An easy bulgur salad recipe that's perfect for any day. Made with bulgur, olive oil and herbs, this salad in ready in less than 30 minutes!
Turkish cuisine is one of my favorite Mediterranean cuisines. It contains many fresh and healthy ingredients and is always bursting with so much flavor. This Turkish bulgur salad also known as kisir, just like Turkish potato salad, Turkish tomato salad and white bean salad is made with fresh ingredients and is so delicious, everyone will be coming back for seconds.
Table Of Contents:
What Is Kisir?
Turkish bulgur salad, also known as kisir is a popular Turkish dish made mainly with fine bulgur, same as what we use to make tabouli. It's popular all around Turkey and you can find it in every Turkish household.
Like many other traditional recipes, families have their own specific kisir recipe that would probably be different from others. Whether it's the addition of a particular herb or vegetable, or a special spice, kisir can vary region to region. However, the base of kisir is bulgur, tomato paste and herbs.
- Bulgur: As the base of this salad, you need fine bulgur. This type of bulgur only needs to be soaked in some liquid and then it's ready to eat. Make sure you're using fine bulgur and not coarse bulgur for this recipe. Fine bulgur cooks faster and you don't need to cook it in a pot over heat.
- Tomato paste and pepper paste: Tomato paste is thick and has a dense color and flavor.
- Sweet pepper paste: Pepper paste is a Turkish specialty that adds a lot of color and flavor to any dish. You can find pepper paste at Mediterranean and Turkish shops. Make sure it's sweet and not hot. Pepper paste adds a nice color and flavor to this bulgur wheat salad.
- Pomegranate molasses: A must for this recipe. It adds a bit of tanginess and a lot of flavor. You can use homemade pomegranate molasses or store-bought.
- Herbs: You need green onions, parsley and mint for this recipe.
- Olive oil: Always opt for quality extra virgin oil when it comes to salads.
How To Make Kisir
- Place the bulgur in a large bowl and pour boiling water on it. Give it a stir and cover it with a towel or a plate. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes until the water is fully absorbed. As you can see, you don't need to cook fine bulgur on stove top since it's partially cooked and has been crackled into fine grains.
- While the bulgur is being cooked, chop all the herbs and set the aside.
- When the bulgur is ready, mix it with tomato paste, pepper paste, olive oil and pomegranate molasses. Mix it well to make sure it's completely incorporated.
- Next, add in the chopped herbs, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine and then cover with plastic wrap. refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Additions And Variations
This is the basic kisir recipe that you can find all around Turkey. However, as I mentioned, there are other ingredients that can be added to this healthy bulgur salad. Some of the common additions are:
- Red onion
- White onion
- Fresh dill
- Dill pickles
Kisir is considered a mezze or an appetizer on a table. You can serve it with some fresh lettuce as part of a mezze platter with other dishes such as vegan red lentil meatballs, hummus, baba ganoush and cacik.
I also love having kisir just as a main dish for dinner or a light lunch with some Mediterranean chicken, grilled chicken or even some beef shish kabob. You can also serve it as a topping for kumpir (Turkish stuffed potatoes) with pickled cabbage and ezme.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, it's best to make kisir a few hours before serving, especially if you're making the basic version. You can make it a day in advance and keep it in the fridge so the flavors combine.
If you would like to add vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers, add them just a few minutes before serving so the don't release their juice while chilling in the fridge.
Store the leftovers in an airtight glass container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. I don't suggest you freezing this salad because it might lose flavor and texture, especially if you've added fresh vegetables and herbs to the recipe.
Tabouli is a very green salad with the base of chopped parsley and very little bulgur whereas kisir uses bulgur as the base and the herbs are added for more flavor.
Bulgur is made from whole wheat kernels that are parboiled, dried and crackled. It's very healthy and is packed with fiber, and protein. Bulgur comes in two forms: coarse and find. Coarse bulgur is usually use to make bulgur pilaf whereas the fine version is used for salads or meals such as our favorite vegan lentil meatballs which is a healthy option for a vegan meal.
If you cannot find pomegranate molasses, please use 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Taste the salad and add more lemon juice if you like it tangier.
More Salad Recipes
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Turkish Bulgur Salad (Kisir) with Video
- 1 ½ cup fine bulgur
- 2 ½ cup boiling water
- 2 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon sweet pepper paste see notes
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 1 cup green onions chopped
- 1 cup parsley chopped
- 1 cup fresh mint chopped
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Place bulgur in a large bowl and pour the boiling water on it. Stir well. Cover with a lid or a plate and let it sit for about 15 minutes until cooked.
- Once the bulgur is cooked and cooled, fluff it using a fork.
- To the bulgur, add tomato paste, pepper paste, olive oil and pomegranate molasses. Stir well so all bulgur grains are combined.
- Add in chopped green onion, parsley and mint to the bulgur. Mix well.
- Season well with salt and pepper.
- Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes before serving.
- Make sure you're using fine bulgur and not coarse bulgur for this salad recipe. Fine bulgur cooks faster and you don't need to cook it in a pot over heat.
- It's best to use fresh herbs to make this recipe. However, if fresh herbs are not available, use dried herbs.
- If you cannot find pomegranate molasses, please use 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Taste the salad and add more lemon juice if you like it tangier.
- You can find pepper paste at Mediterranean and Turkish shops. Make sure it's sweet and not hot. Pepper paste adds a nice color and flavor to this bulgur wheat salad. If not available, simply use tomato paste.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 6 days.