Zee’s Bulgur Pilaf

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Time to dig into our pantries for “sequester staples” like this classic recipe for bulgur pilaf.

Bulgur is a made from cracked, parboiled groats of wheat. It comes in different sizes: 1 is the smallest (for making tabbouleh), while 4 is the largest cut and perfect for pilaf. (According to Zee Bedrossian, some stores feature a size 5, but I’ve never witnessed such a wonder.)

Speaking of Zee, this her recipe. It uses vermicelli to basically mirror her classic rice pilaf recipe. Elsewhere on my blog, I feature my late Aunt Betty Najarian’s bulgur pilaf — a healthier version using celery and onion in lieu of the vermicelli.

Be sure to make plenty, as leftover bulgur pilaf can be repurposed for Bulgur Por — a recipe that combines tomatoes, meat, bulgur pilaf, spices, and some veggies for a delicious plate in its own right.

I’ll be back with that recipe soon. For now, let’s make pilaf!



Zee Bedrossian's Classic Bulgur Pilaf

This recipe rivals anything you can order from a restaurant.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword bulgur_pilaf
Servings 8


  • 1.5 cups bulgur wheat Make sure to buy #4 size
  • 1 handful crushed vermicelli Yes, Zee measures in handfuls!
  • 3 cups broth Zee uses chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 splash olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter Or more, if you want to go there!
  • 1 tsp salt Start with this amount, and add more later to taste
  • black pepper Also to taste


  • First, you must clean your bulgur. It only takes a minute or two. Here's how you do it:
    Put the bulgur in a medium-sized bowl, and fill the bowl with water. Agitate the bulgur with your hands, and notice the water become cloudy. Pour out the excess water and repeat this process until the water remains clear.
  • Heat the oil and butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Sauté the vermicelli until it's dark brown and begins to emit a delicious, nutty smell. Zee says, "Watch closely so you don't burn it!"
  • Add the clean bulgur and sauté for a minute, along with the vermicelli.
  • Add the broth, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.
  • Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes on the stovetop.
  • (I cook mine in the oven at 350 for 22 minutes, because I find it's less likely to burn on the bottom when I use the oven.)
  • Taste and adjust salt. Feel free to add an extra pat of butter, at your discretion.
  • Fluff up your bulgur with a fork. If you find that it's too watery, Zee recommends placing a few paper towels under the lid and re-covering for a few minutes. The paper towels will absorb the excess moisture.

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