8 Bulgur Substitutes for Different Recipes

Bulgur, a Mediterranean staple, is used in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. It is a cereal grain that is formed from dried and cracked durum wheat. Because it is sold half cooked or parboiled, it may be prepared quickly.

It is often used in salads such as tabbouleh or kisir, as well as as a basis for morning porridge, stews, soups, and chili. It may also be used to create pilaf.

Bulgur may be found at almost every large supermarket shop. Still, if you’re looking for a bulgur replacement, we’ve got you covered with the greatest bulgur alternatives: barley, quinoa, buckwheat, rice, farro, couscous, millet, and wild rice.

Bulgur Wheat Substitutes to Try

  • Barley
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Rice
  • Farro
  • Couscous
  • Millet
  • Wild Rice

1. Barley

Barley is one of the world’s most popular grains, typically used in fried foods, casseroles, soups, and stews.

Barley takes longer to cook than bulgur pearl barley, which takes 2530 minutes, and hulled barley might take up to 1 hour.

With this option, your food will have a slightly different flavor and texture. Barley has a nutty taste and is chewier than bulgur.

2. Quinoa

Quinoa is a pseudo-cereal that is widely consumed in South America. Quinoa comes in both red and white versions.White quinoa is light, fluffy, and flavorful.

Red quinoa is chewier, nuttier, and has a stronger taste. Both are versatile and may be used in a variety of sweet and savory meals. Quinoa may be substituted for bulgur in soups, salads, and stews.

Quinoa, unlike bulgur, is gluten-free and may be consumed by those who are gluten intolerant.

3. Buckwheat

Buckwheat, an ancient cereal grain, was initially grown in Southeast Asia before spreading to Europe and North America. Buckwheat grains have a nutty, somewhat bitter flavor. The grain has a chewy texture that allows it to be readily used to a variety of meals without turning mushy when cooked.

It lends a chewy texture and a nuttiness to vegetarian burgers and stews, and it pairs well with salads. It goes well with risotto, meat stew, and curry. Buckwheat cereal may also be eaten with yogurt.

4. Rice

Rice is a starchy cereal grain popular across Asia and the Middle East, as well as a staple in many other cuisines. Rice has a softer texture and a milder scent than bulgur and comes in two varieties: white and brown.

White and brown rice may be cooked in a variety of ways, including boiling, stirring, deep-frying, and grilling. You may use any variety to create soups, side dishes, and pilaf.

Brown rice has a chewier texture and a nutty taste, while white rice has a milder flavor and a softer, more delicate texture. It also contains more nutritional fiber than white rice and takes longer to cook, making it the healthier alternative.

5. Farro

Farro is a staple dish of the Mediterranean diet, which is widely regarded as the healthiest eating pattern on the planet.

Farro’s chewy texture and nutty taste make it a flexible and adaptable ingredient that compliments a wide range of meals, including risotto, stews, tomato soups, and salads. Farro should be cooked for around 30 minutes. To minimize cooking time, most chefs advocate soaking it overnight.

6. Couscous

Couscous is manufactured from durum wheat that has been ground into small granules. It is widely used in Moroccan, Algerian, and Tunisian cuisines.

Couscous, unlike bulgur, is not a grain. Crushed durum wheat semolina is often used to make it. Its mild taste will enhance rather than overshadow the foods with which it is paired. As a result, it is often served as a side dish with stews, roasted vegetables, or seafood, such as sea bass.

Cook the wheat couscous for five minutes in boiling water. Alternatively, you may prepare it the traditional manner by placing the couscous on top of a pot of boiling vegetable or meat soup and allowing it to soak up all of the rich flavors.

7. Millet

Most people in the United States equate millet with bird seed. However, millet is a staple grain for about one-third of the world’s population, mostly in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. It is an ancient grain with over 6,000 distinct varieties found all over the globe.

This grain looks like a corn kernel and has a moderate flavor with undertones of sweetness. It has a fluffier texture than couscous and a firmer texture than quinoa.

Millet is a flexible ingredient that can be used in a variety of cuisines since it does not affect the taste profile. It’s great for making creamy soups, mashed potatoes, rice, and chicken marsala.

8. Wild Rice

Wild rice, often known as water oats, is related to conventional rice. It tastes identical to regular white rice.

