Makes 8 servings as a side salad

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil (see notes)
  • 1 large onion (8 oz), chopped
  • 1 cup bulghur
  • 2 cups tomato juice or purée (see notes)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped dill (optional)
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 small cucumber (½ lb), peeled, skinned and chopped (optional)
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 2 Tablespoons)

Special equipment

a non-reactive pot for simmering grains in tomato juice


Sauté the chopped onion over low heat in your pot until translucent. Add bulghur, stirring in the oil as you would pilaf to coat the grains to prevent sticking. Add tomato juice and simmer uncovered over very low heat for 15 minutes or until the bulghur is slightly open but still crunchy. Cool. Add chopped fresh vegetables and mix well. Serve at room temperature or cold.


Three tablespoons of olive oil may be a bit modest. The marginalia records that grandma would “smother the onions in oil”, so feel free to have a heavy hand with the oil.

Don’t overdo the tomato solids in the broth you cook the bulghur in. As with rice, you want twice the volume of liquid as your grain, so you made need to dilute with some water.

Yet another traditional family recipe: Armenian Tabouleh, sometimes spelled Eetch or Eech, though our family always pronounces it like an annoying skin condition: itch.


The dish stores very well because it gives the vegies some time to marinate. Feel free to make ahead of time.

Add a teaspoon of fresh mint. Subsitute a red pepper for the green, especially if fresh tomatoes are out of season. Add a couple of finely diced olives. Or some cayenne.