Recipe Corner: Southwest Bulgur Pilaf



2 cups coarse bulgur

4 tablespoons unsalted butter or 1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup vermicelli pasta, broken into pieces

1 cup chopped onions

2 cloves garlic, minced

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1/2 green, yellow or red bell pepper, seeded and chopped or 1/2 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies

1/2 cup diced celery

1 tablespoon tomato paste

3 cups low sodium chicken, beef or vegetable broth

1 cup tomato juice or crushed tomatoes

1 cup shredded cooked roast beef, lamb, chicken or pork  (optional)

1 tablespoon salsa

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 small jalapeño pepper or red Fresno chile pepper, seeded and finely diced

1/2 teaspoon each cumin, chili powder and Spanish paprika

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and black pepper

Dash of hot sauce (optional)

Toppings: Chopped cilantro and green onions, salsa, sour cream, sliced avocado, Jack cheese, crumbled Queso cheese, diced black olives, and sliced lemon and lime wedges


In a large pot, sauté vermicelli in butter (or olive oil) until golden brown.  Add onions and garlic and cook a few minutes longer until onions are tender.  Add bell pepper or green chilies, celery, and tomato paste, and stir.  Add bulgur and stir until all ingredients are combined.

Add broth, tomato juice or crushed tomatoes, choice of meat, salsa, lime juice, jalapeño pepper, spices, and hot sauce, and bring to a boil.  Stir, cover, reduce heat, and cook for 20-25 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed; remove pilaf from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.

Garnish with toppings and serve with soft warm tortillas on the side.

Serves 6.


*Christine’s recipes have been published in the Fresno Bee Newspaper, Sunset Magazine, Cooking Light Magazine, and at

Note: Fresno chilies were first cultivated in 1952 by Clarence Brown Hamlin, and he named the chile after Fresno, California. The Red Fresno Chile Pepper is still grown in California. The Fresno gains a smokier, fruitier taste than a jalapeño as it matures to its red color.  Many people prefer the flavors of the Fresno over the jalapeño, depending on the amount of heat they like.  Both peppers have a similar heat level, but the Fresno delivers a spicier kick as it ages. To purchase Red Fresno Chile Peppers, go to:



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