Lentil and Bulgur Pilaf with Caramelized Onion

Lentil and Bulgur Pilaf with Caramelized Onion from Faith Gorsky’s ‘An Edible Mosaic’.
Lentil and Bulgur Pilaf with Caramelized Onion
Photo by Faith Gorsky

You may remember a few weeks ago when I shared a recipe for date-filled cookies from An Edible Mosaic as part of a virtual potluck with several other bloggers. I’m excited to share that we’re all getting together again this weekend for an interactive Cook, Tweet & Eat event!  On Saturday at 4pm EST we’ll be heading into the kitchen to prepare a recipe for lentil and bulgur pilaf with caramelized onions and we’ll be live tweeting along the way. We’d love for you to join the party and cook the recipe with us!  You’ll find us at the hashtag #AnEdibleMosaic. Feel free to ask us cooking questions along the way and share your photos. After the event, Kitchen Play will be featuring some of yours photos in an event recap!

I’ve never participated in a live tweet event like this before so I’m really excited to see how it goes. The recipe is below if you’d like to cook along with us.  Feel free to be creative! I’m substituting green lentils for brown since I already have them on hand. I’d love to see how others tweak the recipe.

I hope to see you there!  You can RSVP here.

Lentil and Bulgur Pilaf with Caramelized Onion
Photo by Faith Gorsky


Lentil and Bulgur Pilaf with Caramelized Onion
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr

Lentil and Bulgur Pilaf with Caramelized Onion from Faith Gorsky's 'An Edible Mosaic'.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean
Servings: 4 -6 servings
Calories: 493 kcal
Author: Jennifer Farley
  • 1 1/3 cups dried brown lentils (275 g) (or 2 cans brown lentils, rinsed and drained)
  • 6 cups water (1.5 liters)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large yellow onions, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 pods cardamom, cracked open
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup coarse-ground bulgur wheat (185 g)
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water (300 ml)
  • Plain yogurt, optional, for serving
  1. Sort through the lentils to remove any small stones or pieces of dirt, and then rinse with cold water in a colander. Bring the rinsed lentils and the water to a boil in a lidded medium saucepan. Cover the saucepan, turn the heat down to a simmer, and cook until the lentils are tender but not mushy, about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water as necessary so that they’re always immersed; strain.
  2. While the lentils cook, heat the oil and the butter in a large skillet over moderately-high heat; add the onion and sauté until completely softened but not yet browned, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer half the onion to a small bowl and set aside. Continue cooking the remaining onion until deep caramel in color, about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a splash of water as necessary if the onion starts to get too dark. Set aside.
  3. Put half a kettle of water on to boil. Transfer the sautéed onion (not the caramelized onion) to a medium saucepan. Add the bay leaf, cardamom, clove, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and pepper and cook 1 minute. Add the bulgur and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Add the boiling water, turn the heat up to high, and bring to a rolling boil.
  4. Give the bulgur a stir, then cover the saucepan, turn the heat down to very low, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes (do not open the lid during this time). Turn the heat off and let the bulgur sit 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork and gently stir in the lentils. Taste and add additional salt, pepper, and olive oil if desired.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish and top with the caramelized onion. Serve with plain yogurt to spoon on top, if using.
Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of [An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky (Tuttle Publishing; Nov. 2012); reprinted with permission.

About Jennifer Farley

Jennifer graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine in Maryland, and has worked professionally as a line cook, pastry chef, and cooking instructor. Her cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen, was published in 2016 by Simon & Schuster.

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