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Hearty Bulgur Soup (Quick and Easy)

If you’re new to bulgur, this simple and satisfying bulgur soup is a great way to incorporate it into your meal plan.

This vegan soup is filled with aromatic veggies, fiber-rich red beans, and tender bulgur. It’s cozy, comforting, and perfect for fall and winter.

Bulgur soup in a bowl. A silver spoon to the left of the bowl.

Bulgur wheat comes from the cracked whole-grain kernels of wheat that get parboiled during processing.

It’s a versatile whole grain and a great way to bulk up vegetable soups. It is packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber and is very easy to cook.

A warm bowl of this hearty bulgur wheat soup is perfect during cold weather when you want to cozy up on the couch with a satisfying bowl of soup.

The best part?

It’s straightforward to make using ingredients you may already have on hand.

After chopping the veggies, you’ll have to cook them in olive oil with bulgur for a few minutes, then add the diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, water, beans, and seasonings. Let it simmer for a bit, and it’s done!

This hearty soup tastes great on its own, but I also love it served with some cilantro, avocado slices, and lime or lemon wedges.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Here are five reasons why this soup recipe is a keeper:

  • You only need a few simple ingredients to make this bulgur soup recipe.
  • This is a great way to cook leeks and bulgur in an intensely flavorful soup.
  • This bulgur vegetable soup is easy to make and excellent for beginners.
  • It’s perfect for meal prep. You can make a big batch on the weekend and then enjoy it all week.
  • It’s vegan. No modifications are needed.

 Ovehead shot of the vegetable soup with bulgur in a pot.

Ingredient Notes

Here is a brief overview of the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe:

  • Olive oil – This is the first ingredient to go into your soup pot and the first layer of flavor, so use quality olive oil or extra virgin olive oil with rich flavors and aromas.
  • Leeks – Leeks have a sweet, grassy, and oniony flavor that adds great flavor to vegetable soups. If you cannot find leeks, the best substitution is shallots, sweet onion, or white onion.
  • Celery & Carrot – Once these veggies go into the pot, you’re essentially making a mirepoix with leeks instead of onion. As they cook, they lightly caramelize, adding dynamic flavor to the soup.
  • Bulgur – 3 tablespoons may not seem like much, but bulgur expands over twice its size once it starts to absorb liquid. This is just enough to make a hearty vegetable soup.
  • Canned Red Beans – If you can’t find red beans, try kidney beans, pink beans, cranberry beans, or pinto beans. Feel free to use more than one type of bean if you like.
  • Diced Tomatoes – Canned tomatoes enhance the sweet, umami, and pleasantly tangy tastes while adding vibrant color to the broth.
  • Vegetable Broth (+Water) – I recommend using low-sodium vegetable broth to avoid sodium overload.
  • Lime Juice – A splash of FRESH lime juice balances and brightens every flavor. You can also use fresh lemon juice here.
  • Spices & Seasonings – You’ll need garlic powder, salt & pepper to tie it all together.

How To Make Hearty Vegetable Soup with Bulgur

Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to make this soup:

  1. Saute the leeks: Start by heating the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Then, add the leeks and cook, frequently stirring, until they begin to soften and become fragrant.
  2. Add vegetables and bulgur: Next, add the carrots, celery, and bulgur to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies soften. At this point, the sauteed aromatic vegetables should smell delicious.
  3. Add the liquids and simmer: Now, you can add the tomatoes, vegetable stock, water, and beans and give everything a good stir. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for about 15 minutes.
  4. Season and simmer: Finally, add the garlic powder, salt, pepper, and lime juice and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked.

Recipe Tips

How to clean leeks – To remove the dirt and grit trapped in the leek layers, trim off the root ends and the dark green tops. Then, slice in half lengthwise and rinse under running water. Drain, pat dry, and then slice.

Chop everything the same size – So the vegetables cook at the same rate and soften perfectly.

Do not rinse the bulgur – Unlike quinoa and some other grains, bulgur does not need to be rinsed. The starches on the surface of each grain help thicken whatever liquid they’re cooked in.

Close up shot of the bulgur vegetable soup in a ladle.

Variations & Serving

Here are few ideas on how to customize this recipe:

  • Make it gluten-free. Bulgur is not gluten-free. However, quinoa is similar in taste and texture and is 100% gluten-free.
  • Add more vegetables. Feel free to personalize your bulgur soup with different vegetables. Zucchini, squash, sliced mushroom, red or orange bell pepper, and fresh tomatoes are great options.
  • Add fresh herbs. Before serving, sprinkle fresh chopped parsley, cilantro, or basil over the top.
  • Make it a meal. This nutrient-dense vegetable soup is filling on its own, but you can also serve it with warm crusty bread and a simple salad.

Storing & Freezing

  • Storing: Let the soup cool completely to room temperature, pour it into an airtight container, and store it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Then, reheat in the microwave or on the stove.
  • Freezing: You can also freeze this soup. After cooling, pour the soup into a freezer-safe container, leaving a couple of inches at the top for expansion, and store in the freezer for 2-3 months—Thaw in the fridge before reheating.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is bulgur made from?

Bulgur is usually made from durum wheat groats that have been parboiled, dried, and ground.

Is bulgur healthy?

Yes! Bulgur has a low glycemic index and is packed with fiber.

Should bulgur be soaked before cooking?

While you can soak bulgur in hot or cool water to tenderize it, it’s not necessary if you’re cooking it directly in the soup.

More Healthy Soup Recipes

Here are more soup recipes for fall and winter:

Vegetable Soup with Bulgur

Hearty Bulgur Soup

Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This hearty vegetable soup with bulgur wheat is filling, warming, and comforting. It's really easy to make using ingredients you most likely already have on hand. This recipe is vegan and high in fiber.


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely grated
  • 3 Tbsp bulgur
  • 1 can (19 oz/ 540 ml) red beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (28 oz/796 ml) diced tomatoes
  • 900-ml low-sodium organic vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • juice of half lime
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook stirring frequently for about 2 to 4 minutes or until the leeks start to soften
  2. Add the carrots, celery, and bulgur and cook stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, water, and beans. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic powder, salt, pepper, and lime juice and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through.
Nutrition Information
Yield 7 Serving Size 1/7 of recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 338Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 0.7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3.9gCholesterol 0mgSodium 193.1mgCarbohydrates 57gFiber 22.7gSugar 6gProtein 20g

Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.

Did you make this recipe?

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Thursday 10th of September 2020

I wonder if this would be okay pureed? I am making for my brother who will need it pureed but I'm worried the beans in pureed form will be gummy. Thoughts?

Maria Ushakova

Thursday 10th of September 2020

I think it would be just fine. You can also use lentils instead of beans. Lentils puree like a dream.


Monday 31st of August 2020

Recipe sounds delicious. I do question the 338 calories per 1/7 portion, though. I can't come up with more than 1100 or so for the entire recipe. Seven servings would come out to about 157 per serving.

Maria Ushakova

Monday 31st of August 2020

Hi Paul! Thanks for your comment. Which nutrition calculator are you using? Different nutrition calculators give me different amounts of protein and fiber and therefor the calories are also different.


Saturday 23rd of November 2013

i just had this soup for dinner and it is amazing!! I added a bit of nutritional yeast to the broth, which I definitely recommend. I just want to drink this broth as a tea haha :)

Maria Ushakova

Sunday 24th of November 2013

Nutritional yeast is such a great idea! Thank you for the tip. I will definitely try it next time :) .

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