Bulgur pilaf with seared chicken

Chicken Bulgur Pilaf

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This Chicken Bulgur Pilaf shines with Mediterranean flavors. Perfectly golden, tender, and juicy skinless, boneless chicken thighs are pan seared and served over a fluffy bulgur pilaf. Dinner guaranteed to impress even the pickiest eaters!

Chicken Bulgur Pilaf:

You won’t believe how incredibly delicious this chicken with bulgur recipe is with minimal effort!

Easy peasy bulgur wheat pilaf, topped with pan seared chicken. You’ll love the the crispy, golden crust. On skinless chicken thighs?! YES! The secret in searing is rubbing them with a mixture of spices, then searing them on medium-high heat which leaves burnt bits on your chicken. Yum!

What is bulgur wheat?

Bulgur is a 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.

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, which are used in bulgur pilaf recipes such this chicken bulgur pilaf or Bulgur Pilaf with Zucchini. I personally prefer #3 or #4 because they hold a better shape. 

Ingredients to Make Bulgur Pilaf with Chicken:

(Full recipe with exact measurements at end of this post)

Chicken thighs: Boneless and skinless

Bulgur wheat: Coarse- #3 or #4, the coarser the better!

Vermicelli noodles: similar to spaghetti noodles, but much thinner, and usually broken up into small pieces.

Spices: A mixture of garlic powder, all spice, cinnamon and black pepper, rubbed all over the chicken thighs.

Chicken broth: or water if chicken broth isn’t available.

bulgur pilaf with vermicelli

How to Make this Chicken with Bulgur Dish:

This is the first step to making chicken bulgur pilaf is cooking the bulgur with vermicelli:

In a large non stick skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add vermicelli noodles and cook for a few minutes, just until golden brown. Stir constantly to ensure they cook evenly. Add bulgur and salt and mix well with the toasted vermicelli noodles. Add broth or water, bring to a boil, cover the pot, reduce heat to low and simmer until cooked through and fluffy.

how to cook coarse bulgur

While bulgur is cooking, prep and sear the boneless chicken thighs on the stove:

In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, all spice, black pepper and salt.

Pat chicken thighs dry with paper towel first to ensure you get a nice sear. Trim off excess fat and rub the spices mixture all over the chicken, until evenly coated.
SEAR: Heat oil in a cast iron skillet or non stick pan over medium high heat for a few minutes, add the seasoned chicken thighs, smooth side down, to the skillet- DO NOT move them around; let them cook for 5 minutes undisturbed or until you can easily flip it over.

Flip, reduce heat to medium and cook for another 3 minutes. Move chicken to the sides of the pan and add butter to the middle. Sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Remove from heat, taste test and season with extra salt, if needed. Place over cooked bulgur pilaf, serve immediately with fresh, toasted almonds and chopped parsley, if desired.

boneless skinless chicken things recipe

Tips for Making the Best Pan Seared Chicken thighs:

  • Use a large pan that comfortably fits 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs. A cast iron skillet or nonstick pan will give you the best results. If you can, make sure it’s large enough to fit all of your chicken thighs. If you don’t have a large pan, sear them in batches (what I did) of three to four thighs at a time.
  • Cook the chicken thighs over medium-high heat to get the nice sear.
  • DO NOT move the chicken thighs around; let cook for 5 minutes or until you can easily flip them over. This gives them a chance to develop the crust and prevent them sticking to your pan.
pan seared chicken things with bulgur wheat

Pilaf Variation Options

Here are some ideas for switching up your bulgur chicken pilaf. There’s really no messing up this recipe, so add your favorite flavors!

  • Add vegetables or beans: You can yellow or green zucchini, bell peppers, or green beans, you can even add chickpeas or black beans!
  • Switch the grain: You can use couscous, cracked wheat, quinoa, or freekeh in place of bulgur.
  • Use water or veggie broth: To add extra flavor, I usually use chicken broth. But water or veggie broth should do the trick!

Lebanese Dishes That Pair Well With Pilaf

Looking for some sides to eat along with bulgur pilaf? These Lebanese recipes are perfect!

Lebanese Cabbage Salad

Lebanese Fattoush Salad

Tabbouleh Salad

If you like this easy Lebanese Bulgur Pilaf with Chicken or any other recipe on The Salt and Sweet Kitchen, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! You can also follow and tag me on my Instagram page! 

Chicken with bulgur, bulgur vermicelli

Chicken Bulgur Pilaf

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
This Chicken Bulgur Pilaf shines with Mediterranean flavors. Perfectly golden, tender, and juicy skinless, boneless chicken thighs are pan seared and served over a fluffy bulgur pilaf. Dinner guaranteed to impress even the pickiest eaters!

Ingredients

For Chicken:

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, (around 6-8 fillets)
  • 1 teaspoon each onion powder and garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter

For bulgur Pilaf

  • 1 1/2 cups coarse bulgur
  • 1/2 cup vermicelli noodles
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups chicken broth

Instructions

    1. In a large non stick skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add vermicelli noodles and cook for a few minutes, just until golden brown. Stir constantly to ensure they cook evenly.
    2. Add bulgur and salt and mix well with the toasted vermicelli noodles. Add broth or water, bring to a boil, cover the pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through and fluffy.
    3. While bulgur is cooking, In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, all spice, black pepper and salt.
    4. Pat chicken thighs dry with paper towel and trim off excess fat.
    5. Rub the spices mixture all over the chicken, until evenly coated.
    6. Sear: Heat oil in a cast iron skillet or non stick pan over medium high heat for a few minutes, add the seasoned chicken thighs, smooth side down, to the skillet- DO NOT move them around; let them cook for 5 minutes undisturbed or until you can easily flip it over.
    7. Flip the chicken and reduce heat to medium and cook for another 3 minutes. Move chicken to the sides of the pan and add butter to the middle. Sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
    8. Remove from heat, taste test and season with extra salt, if needed.
    9. Place over cooked bulgur pilaf, serve immediately with fresh, toasted nuts and chopped parsley, if desired.
    10. Enjoy with a side salad!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 310Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 146mgSodium: 1210mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 31g

Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.

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Rose

Hello! Welcome! I’m Rose, a thirty something wife, busy mom, and self-taught cook, baker, recipe developer, editor, and photographer behind this little web space. Cooking and baking are a huge passion of mine! I could live in my kitchen. I also like to make food look pretty, because when it looks good, doesn’t it just taste better? Here you’ll find quick and easy family friendly recipes. Happy Cooking!

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