Kisir is one of my favorite Turkish recipes as it combines healthy vegetables with Mediterranean flavors to make a delicious bulgur salad. This Turkish bulgur salad recipe is perfect for meal prep, dinner, picnics or barbecues. It is very easy to make, is ready in no time and tastes amazing!
If you love Turkish food, then you might already know what Kisir is. It is a bulgur salad that is made with fine-grind bulgur wheat, red pepper paste, lemon and fresh vegetables. This recipe is actually one that we love to make in our family! If you open the refrigerator at my mom’s place, there is one thing you will always find: some ready to eat Kisir for the family. Because we just love it THAT much. What else can we say about Kisir? It is quick and easy to make, healthy, satiating and crazy delicious. Sounds good, right?
There are actually many different ways to make Kisir. The base recipe most of the time stays the same, but there are lots of variations with regards to the add-ins people use to make Kisir. Some people like to use only few add-ins, while others use more. For my recipe, I used lots of different veggies as we want this to be healthy, right? Feel free to use less vegetables if you prefer it this way. Here is what you’ll need:
- Fine-grind bulgur wheat (also called kisirlik or köftelik bulgur). If you have trouble finding fine-grind bulgur wheat, then use couscous instead. When I can’t make it to a Turkish supermarket, I just use couscous to make Kisir. Just make sure you don’t use coarse-grind bulgur since they are very different in texture and taste.
- Vegetables. I love to use cucumber, tomato, leafy greens, red bell pepper and spring onion for this recipe. You can skip any of them if you prefer the Kisir that way.
- Olive oil.
- Turkish red pepper paste. To make kisir, you'll need to buy Turkish red pepper paste (biber salcasi). There are usually two types, aci (spicy) and tatli (sweet) biber salcasi. I recommend using tatli Turkish red pepper paste. You should be able to find it in most Middle Eastern grocery stores.
- Red pepper flakes.
How to make the best Kisir
The best thing about this recipe is that it very low effort and always turns out great! You only need to follow these steps to make a super delicious Mediterranean bulgur salad:
- Prepare the bulgur wheat. Just boil some water, add the bulgur wheat and water to a bowl, cover the bowl with a dish cloth and let the bulgur wheat sit.
- Prepare the vegetables. Simply wash and chop the vegetables and parsley. Juice the lemon.
- Make the base for the salad. First, fluff the bulgur wheat with a fork. Then, add the red pepper paste, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to the now cooked bulgur wheat and mix everything until well combined.
- Mix in the remaining ingredients. Add the vegetables, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil to the bulgur wheat. Mix everything. Add more red pepper flakes or salt and pepper if needed.
And there you have a super yummy Turkish Kisir! You might want to adjust the amount of lemon and red pepper flakes you use. I found that most people love the recipe as stated, but feel free to make this Turkish bulgur salad spicier or less lemony.
I absolutely recommend making a larger batch of this Turkish Kisir, as the flavor does not change when it is stored and eaten at a later point of time. I actually find that it tastes better after one day in the refrigerator. So make a few extra servings for lunch the next day(s). The bulgur salad can easily be kept in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
More Turkish recipes
If you love Mediterranean or Turkish cooking, then check out the following recipes! They all taste great and are favorites of mine.
Kisir (Turkish Bulgur Salad)
- 1 ½ cup fine-grind bulgur wheat alternative: couscous
- 3 cups water
- 6 tablespoon red pepper paste
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tomato seeded and diced
- ¼ cucumber diced
- ½ red bell pepper diced
- 2 cups leafy greens e.g. spinach, arugula, romaine lettuce
- 1 cup spring onion
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- ½ cup lemon juice fresh
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Boil the water. Next, add the bulgur wheat to a bowl and add the boiling water. Cover the bowl with a dish cloth and let the bulgur sit to absorb the water.
- In the meantime, prepare the vegetables by washing and chopping them. Juice the lemon.
- The bulgur wheat should be cooked through by now. Fluff it with a fork. Then, add the red pepper paste, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to the bulgur wheat and mix until everything is well combined.
- Now, add the vegetables, lemon juice and olive oil to the bulgur wheat. Mix everything, check if you need more salt and pepper or red pepper flakes and enjoy!
- If you can't find fine-ground bulgur wheat, use couscous instead. Just make sure you don't use coarse-grind bulgur as it has a completely different texture and taste. Adjust the amount of water as stated in the package instructions.
- Adjust the amount of lemon juice to your taste. Kisir usually is quite lemony, but feel free to use less!