Bulgur Pilaf with lentils

Turkish pilaf with bulgur wheat, lentils and tomatoes. A quick, light dinner recipe that is vegetarian and super easy to make. Meal prep possible too.

Turkish Pilaf with Bulgur and Lentils Easy Vegetarian recipe

Today we are preparing a quick vegetarian dinner with bulgur and lentils. Perfect satisfying meal that is light and adaptable. Not to mention gluten-free and vegetarian.

FUN FACT: Turkish pilaf ( traditionally made with rice), also called ‘pilav’ in Turkish cuisine, is a staple dish enjoyed across the country and beyond. bulgur pilaf on the other hand, is also commonly found in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, it offers a nutritious and hearty alternative to rice-based pilafs. It can be enjoyed as either main meal or a side dish.

Ingredients and substitutions

  1. Lentils – Green or brown work best, precooked and drained of any water
  2. Bulgur wheat
  3. Tomato sauce – plain tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce works too
  4. Butter – adds a little something extra. Olive oil can be used too
  5. Water for the meal and for lentils- or stock/broth
  6. Seasoning: oregano, nutmeg, salt and black pepper

How to cook Turkish Bulgur Pilaf

1st: Cook the lentils, set aside.

2nd: Sauté onions and add spices. Then, add bulgur wheat, water and precooked lentils. Let simmer until cooked.

What to serve with Pilaf?

Turkish Pilaf with Bulgur and Lentils Easy Vegetarian recipe


Turkish Pilaf with Bulgur and Lentils Easy Vegetarian recipe

Turkish Pilaf with Bulgur and Lentils

The European Dish
Turkish-style pilaf with bulgur and lentils. Simple vegetarian dinner, that is gluten-free and kid-friendly.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine European, Turkish
Servings 4 people


  • 1 cup lentils (green/brown), precooked
  • 1/2 cup bulgur, washed
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 5 tbsp. butter
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3,5 cups water, for pilaf
  • 4 cups water, or more as needed, for lentils


  • In a cooking dish with lid add water and raw (washed) lentils, simmer on the stove until fully cooked. Drain any excess water and set aside.
  • In a large sauce pan add butter and bulgur, simmer for a few minutes until golden while stirring frequently. Then, add tomato paste, precooked lentils and water for pilaf.
  • Let simmer on the stove top until fully cooked. Stir frequently as needed. Before removing from stove season salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir to incorporate well. Let cook for a minute and serve.


Leftover lentils from another dish can be used too. Fresh dill can be sprinkled onto served dish for deeper taste. 
Keyword bulgur, lentils, Medietrranean, pilaf, vegetarian
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