Recipe Corner: Bulgur Pilaf with Browned Onions and Tomato Juice

By Christine Vartanian Datian



5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

3/4 cup crushed uncooked vermicelli

2 cups medium coarse bulgur

2 cups hot sodium-free beef broth (chicken or lamb broth may also be used)

1 cup low sodium tomato juice

1 cup water

1 teaspoon sea or Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried basil (chopped fresh basil may be used, about 2 tablespoons)


1/4 cup fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley

Crushed red pepper flakes, Aleppo pepper




Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté the onions for 5- 8 minutes or until lightly browned.   Add the vermicelli, toss, and cook for about 2 minutes.

Add the bulgur to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes, tossing constantly.  Stir in the hot broth and remaining 6 ingredients (through the basil), and bring to a full boil.

Cover the pan, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.  Before serving, stir in fresh chopped parsley and garnish with crushed red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper to taste.

Serves 4-6.


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


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