This Turkish Bulgur Salad (Kisir) is one of our all-time favorite family recipes in summer! It’s such a quick and easy make-ahead meal prep recipe and the perfect vegan salad to serve as a side dish for grilling! Use quinoa, millet, or rice for a gluten-free option.
My favorite Bulgur Salad Recipe
Kisir is one of these dishes that tastes even better the next day so it’s great for making a big batch and enjoying it throughout the whole week! It’s super simple but so flavorful and delicious – my whole family loves it!
What is bulgur?
Bulgur is a cereal food made from the cracked parboiled wheat groats that’s easy to cook and super versatile. I really love its tender texture and nutty flavor and that it can be used in so many ways, similar to quinoa or couscous. You can serve it as a side dish, in salads, soups, or use it to make fritters, patties – there are so many options!
What is Kisir?
Kisir is a delicious slightly spicy bulgur salad found in Turkish and Kurdish cuisines. The main ingredients are finely ground bulgur, tomato paste, paprika paste or Ajvar, garlic, onion, parsley, olive oil, and lemon juice or vinegar. I’ve also added sautéed carrots and red bell pepper but you can also serve it with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, mint, and pomegranate seeds, depending on your liking!
How to make Kisir (Turkish Bulgur Salad)
Step 1: Prep the bulgur
First, place the bulgur in a pot, saucepan, or heatproof bowl. Then pour the double amount of hot vegetable broth or salted water over the bulgur. Cover and set aside for about 20 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed from the bulgur.
Step 2: sauté the veggies
In the meantime, sauté the veggies for your Turkish bulgur salad. Start by heating a bit of oil in a pan or skillet. Once hot, add the onions and sauté for 1-2 minutes until almost translucent. Then add the chopped bell peppers and carrots and sauté for another 3 minutes. Finally, add the garlic and sauté a further minute, or until all of the veggies are tender.
Step 3: mix together your Kisir
Once the bulgur has absorbed all of the liquid, transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the Ajvar or paprika paste, tomato paste, and sautéed vegetables to combine. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature. Then mix in the oil, vinegar, parsley, and seasonings. I used salt, pepper, paprika powder, chili, and a bit of sugar but you can adjust the spices to your desired taste.
Step 4: chill, garnish, and enjoy!
Enjoy your Turkish bulgur salad immediately or cover and refrigerate overnight so the flavors can unfold. Remember, the longer kisir stays in the fridge, the better the flavors combine together.
If you would like to add fresh vegetables, please add them just a few minutes before serving so they don’t release their juice while chilling in the fridge. I like to garnish it with pomegranate seeds, cherry tomatoes, and fresh mint. However, also other veggies, such as lettuce or cucumber, or vegan feta cheese, toasted slivered almonds, or chopped hazelnuts would make great toppings!
Turkish bulgur salad is considered a mezze or an appetizer on a table but as mentioned before you can serve this Kisir in so many ways! Here are some of my favorite vegan snacks that make a great plant-based alternative to meat:
- Crispy Baked Tofu Nuggets
- BBQ Cauliflower Wings
- Crispy Cauliflower Nuggets
- Best Vegan Burger
- Zucchini and Corn Fritters
- Vegan Falafel
- Lentil Meatballs
- Vegan Swedish Meatballs
- Vegan Bean Meatballs
- No-Meat Chickpea Balls
You can keep this Turkish bulgur salad in an airtight glass container stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I don’t suggest freezing this salad because it might lose flavor and texture, especially if you’ve added fresh vegetables and herbs to the recipe.
This Turkish Bulgur Salad is:
- Vegan (dairy-free, egg-free)
- Quick and easy to make
- Can be made gluten-free (by using quinoa, millet or rice)
- Perfect to make ahead
- So delicious
- A great side dish for lunch, dinner, or barbecue parties!
More easy vegan salad recipes to try:
If you try this Vegan Turkish Bulgur Salad, please leave a comment and rating! And if you take a photo of your healthy Kisir and share it on Instagram, please make sure to tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I love seeing your remakes! Enjoy!
Turkish Bulgur Salad (Kisir)
- 8,8 oz fine bulgur or sub quinoa, millet, rice for a gluten-free option
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1-2 carrots optional
- 3 tbsp ajvar paste or 2 tbsp paprika paste + 1 tbsp more oil
- 1-2 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 tbsp oil + 1 tbsp more for frying
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
- ½ bunch fresh parsley or coriander
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp paprika powder or chili to taste, optional
- a bit of sugar optional to taste
- cherry tomatoes or lettuce, cucumber
- pomegranate seeds or toasted chopped almonds/hazelnuts
- mint or other herbs of choice
- *Note: See step-by-step photos above!
- Place the bulgur in a pot, saucepan or heatproof bowl. Then pour ½ liter (500 ml) hot vegetable broth over the bulgur. Cover and set aside for 20-25 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
- In the meantime, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan or skillet. Add the onions and sauté for 1-2 minutes until almost translucent. Then add the bell peppers and carrots and sauté another 3 minutes. Finally, add the garlic and sauté a further minute, or until the veggies are tender. Set aside.
- Once the bulgur has absorbed all of the liquid, transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the Ajvar (or paprika paste), tomato paste and sautéed vegetables to combine.
- Allow to cool to room temperature, then mix in the oil, vinegar, parsley, and seasonings (salt, pepper, paprika, chili, sugar) to taste.
- Enjoy immediately or cover and refrigerate overnight to unfold flavors.
- The longer it stays in the fridge, the better the flavors combine together. So I suggest making it the day ahead.
- See blog post for further information on storage, servings suggestion, and more details on the history of this recipe!
- I will share the recipe for these chickpea cevapcici soon!
- Nutrition facts are calculated without toppings.
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