Skip to Content

Easy Bulgur Salad Recipe

This Bulgur Salad is a new spin on traditional tabbouleh salad. In this healthy whole-grain salad, bulgur wheat, cucumbers, red onions, and lots of fresh herbs are tossed with juicy apples and crunchy walnuts. It’s very easy to make and perfect for mezze-style meals!

Bulgur salad on on a white plate. Apples in the background and wine glasses in the background..

Bulgur’s pleasantly chewy texture and nutty flavor add a super satisfying element to salads, soups, and grain bowls.

However, tabbouleh salad is unarguably this whole grain’s claim to fame. So, what is tabbouleh?

Traditional Middle Eastern tabbouleh is made with bulgur, tomatoes, onion, olive oil, fresh citrus, and a generous amount of fresh herbs.

This bulgur wheat salad captures traditional tabbouleh’s vibrancy and textural dimensions but with the bonus of succulent apples and crunchy walnuts in every bite!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This reader review speaks for itself: “This was rigorously tested on healthy food-loving flavor-hungry taste buds. Approved! Approved! Approved!” -Edward

Here are a few other reasons why this recipe works:

  • It’s a healthy, low-glycemic dish full of fresh flavor and amazing nutrients.
  • It’s an excellent vegan option. Bulgur is a source of plant-based protein and a ton of fiber.
  • This bulgur salad recipe is very easy to make. Apart from boiling water, there’s no cooking involved.
  • There’s plenty of room for customizing and putting your own tasty twist on tabbouleh.

A Brief on Bulgur

Before getting started, let’s break down the basics.

Bulgur comes from cracked whole-grain wheat kernels that are parboiled and dried, resulting in whole wheat that cooks quicker than other types and is typically less expensive.

This whole grain has been cultivated for thousands of years throughout the Middle East, but these days it’s popular globally and comes in four varieties, fine, medium, coarse, and very coarse.

As for this bulgur wheat salad, fine-grade bulgur is the way to go.

Fine-grade bulgur is a quick-cooking grain that doesn’t need boiling. Soaking is all it takes to soften the grains for tabbouleh and tabbouleh variations.

Bulgur salad on a white plate standing on a kitchen towel.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Bulgur – Fine bulgur is standard in dishes like tabbouleh and similar salads. I do not recommend using any other bulgur grade in this recipe.
  • English cucumbers – Or Persian cucumbers are thin-skinned, extra crisp, and nearly seedless, so they’re best for salads.
  • Red onion – Adds just enough oniony zing and a pop of purple.
  • Fresh herbs – Fresh mint, parsley, and cilantro add a ton of crisp, herbaceous flavor. Do not substitute dried herbs, please.
  • Walnuts – For the crave-worthy crunch and to make this salad more filling.
  • Apples – I suggest using semi-sweet varieties such as Fiji, Braeburn, Honey Crisp, and Pink Lady.
  • Lime juice – The acidity helps slow oxidation to keep the apples from turning brown as soon as you cut them. You can also use fresh lemon juice.
  • Olive oil and balsamic vinegar – For the dressing, be sure to use good quality extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar; in the end, your bulgur salad will be richer and more flavorful.

How to Make Bulgur Salad

  1. Soak the bulgur: Bring 3-4 cups of water to a boil. Add bulgur to a medium bowl and top with the hot water, ensuring all grains are submerged. Cover the bowl and set it aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Prep the remaining salad add-ins: In the meantime, chop the cucumber, onion, herbs, and walnuts. Dice the apples last and immediately toss them with lime juice to prevent the fruit from oxidizing and turning brown. Add everything to a large mixing bowl and set it aside.
  3. Toss the salad and dressing: After soaking, drain the bulgur well. Then, add them to the bowl of chopped salad ingredients. Drizzle balsamic vinegar and olive over the top, and toss to combine.
  4. Chill before serving: Cover and set the bowl in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours before serving. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and enjoy!

Recipe Tips

Bulgur is parboiled during processing, so it technically doesn’t need to be cooked. However, at a minimum, let it soak in boiling water to tenderize. If the bulgur isn’t soft and fluffy after 30 minutes, continue soaking.

Chop the veggies, nuts, and apples into proportional pieces, so you get every flavor and texture in each bite.

Plan ahead, so there’s time to place the salad in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving, giving the spectrum of flavors and textures time to wake up and mingle.

Bulgur wheat salad on a white plate with a fork on the right side.


Create your perfect bulgur salad! Check the list below for add-ins to mix and match with the cucumbers, apples, and walnuts:

  • Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Chickpeas
  • Currants
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Dried cranberries
  • Dried apricots
  • Feta cheese
  • Goat cheese
  • Pears
  • Pistachios
  • Pecans

Serving Suggestions

Mezze (pronounced “meh-zay”) is a standard dining style throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East.

It’s similar to tapas, except the hot and cold dishes served with Mezze are typically the main course rather than an appetizer.

Composing an impressive, mezze-style dining experience at home is simple! Serve this tabbouleh salad as the centerpiece among veggies, meats, dips, other salads, and lots of bread and pita.

These recipes are perfect for a Mezze platter:

Storing & Freezing

Storing: Bulgur salad is best enjoyed within a day or so, but you can keep leftovers in a tightly sealed shallow container in the fridge for up to 48 hours.

Freezing: The soaked bulgur freezes exceptionally well in an airtight freezer-safe bag for 3-4 months. But do not freeze bulgur once mixed with fresh vegetables and fruit, as they will become soggy during thawing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is bulgur gluten-free?

No. Bulgur is not gluten-free as it comes from wheat, usually durum wheat.

What grain is similar to bulgur to make this salad gluten-free?

Quinoa. While technically a seed, quinoa resembles bulgur in appearance, texture, flavor, and nutrition. It’s the best alternative to bulgur in gluten-free tabbouleh.

More Healthy Salad Recipes You Might Like

Tabbouleh with Apples and Walnuts

Easy Bulgur Salad Recipe

Yield: 4 to 6 portions
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This Bulgur Wheat Salad is a new spin on traditional tabbouleh salad. It's very easy to make and perfect for mezze-style meals!


  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 2 apples (semi-sweet variety such as Fiji), diced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/3 English cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste (optional)


  1. Put the bulgur in a medium bowl and generously cover with boiling water. Cover and leave for 30 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, chop the cucumber, onion, herbs and walnuts. Dice the apples last and immediately pour lime juice over the apples making sure all apple pieces are covered in lime juice. This will prevent the apples from turning brown. Place everything in a large salad bowl and set aside.
  3. Drain off any excess water from the bulgur and add to the veggies. Add the balsamic vinegar and olive oil and toss to combine.
  4. Chill for 30 minutes before serving. This salad will keep well in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1/6 of recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 261Total Fat 14.6gSaturated Fat 1.6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12.3gCholesterol 0mgSodium 63.7mgCarbohydrates 31gFiber 6.4gSugar 7.8gProtein 6g

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?

If you tried this recipe, please give it a 5-star rating! To do this, click on the stars above. You can also leave a review or comment below. And don't forget to tag me if you share a picture on Instagram!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Tuesday 9th of September 2014

This was rigorously tested on healthy food loving flavor hungry taste buds.

Approved! Approved! Approved!

Maria Ushakova

Tuesday 9th of September 2014

Ha-ha! In fact, maybe you don't know, but I have been testing my recipes on your taste buds for a while know. Hope you don't mind!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Recipe