Risotto-Style Bulgur with Tomato Sauce

Becoming a vegetarian has meant exploring a lot of unknown ingredients, especially in the grains and pulse category. Bulgur was a grain my father used to cook a lot when I was a child, but which I forgot about until I stumbled across it again, one fine day, in a supermarket aisle. Using bulgur is a nice change from other, more common grains. It also helps that it is naturally high in fibre, low in fat and low in calorie, so rather healthy!


If Bulgur does not tickle your fancy, or you don’t have any in your pantry, you can replace it with risotto rice or quinoa (bear in mind that you’ll need to adjust the cooking times and quantity of water used to suit the ingredient you use).


Type: Vegan

Approx. Preparation time: 10 minutes

Approx. Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 2


  • 1 Cup Bulgur
  • 1 Can of chopped tomatoes (about 400g)
  • Half an onion (white or red, diced)
  • Half  a teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • Half a teaspoon of ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • A pinch of paprika (or ground red chilli powder if you like a bit of a kick)
  • Three medium sized tomatoes, chopped
  • One vegetable broth cube
  • One tablespoon sunflower oil
  • A handful of fresh coriander (if Coriander is not your thing, you can use fresh basil instead)

Preparation Steps

  1. Prepare the vegetable broth by dissolving the vegetable broth cube in 500 mL of freshly boiled water
  2. Dice the fresh tomatoes
  3. Dice the onion
  4. Chop the coriander leaves coarsely
  5. Rinse the bulgur in water

Cooking Steps

  1. Heat up one tablespoon of sunflower oil in a large pan on high heat
  2. When the oil is hot, add the diced onions to the pan and stir until the onions are soft and slightly translucent. Keep stirring so that the onions don’t burn!
  3. Add the diced tomatoes to the pan and stir for a couple of minutes
  4. Add the canned tomatoes and stir for a couple of minutes. Be careful, the mixture might splatter.
  5. Add the bulgur and stir.
  6. Add one cup of vegetable broth to the pan and stir.
  7. Add  the salt and pepper, the paprika, the turmeric and coriander powder. Stir well.
  8. Reduce the heat to medium heat.
  9. Stir regularly and keep adding the vegetable broth, one cup at a time, as it gets absorbed and evaporates. This can take 20-25 minutes, so be patient and keep an eye on the mixture. You need to stir and add broth to prevent it from burning.
  10. The risotto is ready to serve when the bulgur grains are soft and all the water has been absorbed. You can adjust cooking time depending on the consistency you want (cook a bit longer if you want it dry vs. add more water and remove from the heat earlier if you like it more liquid)
  11. Take the pan off the heat and add the chopped coriander. Mix well.
  12. Taste and adjust salt and pepper seasoning as needed.
  13. Cover the pan and leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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