Bulgur Pilaf with Zucchini
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
What is Bulgur Pilaf?
Bulgur Pilaf also known as “burghul a banadoura” is quick healthy meal idea! Bulgur Pilaf with Zucchini is a simple Lebanese dish made with beef, onion and bulgur braised in a rich tomato sauce. Some people leave out the zucchini, but I like the different texture that zucchini adds to this dish.
Bulgur pilaf with zucchini is one of my favorite recipes with bulgur! It’s an easy, flavorful Lebanese bulgur dish and is perfect for a healthy weeknight meal!
What is Bulgur?
Bulgur is chewy and nutty tasting whole grain made with whole wheat kernels that have been parboiled, dried and cracked into different coarse grade. Bulgur wheat is an essential grain in Middle Eastern cuisine, when cooked, has a similar consistency to couscous or quinoa.. 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.
Types of Bulgur:
There are two different kinds of bulgur: fine and coarse. When buying your bulgur, look closely at the packaging and you will find a number. The lower the number, the more fine the bulgur grain. Number 1 being the most fine (least coarse) kind of bulgur that is usually used in Tabouli Salad and Kibbeh. Number 2, 3 and 4 are more coarse.
For this bulgur pilaf recipe, you can use any coarse kind of bulgur, but I personally prefer #3 or #4 because they hold a better shape.
How to Make Bulgur Pilaf Recipe:
- In a medium sized pot, over medium heat, heat olive oil and add the onion. Sauté for about 10 min until onions are wilted by not browned.
- Add beef, salt and spices and mix well with onions, cook for additional 10 minutes.
- Add zucchini cuts and mix in well the beef mixture.
- Top with water, just enough to cover the ingredients, about 2 cups.
- Cover the pot, increase heat to medium high and bring mixture to a boil.
- Lower heat to medium low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until zucchini is soft.
- Add bulgur, diced tomatoes and tomato paste and give it a quick stir.
- Turn heat up to medium high and bring mixture to boil.
- Reduce heat to medium low, cover the pot again and simmer for 20 min or until bulgur is cooked through and most of the water is absorbed.
Tips for making bulgur pilaf with zucchini:
- Adjust the water ratio. I find that 2 cups of water to 1 cup of coarse bulgur to be just right. But if the water is absorbed and the bulgur is not cooked through, you can add 1/2 a cup of water and the bulgur will continue to fluff up.
- Don’t mix too much after adding the bulgur. I usually just give it one quick stir, and then just fluff it up with a fork before serving.
- Make it vegetarian. Simply leave out the beef, or substitute for cooked chickpeas.
- Cut the beef into very small bite size tips so they cook fast.
Frequently asked questions
Is Bulgur Pilaf Gluten Free?
No. Bulgur is a wheat product and it’s Not Gluten-Free!
What’s the difference between bulgur and cracked wheat?
Bulgur is wheat berries that are parboiled, dried then broken into pieces. However, cracked wheat is not cooked. It’s raw wheat berries broken into pieces.
Where can you buy bulgur wheat?
You can find the bulgur at your local Middle Eastern grocery store, natural-foods stores and some large supermarkets, often located with other Middle Eastern ingredients. You can also order it on amazon.
Lebanese vs. Turkish bulgur pilaf:
This bulgur pilaf dish is common in Turkish and Lebanese cuisine. Turks call it bulgur pilavi and cook it without a tomato base, and sometimes with the addition of vermicelli.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last up to 5 days and can be reheated in the microwave or enjoyed cold.