Cracked Wheat Salad

This salad is similar to Lebanese tabouleh but with a tomato/red pepper base. It's full of fresh flavor from herbs and tastes even better two to three days later.
Course Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword cracked wheat salad, kisir recipe, ich recipe, eech recipe
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6
Author Jean | Lemons + Anchovies


  • 1 16 ounce bag cracked wheat or bulgur wheat rinsed and drained (about 2 1/4 cups dry, #2 medium size)
  • 3 cups boiling water divided
  • 2 heaping tablespoons Turkish tomato paste or regular
  • 3 heaping tablespoons Turkish red pepper paste mild or hot, I prefer hot
  • Olive oil several tablespoons
  • 1 small yellow onion finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper finely diced (I use 1/2)
  • 1 - 1 1/2 heaping teaspoons ground cumin plus more to taste
  • 3/4 heaping teaspoon paprika plus more to taste
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups combined finely chopped fresh parsley and mint
  • 4 - 6 stalks scallions chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon plus more to taste
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons Pomegranate Molasses optional
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a medium saucepan (I use a 3 1/2 quart) whisk together two tablespoons of the red pepper paste and 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste with 1 cup of the boiling water until the mixture is smooth. Put the pan on the stove and add the rinsed cracked wheat, 3/4 teaspoon salt and the remaining two cups of boiling water to the paste/water mixture. Stir the mixture together, turn the heat on the stove, high enough to bring the water in the mixture back to a boil then turn off the heat and cover the saucepan with a lid. Let this sit for 12-15 minutes until the liquid has been completely absorbed.
  2. While waiting for the cracked wheat to soften, heat about two tablespoons olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the diced onions and red bell pepper and cook for one minute. Season with a pinch of salt then add the ground cumin, paprika and the remaining 1 tablespoon red pepper paste and 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste. Add another tablespoon of olive oil if you like. Stir the spices and pastes into the vegetables and cook for just another minute or two, until the pastes and spices have heated up. Take this mixture off the heat.
  3. Once the cracked wheat has softened (all the liquid should have been absorbed), fluff it with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. Add the cooked onion and red pepper mixture and stir together.
  4. Add the chopped parsley, mint, scallions, lemon juice, four tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses, if using. Feel free to to add more salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, pomegranate molasses and lemon juice to suit your taste. Toss and serve. This is great at chilled or at room temperature. It keeps for several days and tastes better as it sits.

Recipe Notes

1. I use the Ziyad brand of Cracked wheat, #2 size. This cooking method is what works for this brand. Depending on the brand or size of grain you use, the cooking time may vary.
2. Start with the smaller range of the ingredient amounts. It's easy to stir in more as you taste.
3. The Hot Red Pepper paste is better for this recipe. It's not spicy at all but somehow it has a better flavor. I use the Sera brand. For the tomato paste, I use the Tukas brand. And for the pomegranate molasses, I use the Cortas brand. If you can find these items locally, the prices would be much more reasonable than ordering on Amazon.