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  • Writer's pictureSibel

Turkish Bulgur Salad (Kisir)

A hearty Bulgur salad with aromatic fresh herbs, mixed vegetables and a tangy lemon, olive oil and chilli dressing. This salad is perfect for a light lunch or dinner and also great served as a side dish.


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This is my favourite salad to make when I'm craving light and nutritious meal. The combination of crisp vegetables and tangy dressing give it a refreshing taste, and the bulgur gives it a heartiness that makes it filling enough to be a meal on its own. Kisir salad is wholesome, quick and easy to make. It's perfect for those days when you want something that's filling, nutritious, and ready in less than 15 minutes.




What is Kisir?


Kisir is a spicy Turkish bulgur wheat salad, usually made from fine bulgur wheat, fresh herbs and vegetables such as cucumber, tomato, spring onion and lettuce.

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How to serve Kisir


Bulgur Salad, which is called Kisir in Turkish, is one of many unintentionally vegan Turkish dishes. The most common way of serving bulgur salad in Turkey is as a side dish or with fresh lettuce leaves, but it tastes just as delicious on it’s own.




What type of Bulgur to use and where to find it


You can find bulgur wheat at all Turkish or Middle Eastern supermarkets, whole-foods stores or even in some large supermarkets. If you don’t have any supermarkets near you that stock it, you can also purchase it online. Supermarkets usually stock it on their shelves alongside dried legumes, rice and other dried foods. The two main types of bulgur that you’ll find in Turkish supermarkets are fine bulgur (Köftelik bulgur) and coarse (Pilavlık Bulgur). For this recipe you will need fine bulgur (Köftelik bulgur).

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Ingredients for Kisir Salad


  • Olive oil: Any olive oil will do, but I prefer to use extra virgin olive oil to intensify the flavour of the dressing.

  • Bulgur: You can find the bulgur at all Turkish or Middle Eastern supermarkets, whole-foods stores or even in some large supermarkets. If you don’t have any supermarkets near you that stock it, you can also purchase it online. Supermarkets usually stock it on their shelves alongside dried legumes, rice and other dried foods. the two main types of bulgur that you’ll find in Turkish supermarkets are fine bulgur (Köftelik bulgur) and coarse (Pilavlık Bulgur). For this recipe you will need fine bulgur (Köftelik bulgur).

  • Tomato puree: The tomato puree coats the bulgur to give it a lovely colour and adds a delicious depth of flavour.

  • Dried mint: I like to use a combination of dried mint and fresh mint as they add a completely different flavour profile to the salad. The dried mint adds a depth and earthiness to the salad whereas the fresh mint adds a light and refreshing taste.

  • Fresh mint & Parsley: The fresh parsley and mint is what makes this salas so light and refreshing. If you don’t have any fresh parsley, you can use 1 teaspoon of dried parsley instead, though it wont taste as good as when using fresh.

  • Cumin: the ground cumin adds a delicious warming, nutty flavour to the salad.

  • Salt and pepper: You’ll need some salt and pepper to season the salad

  • Sumac: The ingredient is optional, but if you like extra tangy salads, then adding sumac will enhance the tanginess.

  • Lemon Juice: You’ll need the juice of two small lemons to make the salad dressing.

  • Cucumber, tomato, lettuce, spring onion: These are the traditional combination of vegetables that are used to make Kisir.

  • Pomegranate molasses: the pomegranate molasses adds an intense sweet-and-sour flavour. If you don’t have any pomegranate molasses at hand, you can substitute it with balsamic vinegar.

  • Aleppo chilli flakes: The Aleppo chilli flakes add a slow-building heat and a delicious earthy, fruity taste to the dish. You could use different types of chilli flakes, but bear in mind that different types of chilli will have different levels of heat, so make sure to add it accordingly.



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How to make Kisir Salad


STEP 1:

Place the bulgur, spices, dried herbs, chilli flakes and salt in a large bowl and pour the hot water over the bulgur. Cover the bowl with cling film and let it sit for about 10 minutes until the bulgur has absorbed the water.


STEP 2:

Add the tomato puree to the bowl with the soaked bulgur and give the bulgur a thorough mix until all of the bulgur is evenly coated with the tomato puree. Let the bulgur cool down completely.


STEP 3:

Finely chop all of the vegetables and herbs, add them to the soaked bulgur and combine the ingredients. To finish, stir in the olive oil, pomegranate molasses and lemon juice and give everything a final stir.


STEP 4:

Serve inside Romaine lettuce with a squeeze of lemon juice on top. Store in the refrigerator until needed (best served at room temperature).

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How to store Kisir


Store the leftover Kisir in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. I wouldn’t recommend freezing this salad as this bulgur can become too soggy and the vegetables will lose their crispness.


Notes and Tips

  • This salad tastes best fresh so I’d recommend making it on the day you intend on serving it.

  • You can adjust this recipe to suit your taste by adding different herbs and spices.


Printable Recipe






A hearty Bulgur salad with aromatic fresh herbs, mixed vegetables and a tangy lemon, olive oil and chilli dressing. This salad is perfect for a light lunch or dinner and also great served as a side dish.

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