bulgur pilaf with potatoes and green beans

In the early days of the ani-bob partnership, bob began recording favorite Armenian recipes by her mom Isgouhi and Aunt Mary in a spiral bound lined paper notebook. Most of the favorites eventually made it into our "What, ME Cook?" Book, but somehow this one did not. So a quarter of a century later, we promote it to official status. This is a variation of the bulgur lentil pilaf and bulgur chick pea pilaf recipes that did get written up long ago, perhaps because of more frequent appearance in Isgouhi's kitchen for bob to remember to record them—and even Ani does these two on her own.

As usual with Isgouhi's cooking, bob had a big first serving and then seconds. Hard to resist. At which point he wondered if this had gotten into the cookbook. Not. So all these years later, we rectify this unfair omission. This is an Anjarian Armenian recipe, the hard headed Armenians from Musa Dagh who re-established themselves as a community in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon.

Ironically in the years after bob met Ani but before meeting her family, he was impressed by the vegetarian buffet restaurants in annual visits to Stockholm wondering where he could ever find such delicious grain based dishes back home. And then he fell into it by marrying the daughter of a great Armenian Lebanese home cook.


 2 c bulgur
4 or 5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 c Italian flat frozen green beans (or whatever kind)
1 zucchini, cubed (optional)
1 1/2 c water
2 mature tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 T tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 t allspice
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t Aleppo red pepper (or paprika if not available)
4 c water
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1/2 c regular olive oil


  1. Boil the potatoes and green beans (and zucchini if you have one) in the water with a little salt until the potatoes are softened.
  2. Then add the tomatoes and simmer together say 10 minutes roughly.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste. Then add the bulgur and 4 c water and cook until the water has evaporated.
  4. Meanwhile, saute the onion in the olive oil until soft.
  5. When the bulgur water has evaporated, mix in the onion.
  6. Serve with optional plain yogurt on the side.


  1. Lentil bulgur pilaf (1998).
  2. Bulgur pilaf with chick peas (2003).
  3. The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, a bit exaggerated novel based on Ani's Anjarian ancestors' 1915 genocide story, which recently found its way into the mainstream movie The Promise (2016) [Wiki, imdb].
  4. Illustrations available.
bulgarpilafpotatoes.htm: 11-feb-2019 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]