Books/ Recipes/ Side Dishes

Bulghur Pilaf from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty

Getting more whole grains in your diet is easier than ever with the wide availability of bulghur, quinoa, barley and spelt, but it’s also easy to fall into a rut with the most basic preparations for these grains. My regular bulghur pilaf is pretty simple, relying on onion, crimini mushrooms and chicken stock for its flavor. That simplicity makes it a great side dish when your main, say baked chicken, has a more dominant flavor profile. But why should a side dish have to take a back seat?

This bulghur pilaf from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plentyuses a good amount of onion and red bell pepper, accented by pink peppercorns and ground coriander to build in flavor from the ground up. A bit of tomato paste and golden raisins also bring a little sweetness to the dish and it takes on the color of Mexican rice.

After yesterday’s Superbowl of eating, we’ll take it easy with this pilaf alongside a flank steak and whatever veg I pull out of the crisper.

Itamar's Bulghur Pilaf

Print Recipe


  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 a large red onion, thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1 c. bulghur
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 2 t. pink peppercorns
  • 1 T. ground coriander
  • 1 3/4 c. water
  • 2/3 c. golden raisins
  • salt and pepper



Heat a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and saute the bell pepper and onions until completely softened, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the bulghur, tomato paste and spices and cook for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the water and golden raisins. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes.

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