Cumin Scented Bulgur Pilaf

This is a cumin scented pilaf made with the coarse grain bulgur, golden raisins and toasted pine nuts. It makes a great accompaniment to Turkish kebabs or other grilled meat.  Coarse grain bulgur is not the same animal as cracked wheat, I don’t care what anybody tells you.  Wheat berries are more similar and make a great substitution.  I get my bulgur from either a European grocer, a Middle Eastern grocer, or a Turkish one.  Also, I think you can get it in places like Whole Foods or maybe Trader Joes.  I have never been to either, but you hear things on the streets.  Sometimes I see it in the regular grocery, in the health aisle, but it is very expensive there.  The cost should be comparable to rice.  Plain, ordinary rice.  Or just use brown rice and cook for more like 45 minutes.

Cumin Scented Bulgur Pilaf


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups onions, chopped
  • 1 cup bell peppers, chopped ( mix or match red, green, cubanelle, etc)
  • 1/4 cup orzo pasta
  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 cup low-sodium tomato juice ( I use 2 single serve cans low sodium V8)
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin ( to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil


Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; add onions and peppers and increase heat to medium high and cook until onions begin to turn brown around the edges, about 10 minutes.  Stir in orzo and bulgur and cook about a minute, while stirring.  Add broth and tomato juice.  Season with salt, pepper, cumin, and basil.

Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until bulgur is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.  Stir in water if bulgur becomes too dry or cook a few minutes, with the cover off, if bulgur is too wet.

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