This low-carb grain has become a popular staple for health-conscious diners due to its health advantages such as heart protection and diabetes management. Wild rice tastes similar to conventional rice, but it has a smokey, grassy flavor. It has a chewy outer shell that resembles brown rice.

Cooked wild rice has around 30% less calories and 40% more protein than brown rice, making it the healthiest rice option.

What to Serve With Bulgur Substitutes

Bulgur replacements complement soups, stews, salads, shellfish, and meat dishes. Some of the tastiest meals to serve with bulgur are listed below.


If you appreciate seafood, we have some exciting news for you. Fish is well-known for its cognitive advantages and includes elements that enhance collagen formation. Salmon, trout, mussels, and sardines are just a few examples of low-carb seafood that goes well with rice.


Broccoli is the ideal food for a nutrient-dense, low-carb diet. You may have disliked broccoli as a child, but now is the time to appreciate this nutritious vegetable. You may combine it with couscous, barley, or millet to create a flavorful, vitamin- and mineral-rich salad, soup, or stew.


Kale is a wonderful vegetable when it comes to health advantages. This vegetable’s bright green, flappy leaves are popular among health-conscious individuals. It is high in vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber.

Quinoa and kale may be combined to produce a delicious salad. Combine diced kale, tomatoes, and quinoa with a sprinkle of apple cider vinegar.

Bell Peppers

Bulgur is enhanced with bell peppers to improve its taste, color, and health benefits. Bell peppers are high in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C and should be a regular part of your diet.

They go well with meat or fish, and may be roasted, stir-fried with other vegetables, or used in soups. You may add them to rice to enhance the taste of your side dish.


We hope you like our selection of bulgur replacements. They’re all high-quality, nutrient-dense, and delicious substitutes.

Each one is really easy to prepare and may be used in any bulgur dish. You may mix them with the superfoods we highlighted to produce nutritious and healthful meals.


What can replace bulgur wheat in a recipe?

What Can I Use in Place of Bulgur?
Quinoa. Quinoa is a gluten-free alternative to bulgur wheat with comparable health advantages.
Wheat that has been cracked.
Berries made from wheat.

Can you substitute bulgur wheat for couscous?

Bulgur is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine. It has a light nutty taste and may be used in salads, stir fries, or wherever couscous, quinoa, or rice would be.

Can you substitute bulgur for rice?

Bulgur is a cooked, dried, and cracked whole wheat kernel that is often used in Middle Eastern cooking. The rice alternative has a feel comparable to white rice, but with 25% less calories and carbohydrates. Bulgur is another rice substitute with a higher fiber content. For a nutritious boost, toss it into your salads.

What can I substitute for bulgur in tabbouleh?

While bulgar is a nutritious component, it does contain gluten. So substituting quinoa is an excellent choice for preparing a nutritious and tasty gluten-free tabbouleh!

What is the same as bulgur wheat?

Substitutes for Bulgur

Cracked wheat: Cracked wheat is without a doubt your best bet. Bulgur and broken wheats are almost identical, without the parboiling. Just factor in the additional time it will take to cook cracked wheat.

Is bulgur similar to quinoa?

Bulgur and quinoa resemble one other in appearance. The distinction is that bulgur is a precooked cracked wheat, while quinoa is a seed. Quinoa is more nutritionally rich than rice, according to the nutrition comparison.

Can I substitute bulgur for farro?

Bulgur. Bulgur is a dried wheat berry that has been broken and partly cooked. It has a nutty taste and a chewy texture. It has a similar scent to popcorn and a flavor to farro, making it an acceptable alternative for farro.

Is quinoa better for you than bulgur wheat?

Both experts agree that quinoa and bulgur are healthy choices, but they provide distinct nutritional benefits. “Quinoa has more protein than bulgur, but bulgur has more fiber,” explains Gorin. Finally, both are excellent additions to any meal—it all comes down to personal opinion.

Can I use brown rice instead of bulgur wheat?

Bulgur has a nutritional advantage over brown rice.

Bulgur outperforms fiber-rich brown rice in terms of nutrition, with more than twice the fiber and four times the folate! Bulgur may be used in recipes that call for converted rice and is more nutritious than rice.

Can I substitute bulgur for orzo?

Orzo. When cooking soups, orzo is a great alternative for bulgur. However, it may also be used to make pasta and a variety of salads, including tabbouleh. Orzo is a rice-like pasta from Italy.

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