5 Ingredients or Fewer

Bulgur-Feta Fritters With Lemony Parsley Salad

April 26, 2022
14 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Anne Eastman. Food Stylist: Yossy Arefi
  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 3 to 4
Author Notes

Crispy and cheesy, these two-ingredient fritters would sparkle next to anything. But a citrusy, herby salad—packed with green parsley and crunchy cucumber—hits the spot. Inspired by tabbouleh, this recipe only needs a handful of ingredients. The secret is to use them smartly. Toasting the grains first, then adding a splash of feta brine to the cooking water yields deeply flavored bulgur. And crumbling the cheese into two textures means that some melts as a binder, while other pieces stay intact (picture: surprise pockets of warm feta). When you’re shopping for bulgur, be mindful of the coarseness. This recipe uses a medium grind, also known as #2 bulgur. Don’t get coarse or fine, since they wouldn’t cook up in the same way. Most bulgurs you’ll find will be made with durum wheat. But there are some brands that use red wheat, like Bob’s Red Mill. Because this is a different type of wheat, it acts differently, go figure. So if that’s what you have or bought, make the following adjustments: Use 1½ cups of water and ¼ cup of feta brine (or 1¾ cups of water plus a pinch of salt), and cook for 15 minutes. —Emma Laperruque

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Bulgur-Feta Fritters With Lemony Parsley Salad
  • 1 cup (168 grams) medium-grind (also known as #2) bulgur
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) feta, brine reserved
  • Kosher or flaky salt
  • 1 large bunch (about 6 ounces/170 grams) flat-leaf parsley
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for sauteing and dressing
  • 2 Persian cucumbers
  • 1 large lemon, preferably organic
  1. Add a drizzle of oil to a medium pot and set over medium heat. Add the bulgur and cook, stirring constantly, until it smells toasty, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 3/4 cups of water and 1/4 cup of feta brine (or if you don’t have any brine, 2 cups of water plus a pinch of salt). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes, until the bulgur is very soft, almost mushy, and the water has absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile finely crumble about 2/3 of the feta and roughly crumble the rest.
  3. Use a fork to mash and stir the hot bulgur a few times, encouraging it to get sticky. Stir in the finely crumbled feta until mostly melted, then gently stir in the roughly crumbled feta.
  4. In heaping 1-tablespoon portions, scoop the bulgur mixture onto a parchment-lined sheet pan (yielding 18 to 22). Use your hand to flatten each scoop into a disc (1½ to 2 inches in diameter). Let these firm up in the fridge while you work on the parsley salad. (At this point, you could also wrap and refrigerate the fritters for up to 2 days before moving onto the next step.)
  5. Cut and discard the tough stems from the parsley. Wash the leaves and tender stems, then roughly chop. Halve the cucumbers lengthwise, then roughly chop. Transfer both to a medium bowl. Finely grate some lemon zest (about ⅓ the lemon for me) on top of the parsley and cucumber. Halve the lemon, then squeeze some juice (about ½ the lemon for me) on top. Generously drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss, taste, and adjust as needed.
  6. To a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet, add enough oil to coat the bottom and set over medium heat. When the oil is hot, carefully add enough fritters to comfortably fit with room for flipping. Cook until golden brown and crispy on the bottoms, 4 to 5 minutes, then flip and cook until golden brown and crispy on the other side, 3 to 4 minutes. (If they seem too delicate, let them firm up for longer before cooking.) Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate or a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining fritters, adding more oil if the pan starts to look dry.
  7. Serve the warm fritters on top of or alongside the salad.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Amy Spiegel
    Amy Spiegel
  • Shelley Albert
    Shelley Albert
  • Natalia Kolk
    Natalia Kolk
  • FrozenFoodie
  • pimimond
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

