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Bulgur Pilaf with Tomatoes and Eggplant (Shulbato)

4 to 6 Servings

55 minutes

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Palestinian shulbato is a type of bulgur pilaf. It features tomatoes, which tint the grain a rust-red hue, along with a few other summer vegetables, plus spices that lend an earthy aroma. For our version, we opt for cherry or grape tomatoes since they’re dependably good no matter the season, and we bolster their flavor with a few tablespoons of tomato paste. Both are cooked into the bulgur, but we separately sauté a mix of eggplant and cubanelle (or Anaheim) peppers and combine them with the pilaf at the end. This way, the vegetables develop flavorful caramelization but also retain their character. This shulbato is substantial enough to be a vegetarian main, but also makes a great side to roasted or grilled chicken or lamb. It’s delicious warm or at room temperature; if serving at room temperature, add the garnishes at the last minute.

4 to 6



Don’t substitute fine or medium bulgur for the coarse bulgur, which has a texture that’s an ideal match for the chunkiness of the vegetables. Also, different grinds of bulgur require different cooking and amounts of liquid for hydration.

55 minutes


  • 2

    tablespoons plus ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve

  • 1

    medium yellow onion, chopped


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Mike S.
August 7, 2023
A relatively quick and easy meatless staple.
Not as flavorful as I’d hope. I’d add a firm mushroom in addition to the eggplant, and perhaps some more fresh herbs like basil or oregano. Definitely a solid base recipe.