Kisir Salad, an Ancient Grain for Modern Times


Sometimes we forget about the simple things in life and making Kisir salad is one of them.
Kisir is a traditional salad in Turkish cuisine made with bulgur, parsley, and tomato paste, seasoned with sweet-tart pomegranate molasses and crushed hot Maras pepper. I love roasted sweet cherry tomatoes and chickpeas. The roasted cherry tomatoes add a sweet flavor and the chickpeas add protein and fiber. Once you have tasted Pomegranate molasses, I promise you will add it to your shopping list. It tastes like a well-aged balsamic vinegar and its intensely sour, yet sweet flavor can be a revelation. It goes well with poultry and lamb too. Add a touch to your favorite meat marinade, or just drizzle it over vanilla ice cream.

Real food or highly processed food:

Micheal Polloan, author of a great motivational book, “Food Rules, An Eaters Manual” states the challenge of eating well comes down to two choices, real food or highly processed food. It is that simple, well kind of. Staying away from food and ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce is a good start and by the way, is one of my favorite food rules. Kisir is all about real functional food, nothing fancy, just simple food that speaks tradition, whole grain, and tempting flavor. One thing to keep in mind,  while functional foods may help promote wellness, they can’t make up for poor eating habits.



Bulgur is a Persian word meaning “bruised grain”. Not to be confused with cracked wheat; bulgur is wheat that has been steamed or parboiled, dried, and ground. The grain has a chewy texture and a light, nutty flavor and is available in several sizes: fine, medium, coarse and whole. Bulgur is used in the Eastern Mediterranean from Greece, Turkey through Lebanon, Syria, Israel, and Palestine and as far east as Iraq, then onto the North African nations of Egypt and Tunisia.

Maras Peppers:

I use Maras crushed pepper, pronounced mah-RASH. How much you use and how much heat is up to you. There is that saying, when Turkish friends get together they make Kisir and drink tea. On most tables in Turkey, you’ll find small bowls of both Maras and Urfa Biber pepper, this is as common on dinner tables in Turkey as black pepper is in the United States. Give it a try, you will love it. Add a dash to sauce or soup for a touch of mild and unexpected heat. I get my pomegranate molasses and Maras pepper from my favorite Middle Eastern spice store in Chicago, the Middle East Grocery & Bakery, located in Andersonville at Clark and Foster Avenue.

Kisir Salad 

The Taste

Great flavor with a zingy, spicy, and fresh taste that will excite your palate.
Serve with a great Feta, olives, and pita.

The Process

To make Kisir salad is as simple as it gets. Kisir is real food, nothing fancy.
Simple food that speaks tradition with whole grain and tempting flavor.

The Verdict

 A great Bulgur salad, full of Mediterranean flavor that goes well with poultry and lamb.
Once you have tasted Pomegranate molasses I promise you will add it to your shopping list
Add a touch of Pomegranate of it to your favorite meat marinade. Or just drizzle it over vanilla ice cream.


Kisir Salad, an Ancient Grain for Modern Times

Chef Norbert
A great Bulgur salad, full of Mediterranean flavor that goes well with poultry and lamb. Once you have tasted Pomegranate molasses I promise you will add it to your shopping list.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 12
Calories 69 kcal

Recommended Equipment


Roasted cherry tomatoes

Kisir Salad


Roast the cherry tomatoes

  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place them on a sheet pan. Sprinkle cherry tomatoes with olive oil, Sea salt and a few turns from the black pepper mill. Place in the oven for 45 minutes until the skins have shriveled; the tomatoes should still be intact. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
    2 basket cherry tomatoes, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 pinch pepper black, 1 pinch sea salt

Cook the bulgur

  • Bring olive oil in a saucepan to medium heat. Add one chopped spring onion and sauté until soft. Add tomato paste, mix and sauté. Add one diced tomato and cook until soft. Add bulgur, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, ground cumin, Maras peppers, hot water, and stir. Let sit until the bulgur cools and becomes soft.
    2 each spring onions, , 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp tomato paste, 1 each tomatoes, 1 cup bulgur, 1 tsp fresh lemon juice, 1/2 tsp cumin, ground, 1 tsp Maras pepper, 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses, 1 1/2 cup water

Mix bulgur with parsley and chickpeas

  • Add chopped parsley, chickpeas, the other diced tomato, and the remaining chopped spring onion, and mix. Season with sea salt. Place Kisir salad in a bowl, garnish with roasted cherry tomatoes.
    3 cubs flat-leaf parsley, 14 oz chickpeas canned, 1 pinch sea salt


  • Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, accompanied by a good Feta cheese and olives.


Serving: 4.5ounce | Calories: 69kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 24mg | Potassium: 69mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g

Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate

Keyword Appetizer
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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