Bulgur pilaf

Total Time
32 min
8 min
24 min
The growing interest in ethnic foods—which blossomed in the eighties and continues to the present—inspired this Mediterranean version of Middle Eastern rice pilaf. Because the dish is slowly simmered, it works best with coarse bulgur, not the finer milled variety that is traditionally used for tabbouleh. Find the coarse bulgur in health-food stores. Don't sweat it if regular bulgur is all that is available. This recipe will work, but the grain will cook 5 to 10 minutes faster and have a softer texture. Use scissors sprayed with nonstick spray to easily snip the figs into small pieces.


Olive oil

1 Tbsp

Uncooked shallot(s)

2 medium, finely chopped

Uncooked bulgur

1 cup(s), coarse variety


1 medium clove(s), finely chopped

Ground cumin

1 tsp

Reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 cup(s), (about 14 ounces)

Table salt

½ tsp

Ground cinnamon

¼ tsp

Canned chickpeas

15 oz, drained and rinsed

Sweetened dried fig(s)

7 item(s), mission variety, cut into small pieces


3 Tbsp, fresh, finely chopped


  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Swirl in the oil, then add the shallot. Sauté until translucent, 3 minutes. Add the bulgur, garlic, and cumin; toast, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in the broth, salt, and cinnamon; reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, 15–18 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas, figs, and cilantro, fluffing with a fork. Yields 3/4 cup per serving.