Categories: Grain & Legumes

Bulgur Pilaf with Onions and Tomato Juice

Christine Datian loves to share her Armenian recipes. In fact, we posted her Spicy Southwestern Tabbouleh recipe in September. This, and a number of her other recipes, were also featured in ‘Sunset’ and ‘Cooking Light’.

We promised to post another of Christine’s family-favorites, ‘Bulgur Pilaf with Onions and Tomato Juice’. She noted that her mother always adds about a 1/2 teaspoon dried basil and a dash of cayenne pepper to her bulgur pilaf for extra pizazz. 
The dish can be made with either beef or chicken broth, but Christine prefers beef broth because it imparts a richer flavor. If adding a medium diced tomato, Christine suggests removing seeds first, as her grandfather from Lowell, MA used to do.  “Adding the diced tomato and onions makes all the difference in the world – sautė them in the butter with the sharayea (fine noodles) first”, Christine said.

Christine Datian’s Bulgur Pilaf with Onions and Tomato Juice, as made by The Armenian Kitchen

Bulgur Pilaf with Onions and Tomato Juice

  “This side is a savory complement to lamb, beef, or chicken. The ample yield allows for good leftovers.” –Christine Datian, Las Vegas

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup)


5 tablespoons butter

½ medium onion, finely chopped

3/4 cup crushed uncooked vermicelli

2 cups uncooked bulgur

2 cups hot fat-free, less-sodium beef broth

1 cup water

1 cup tomato juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish


Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan, and sauté for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Add vermicelli to pan; cook for 2 minutes. Add bulgur to pan, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and next 6 ingredients (through basil), and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in parsley.

A special reminder: let the bulgur sit a few minutes after cooking for fluffier results.

From: Christine Datian, Las Vegas, Nevada, Cooking Light DECEMBER 2007

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