This Tomato and Onion Bulgur Salad tastes amazing, and it's so healthy and satisfying. I was surprised that my kids loved it too, since it has chopped tomatoes and onions in it, something that picky eaters like to pick out. My grandma called this bulgur salad "effelama" although I can't figure out where that name came from. If you do, please leave an explanation in the comments below.
When I showed this recipe to other Armenians, they commented that it was a type of "eetch" salad. However, in this version, there are just a few simple ingredients and you don't cook anything--not even the fine bulgur wheat--which is a mistake I made the first time. If you pre-cook the bulgur, you'll have a much soupier consistency, because using raw bulgur like you're supposed to allows the bulgur to soften when it soaks up the canned tomato juices.
What Ingredients Do I Need?
- Canned tomatoes: Whole, diced or crushed tomatoes can be used. I have found that San Marzano whole tomatoes is a quality variety of canned tomatoes.
- Onion: White or yellow onion diced. The onion adds a lot of flavor to this salad, and in combination with the lemon olive oil dressing, it's especially flavorful.
- Fine Bulgur Wheat: Also known as bulgur #1, which describes the size of the grain. This recipe will not work well if you aren't using the fine bulgur wheat unless you pre-cook the bulgur with tomato juices and water.
- Lemon: As always, there's no substitute for fresh-squeezed lemon juice. With the minimal ingredients involved in this salad, it's important to go for the punch of flavor that comes from fresh lemons.
- Extra-virgin olive oil: The purest type of olive oil, sometimes referred to simply as EVOO, has a slightly bitter, fruity flavor, which not only tastes delicious but provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits
- Iceberg lettuce: Crisp and crunchy, this is a very mild-flavored lettuce. You can quickly wash a head of iceberg by removing the outer leaves, whacking the core side on the counter, placing it in a bowl and then running water down the center, followed by draining it.
- Salt: I used regular iodized table salt, but if you prefer, you could use Himalayan or sea salt.
How Do I Make Tomato and Onion Bulgur Salad?
This is such a simple recipe, you'll wonder why you don't make it more often...and then you will! Start by opening up a can of diced tomatoes and pouring it over the fine bulgur so all the juices can soak in. Stir everything around so that the bulgur gets soft and the tomatoes get broken up, especially if using whole.
While the bulgur is soaking, you'll want to wash and dice up your iceberg lettuce and onion. Iceberg lettuce is a very crisp type of lettuce that adds a nice crunchy texture and fresh, mild taste to the salad. You could use a heart of romaine if you don't have iceberg lettuce.
Finally, make the dressing by combining ¼ cup cup olive oil and ¼ cup lemon juice. Add about a teaspoon of salt, or less, according to taste. Then, toss the dressing, lettuce and onion in with the bulgur and tomato mixture. When it's all combined, you've got a complete meal that is perfect for lunchtime or any time.
Tomato and Onion Bulgur Salad
- 1 cup bulgur wheat (#1 fine)
- 1 16 oz. can whole or diced tomatoes
- 1 small yellow or white onion
- ½ head iceberg lettuce
- ¼ cup olive oil extra virgin
- ¼ cup lemon juice (juice from about 2 medium lemons)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pour a cup of fine bulgur in a large bowl. Add the can of tomatoes with all the juices to the bulgur and stir. If using whole tomatoes, break up the tomatoes into small pieces by squeezing them gently with your hands or with the back of a wood spoon. Let the tomato juices soak into the bulgur while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Peel and dice the onion. Wash and rinse the iceberg lettuce and then chop it up.
- Squeeze 1-2 fresh lemons to make a ¼ cup of juice. Combine this with ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil and ½-1 teaspoon of salt.
- Add the iceberg lettuce, onion and dressing to the bulgur tomato mixture and this toss until everything is combined. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Both ways are great!