amazing! So incredibly fresh and easy. I’ve made it as a main and as a side – both great. I like to mix in a bit of Greek yogurt or tzatziki sometimes to add a bit of creaminess.

  • I love your recipes! I was looking for something to use up some barley that I had in the pantry (from your wonderful Beef and Barley Soup) and I came across this recipe. I prepared the barley and rinsed off the gooey starch before tossing it with the rest of the ingredients. It is amazing!

  • I made this delicious salad a few months ago. It came together very quickly , was satisfying with bright MEditerranean flavors and tasted even better the next day.
    I recommend it as a side to the chicken kebabs.

    • — Ms. Milagros Vazquez
    • Reply
  • best salad ever! I love it! Thanks so much!

  • I made this recipe last week, it is simply amazing! A while ago I bought a delicious salad from a deli supermarket, and I really wanted to recreate it at home for home and packed lunch.
    So I’m glad when I went to check to your website I could find this recipe that was the same flavour profile! So I made this recipe as a “Salad Bowl” adding small portions on sid of the bowl/container the following: your bulgar salad and dressing (omitting the chickpeas but otherwise everything as mentioned in your recipe), a couple of falafels, hummus, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes and arugula salad leaves ~ it’s flavourful, hearty and satisfying, nutritious and delicious, and quick and easy! Thank you Jenn!

  • I followed the recipe but substituted New Mexico green chilies. It gave the salad a bit more bunch. My whole family loved it.

  • I was wondering if black beans can be substituted for chickpeas. Have already got falafel and hummus on menu list for my upcoming dinner party.

    • Sure, San, that would be fine. Enjoy!

  • I have been cooking/baking nearly exclusively from this website for the past few months. Everything is good! I like this salad a lot, but did add some crumpled feta for a little extra depth in the flavor. Thanks for the great recipes, Jenn!

  • Too salty! Start with 1/2 teaspoon and add if you think it needs it. Everyone has different tastes. You can always add, but you can’t remove. Otherwise, I love this recipe!

  • I would like to serve this as a side salad to eight people. Would I need to double the recipe, including the dressing?

    • Hi Barbara, I’d either make 1.5 to 2 times the recipe. If you double it, you may have leftovers, but it keeps nicely in the fridge for several days.

  • Wonderful summer meal. Actually anytime of the year, but I adore it in the summer as I don’t need to heat up the house with any stove top or oven cooking. Sometimes I make a green lettuce ‘bowl’ to serve it in. More veggies for my boys.

  • Unbelievably delicious exactly as written. Yes, regarding the amount of salt. My husband who never likes these kinds of salads loved it. Thank you!

  • Delicious. Needed more lemon and extra red pepper for crunch. Great for summer. Thanks.

  • Can I replace the bulgur with quinoa? I would love to bring this dish to a picnic, but the host needs gluten free. If so, what adjustments would be needed?

    • Definitely (and no adjustments needed). Enjoy!

  • This is so delicious. I have to say I’ve made about 5 recipes from your site and not one is bad. I love that the ingredients are things I either have on hand or easily acquired. I’ve been in a cooking funk and your recipes always give me something good to make. Thank you.

  • Hi Jenn.. love this salad but I’m up in the Outer Banks with limited products. I only see Red Mills red bulgur. Can I use that? On the bag it’s 2 c water to 1 cup bulgar for basic cooking. At home I get mine from Sprouts. Thank you!

    • Yes, I think that should work; just make sure to follow the cooking instructions on the package. Enjoy!

    • I find red bulgur expands more so regular bulgur so you might want to decrease the amount of red bulgur to either half a cup or 3/4 cup.

  • First recipe from here and mostly loved it. Fresh and healthy! Followed it to the tee and it was too acidic for me, so next time will use less lemon. Thought about adding feta, but recipe is rich enough without it.

  • Gorgeous. I made it exactly as it says and it tasted lovely and fresh with lots of flavour. Will be making it often now.

  • Amazing! My husband was skeptical but after one bite couldn’t stop eating it. The dill really makes this special. For leftovers the next day we put Jenn’s hummus (So delicious.. I won’t ever go back to store bought) inside whole wheat pita bread, topped with turkey meatballs, and finished with this salad on top. YUM!

  • This is salad is delicious and makes a perfect light lunch all by itself. A great way to introduce bulgur into your diet. Soaking the red onion really works! The seasoning is just right. Thanks Jenn 😊

  • I have made this salad several times the flavor is terrific. I added halved grape tomatoes instead of red pepper, some feta cheese and black olives because I just love them. I have also made this recipe exactly as printed and it is really just perfect.

  • What can be used in place of the dill? I am not a fan of dill – to put it mildly!

    • Hi Karen, I’d suggest either tarragon or parsley in place of the dill. Hope you enjoy!

  • I have not made this yet – wondering if it would be good with grilled lamb chops?

    • I think grilled lamb chops would pair nicely!

  • Love this recipe. It’s so easy and has wonderful flavors. I have made this several times and modified based on preference and/or ingredients already in my kitchen. I omit the sugar in every instance, use 2 red bell peppers, either cook the onions or omit. Latest version had the following modifications: grilled onions, 2 red bell peppers, 1/4-1/3 cup of dill, cannellini beans, 3 Tbsp of olive oil and no sugar; it turned out great.

  • OMG!! Perfection!! I made this for a BBQ party as a side dish on a very hot day. It was so unbelievably delicious!! It also is great for a party when it is sitting out for a while. Next time, I will use a little less olive oil – just my taste. Also, I could not find fresh dill so used dried (so used much less) and it was fine. Another recipe to add to my normal rotation. Excellent!

  • I love this salad during the summer and I love it even more during the winter dreaming of summer!!! I use farro instead of bulgur as I prefer the “chew” of farro. Easy to prepare and keeps well in the fridge! I make it on the weekend-serve it to my family with dinner-and then I snack on it all week! I will also add leftover cooked chicken to make it a quick and healthy lunch! Thanks Jenn!

    • Brilliant idea! Been making this salad for a long time and never thought of using farro, I will try that next time!

  • Absolutely loved this salad. Made a double batch so my daughter could bring some for lunch the next day.

  • Love the flavor of this salad! I’ve made it a few times with some variations. I used quinoa and it turned out great! I loved the leftovers, the flavor was even better the next day. I also served it over some greens the next day to make it go a little further, because everyone wanted the leftovers! I like to add a little sambal oelek (3/4 tsp) just to give it one more layer of flavor. Yummy!

  • What could be used in place of the bulgar to make this gluten free?

    • Hi Teres, you could replace the bulgur with brown rice or quinoa. Enjoy!

  • I made this a few times this summer and it was consistently good. I found that, for me, it didn’t keep well as a leftover. That won’t prevent me from making it again though, I’ll just cut the recipe in half next time 🙂

  • Hi Jenn!
    Thank you for all your lovely lovely recipes. Plan on making this and wanted to know if I can use ground dill spice cause I don’t have fresh. If so: how much should I use? Thanks!

    • Hi Sarah, Glad you like the recipes! Yes, you can use dried dill here- up to about 2.5 Tbsp. Hope you enjoy!

  • I love this salad. The dressing is very subtle. I make it with quinoa.

  • I strongly recommend doing an emulsion with those herbs, oil, and lemon. Didn’t even try the original instructions of just pouring everything in. Great results. Switched sugar to honey. Added cayenne. Finished with crunchy salt and/or capers.

  • It’s edible but definitely not a keeper. The taste of lemon and cumin is overpowering. Won’t be making it again.

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