Mediterranean Bulgur Salad

Greenletes / Recipes / Mediterranean Bulgur Salad

Last updated on January 14th, 2022 at 03:20 pm

This simple Vegan Mediterranean Bulgur Wheat Salad Recipe is an easy make ahead grain salad with dates, pistachios, olives and red onion for tons of flavor & texture.

This simple bulgur wheat salad is adapted from a Mediterranean restaurant I used to live near in Astoria, NY. Although the ingredient mixture is somewhat eclectic, they come together to make a delicious vegan and Mediterranean salad in no time.

If you’ve never used bulgur wheat before, it’s time to pick up this pantry staple and get cooking. Read on to learn more about this easy to cook whole grain.

Vegan Mediterranean Bulgur Wheat Salad

What is bulgur wheat?

Bulgur wheat is an ancient grain that has a bit of a bite and a nutty flavor. It is made from wheat, so it’s not gluten-free.

Specifically, bulgur is made from the cracked kernel of whole grain wheat. It’s parboiled and dried before packaging. Cracked wheat, on the other hand, is not parboiled before processing. That means that bulgur cooks a bit faster than cracked wheat, since it’s already partially cooked.

Bulgur has an impressive nutrient profile, with 8 grams of fiber (more than 30% of the daily value), 6 grams of protein and 150 calories in a cup cooked. It’s used in many Mediterranean dishes, like tabbouleh.

Vegan Mediterranean Bulgur Wheat Salad

How to cook it

Most types of bulgur wheat cook in less than 15 minutes. I buy it from Trader Joe’s, and their variety takes 10 minutes to cook. It’s best to check the package instructions, since each variety is slightly different.

Bulgur cooks in a 2:1 water to grain ratio. That means 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of bulgur. Bring it to a boil, cover, and reduce the seat to simmer for about 10-12 minutes.

If there is an excess liquid, drain it through a strainer. Fluff with a fork and enjoy your bulgur wheat.

How to eat a Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet is known as one of the healthiest diet in the world. Although it’s not necessarily a “diet”, since there’s no cutting calories. Instead, it’s a style of eating that promotes focusing on whole foods.

The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes healthy foods, like colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, olive oil, fatty fish, beans and legumes, whole grains and fresh herbs and spices.

Eating a Mediterranean Diet has been linked to less incidences of heart disease, obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and even cancer. It’s also positively associated with increased cognition and brain health.

To learn more about the Mediterranean Diet, check out these articles I wrote for Prevention & SHAPE:

Ingredients for this Mediterranean Bulgar Salad

To make this, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup bulgur wheat dry
  • 2 cup water
  • 3 green olives chopped
  • 3 kalamata olives chopped
  • 1/3 cup pitted medjool dates chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/4 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 small red onion diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Ingredient Swaps & Substitutions

  • Bulgur Wheat: Not a fan of bulgur wheat? You can easily swap it with quinoa, couscous or brown rice.
  • Medjool dates: If you don’t have medjool dates on hand, you can substitute them with any other type of date. Otherwise, dried cranberries or dried figs will work just as well!
  • Parsley: You can swap with cilantro, oregano or basil if you’d prefer.
  • Pistachios: If you don’t have pistachios, try using flaked almonds instead.

How to make a Mediterranean Bulgur Salad

If you’re looking for a delicious and simple bulgur wheat recipe, you’ve come to the right place! This Mediterranean Bulgur Wheat Salad is vegan and only requires cooking one ingredient– the bulgur!

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Start by cooking the bulgur and water together in a pot until all the water has been absorbed.
  2. After you cook the bulgur, mix in the other ingredients–olives, dates, parsley, pistachios and red onion. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Make the dressing by mixing olive oil and lemon juice and pour on top when you’re ready to eat.

This recipe mixes sweet and spicy flavors and a variety of textures. The saltiness of the olives balances with the tanginess of the onions and sweetness of the dates.

The parsley adds a vibrant and fresh flavor, while the pistachios offer a nice crunch. And the olive oil and lemon juice are the perfect basic dressing for this colorful salad.

Serving Suggestions

There are so many delicious ways that you could serve your Mediterranean Bulgur Salad, but some of my recommendations include:

  • Adding chickpeas for an extra source of protein
  • Incorporating more vegetables like diced cucumber, cherry tomatoes and diced bell pepper
  • Crumbled feta cheese on top
Vegan Mediterranean Bulgur Wheat Salad
4.75 from 8 votes

Mediterranean Bulgur Salad

A simple vegan Mediterranean bulgur salad

Course Main Course
Keyword bulgur
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 551 kcal
Author Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD


  • 1 cup bulgur dry
  • 2 cup water
  • 3 green olives chopped
  • 3 kalamata olives chopped
  • 1/3 cup pitted medjool dates chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/4 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 small red onion diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  1. In a pot, combine the bulgur and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
  2. Once the bulgur is cooked, place it in a large bowl with the two types of olives, dates, parsley, pistachios, red onion and salt. Mix well.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice. If you’re eating the salad right away, pour the dressing on top. If not, put the dressing in a small tupperware and dress when you’re ready to eat.
Nutrition Facts
Mediterranean Bulgur Salad
Amount Per Serving (1 bowl)
Calories 551 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Fat 24g37%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Sodium 508mg22%
Potassium 694mg20%
Carbohydrates 80g27%
Fiber 17g71%
Sugar 19g21%
Protein 13g26%
Vitamin A 708IU14%
Vitamin C 15mg18%
Calcium 80mg8%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
This simple Vegan Mediterranean Bulgur Wheat Salad is full of flavor and texture, but it's incredibly easy to make. Add this to your meal prep list to have the best lunch or dinner made ahead of time! #mealprep #vegan #grainsalad #bulgurwheat #vegetarian


  1. Tawnie Kroll

    5 stars
    This salad was so flavorful, I loved the addition of green olives!

  2. Meme

    5 stars
    This is the perfect salad! Its got the crunch, sweet and salty!!

  3. Emily Kyle

    5 stars
    I love how you used bulgur! Definitely added great flavor to this salad.

  4. Lindsey

    5 stars
    There were SO many different textures and flavors – exactly what I want in my salads!

  5. Lorie

    5 stars
    I have never made bulgur before but have had it in other dishes and love it–this is next up!

    • Nita

      3 stars
      It’s ok, leans sweet if you’re into that. Adding some lemon zest improved the flavor. I could take it or leave it as is.

      • Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD

        I think the olives balance out the dates, but you could always use less dates. Thanks for the tip about the lemon zest!

  6. Liz Shaw

    5 stars
    Gorgeous photos! Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Adriana

    This looks so good! I have some deglet noor dates, would those work or are they very different from medjool dates? Also, do you serve this warm or chilled? Thanks!

    • Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD

      Those would absolutely work. Medjool dates are just a bit juicier. I usually eat this cold, but it would probably taste good warm too. Let me know how you like it!


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I’m Natalie Rizzo, an NYC-based Registered Dietitian.

My mission is to help everyday athletes fuel their fitness with plants.

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