22 Reviews

Amy S. November 7, 2023
I can’t stop thinking about these critters. Even though they fell apart. Yes—I used #2 bulgur from the middle eastern store. I followed instructions. After first few fell apart, remixed the remaining fritters with 2 eggs. They then stayed together in the pan. Definitely needed a binder. Maybe they might have been able to mush up more if there was more water and longer cooking time before being mixed with other fritter ingredients. And they did pop in the pan (I used a spatter lid) especially pre-eggs. But definitely want to make again because amazing taste of crispy bulgur with feta!!!!
Amy S. November 7, 2023
Obv fritters —— not critters.
Shelley A. March 20, 2023
Well I tried these twice with 2 types of bulgur. Not only did they fall apart but I felt like I was under fire while they were cooking from flying bulgur (which is also the name of an old Toronto klezmer band). They were delish but I can't do it again, too traumatizing.
missymaam June 3, 2022
I read all the comments, including those who said they couldn't get them to fritter. They fell apart. I followed the recipe to the letter and I'm a fairly accomplished cook. I also watched the vid several times. I to had tasty crumbles for my salad. They were delicious, but the didn't have a prayer of staying together. Mine fell apart when I pressed them flat. I used my hand to regroup them and put in the fridge for 45 minutes. The minute I lifted them from the sheet pan to go into the oil, crumbles. Another person suggested using an egg to bind. I'm going to try that next time, an egg may be the answer. But I was very disappointed because they looked so easy.
Natalia K. May 31, 2022
Delicious! But it worked much better on the fritters I left in the fridge overnight. Maybe I was just impatient and didn't let them cook long enough, or didn't use the right amount of oil, but the ~30 min sit in the fridge wasn't enought to hold my fritters together the first night. But it was still delicious, just more like fried rice than fritter. Maybe the issue was they type of bulgur, I just used the last of the bulgur in my pantry, but I don't know what kind it was. Either way, definitely making this again once I buy more bulgur!!!
amybanana May 27, 2022
Did you know that bulgur behaves like popcorn? Terrible recipe! Followed it to the letter just to have the Bulgur patties disintegrate in the frying pan after 30 minutes in the fridge.
pimimond May 27, 2022
I didn't have this problem! I found the recipe delicious and perfect!
kasia S. May 27, 2022
It's not a terrible recipe, make sure you use the proper bulgur as instructed and that it's soft, almost mushy before you add the feta. Worked perfectly find the first time I made this, and I had this dish 3 times already.
FrozenFoodie May 22, 2022
Do you think this would work with quinoa, in order to make them gluten free?
Emma L. May 23, 2022
Hi! I haven't tried this recipe with quinoa, but these fritters use quinoa and goat cheese: https://food52.com/recipes/77203-cheesy-fritters-simple-salad
lauryn2626 May 14, 2022
Ruined my $250 all clad pan with stuck on food, terrible recipe that doesn't work. Waste of $30 of groceries.
pimimond May 14, 2022
Wow, it's really hard to ruin an All-Clad pan. You must have really screwed up. I made this recipe and it was perfection.
kasia S. May 27, 2022
Soak in water and it will wash out. The recipe is a guide, you still have to execute this yourself for a good final result.
pimimond May 7, 2022
Stupendous flavor, wonderful texture combination, healthy and cheap to make. A total win!
kasia S. May 6, 2022
Made this tonight, I ordered Bulgur and Feta when the recipe came up and had all else, wow.. my bf ate a whole plate and then stole half of my dinner portion, that salad with loads of lemon and parsley and cucumber was incredible. I am adding this to our regular dinner rotation, honestly 10 stars. Absolutely delicious and not hard at all to prepare.
Sarah May 4, 2022
These were a bit tricky to handle in the frying pan. They tended to be pretty delicate and not sturdy enough to flip them without breaking. I wonder if a beaten egg added to the bulgur-feta mixture (after it has cooled) might help them stay together more consistently. I refrigerated them for more than 30 minutes and they were cold when I added them to the oil. That being said, the crispy bits that I scraped out of the pan at the end were delicious. I was also tempted to add a few red pepper flakes at some point...but stayed my hand, following the recipe to the letter
kasia S. May 6, 2022
My first batch of fritters was perfect the second came apart so I just made a hash and dunked it into the lemony salad, honestly just as amazing tasting :)
magenta May 18, 2022
I had a similar problem, the patties were well formed and chilled, but when they hit the oil they started popping like popcorn and completely fell apart. I think it needs to be highlighted how really cooked and mashed the bulgur should be. I had to dump it onto a paper towel to drain the oil and recombine the mixture with two eggs and a tablespoon of flour. that being said, the result was tasty and i loved the combination with the salad! Also, maybe some brands of #2 bulgur may be coarser, who know! Will make again and cook the bulgur at least 25 minutes and really mash up.
kasia S. May 27, 2022
There is a video of Emma cooking this dish, it might be helpful to watch :) I know I'm very visual and watch something a few times before I make it. Good luck :)
Carla L. May 3, 2022
Hi Emma I love the sound of this recipe. I just wonder if I could use Freekeh for this,instead of Burgul?
Emma L. May 4, 2022
Hi Carla! I haven't tried that with this recipe—but if you do, let me know how it goes!
kasia S. May 7, 2022
Quinoa would work too, also wondering if rice would work... hmm might try :)