Looking for a super delicious but easy-to-make side dish? Something that you can prepare beforehand for your lunch break at work? Mix it up a little with this classic of Anatolian cuisine! Kısır, or Kisir in English, is a traditional Turkish bulgur salad. It is served cold and mostly like a side dish or Meze but can also be found as a main dish sometimes. Kisir has a typical reddish color and its taste ranges from piquant to fruity.

Classic Kisir mainly contains bulgur, spring onions, tomatoes, parsley and mint with a seasoning of olive oil and spices. A popular addition is Nar ekşisi, Turkish pomegranate molasses, which gives the salad a special fruity-bitter flavor. As a Meze, a traditional Turkish appetizer, people often serve Kisir with or on big leaves of Romaine lettuce that can serve as edible spoons. Great accompaniments are fresh Pide or Simit. The bulgur salad can be easily stored in the fridge for a couple of days. For that reason, it is a great dish to prepare beforehand, especially since it usually tastes better on the second day, when all ingredients have blended and soaked well.

What’s The Difference Between Kisir And Tabbouleh?

Many people confuse Kisir with Levantine Tabbouleh or use it as a synonym. Although they are somewhat similar, you can easily spot the differences when taking a closer look. First of all, Tabbouleh consists of couscous and not bulgur. Also, it contains way more parsley than its Turkish counterpart. While Kisir is a bulgur salad with some parsley, Tabbouleh is rather a parsley salad with some grains, it that case couscous.



The use of these cereal foods in the middle east is not without a reason. Since the cultivation of wheat originated in the regions of Mesopotamia and Anatolia, it is no wonder that bulgur salad has been a basic aliment for centuries. Bulgur is cracked wheat that has been partially cooked. There are different grades of milling used for different dishes. While coarse bulgur finds use in rice-like eats, finely ground bulgur is best for salads like Kisir.

Kisir is a super fast and simple dish that is great as a side or to complement your barbecue. The traditional bulgur salad is vegetarian and even vegan. Thus, give it a try with our authentic recipe:



Food & Drinks // Turkey

Kisir, traditional bulgur salad from Turkey


500 g fine bulgur

3 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp spicy paprika paste

3 spring onions

300 g tomatoes

1 Romaine lettuce, or Iceberg

1 lemon

1 bunch of flat leaf parsley

100 ml olive oil

1- 2 tsp salt

1 clove of garlic

dried mint

freshly ground pepper


Wash the bulgur and fill it in a big bowl. Add the salt

Heat up a pot with a good amount of water

Pour the boiling water over the bulgur so that it is two fingers above the bulgur

Let the bulgur soak until it becomes soft. If the water has disappeared completely and the bulgur is still hard, add more hot water

Wash the spring onions and cut them into fine rings

Wash the garlic and cut into fine cubes

Wash the tomatoes, remove the cores and cut them into small cubes

Wash the Romaine lettuce and separate the individual leaves

Roll the lemon on the kitchen counter, cut it in half and press out the juice

Wash the parsley, remove the stems and cut finely

When the bulgur is soft, add tomato and paprika paste as well as olive oil and mix everything well to achieve an evenly red color

Gently fold in the parsley, spring onions, garlic and mint

Season the salad with lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste

Serve straight away or keep cool and let everything soak for a while

Similar to:

Tabbouleh from Lebanon and Syria
Eetch from Armenia

Find more food and drinks from Turkey here.

Images by SunnySideCircus