Toasted Coconut, Bulgur and Butternut Squash Bowl

A hearty vegan bulgur bowl filled with roasted butternut squash pieces, wilted spinach, and toasted coconut. This bright, versatile dish is great for lunch, dinner, or gatherings!

#Vegan Coconut Bulgur & Butternut Squash Bowl - a healthy grain bowl that is easy to make!

Even when I’m out on vacation, I can’t seem to tear myself away from the kitchen.  When I visited my family in the UK several years ago, I cooked this toasted coconut, bulgur and butternut squash bowl for dinner. Initially, I wanted to add toasted kale chips to the bowl for some crunch. For whatever reason, I couldn’t find kale that wasn’t already pre-chopped with their stems, so I gave the kale chips idea a miss. (I can’t stand kale with their tough, stringy stems intact.) I swapped the kale chips for baby spinach that I wilted in a pan, and the grain and butternut squash bowl still tasted wonderful.

I come back to this recipe a lot because it’s quite easy to prepare and a lot of its components can be cooked ahead. I often store cooked grains and roasted squash in my refrigerator so that I can throw together a lunch or dinner very quickly during the week. When I have my butternut squash and bulgur already cooked, this dish comes together in about 10 minutes!#Vegan Coconut Bulgur & Butternut Squash Bowl - a healthy grain bowl that is easy to make!



Toasted Coconut, Bulgur and Butternut Squash Bowl

#Vegan Coconut Bulgur & Butternut Squash Bowl - a healthy grain bowl that is easy to make!

5 from 3 reviews

This recipe is great with any grains, such as quinoa, freekeh, millet or barley. Feel free to substitute the bulgur for any grains you prefer.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes


  • 1 cup uncooked bulgur
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 and 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 6 ounces baby spinach
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 stalk of scallion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils


  1. Add the water and bulgur in a saucepan, and bring the water to boil. Reduce the heat to low, put a lid on the saucepan, and let the bulgur gently simmer until the liquids are nearly evaporated, about 10-13 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep the lid on the saucepan. The bulgur will continue to soften.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Peel and deseed the butternut squash. Chop the squash into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss the cubed squash with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Spread the squash onto the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake the squash for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the cubes can be easily pierced with a fork.
  4. While the squash is cooking, toast the coconut in a pan. Heat the pan over medium heat, and spread the coconut inside. When the coconut starts to turn light tan, start stirring. Keep stirring until about half of the coconut is browned. Remove the pan from heat and transfer the coconut to a plate immediately. Otherwise, the coconut will continue to brown and it might burn.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the spinach and start stirring. Cook the spinach for about 1 to 2 minutes, until it starts to wilt.
  6. In a large bowl, mix the cooked bulgur with the soy sauce and sesame oil. Add the butternut squash, toasted coconut, spinach, scallions and pomegranate arils.
  7. Serve immediately. Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container.


NUTRITION INFORMATION: Makes about 4 Servings. Amount per serving: Calories: 373, Total Fat 17.4g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Sodium: 782mg, Cholesterol: 0mg, Total Carbohydrate: 52.6g, Dietary Fiber: 10.5g, Sugar: 6.2g, Protein 9g

  • Coconut can burn very quickly. It takes a little while for the coconut to start turning brown, but once it does, it will start turning into deeper shades of brown very quickly.

This coconut toasted coconut, bulgur and butternut squash bowl recipe was originally published in January 2015. It has been updated with a new headnote and photos.

61 thoughts on “Toasted Coconut, Bulgur and Butternut Squash Bowl

  1. Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness
    Haha, I totally relate to this post! But I am from the Pacific North West...we have very similar hippie-food-loving ways ;) This bowl is GORGEOUS and totally my kinda meal. I haven't tried bulgur, and now I need to! Pinned!
  2. Julie | This Gal Cooks
    It's amazing the things we become accustom to here in the US that other parts of the world don't even have. But I guess not having apple sauce would result in one making their own, right?! Provided apples can be found. :) Great recipe, Lisa. I think I've only used bulgar once or twice but I need to give it a try again so I can try this!
    1. Lisa Post author
      Thanks, Julie! I ended up having to buy a can of apples and blending them with an immersion blender. Worked like a charm!
  3. Min
    Haha you're too funny and cute ;). My friends haven't accused me of being a hippie, but I'm sure I'm headed in that direction. They don't use measuring cups in the UK either? Just like in's actually quite liberating to cook without..I actually never used to measure until I started my blog bc instructions that say a pinch of this, a spoonful of that would be criminal haha. Love the simplicity of this dish, not to mention the beautiful colors!
    1. Lisa Post author
      Nope! They mainly use kitchen scales to measure ingredients. I'm sure many professional bakers/pastry chefs would say that we should all be measuring out ingredients. My mother is totally the same way with cooking. She grabs a random bowl in the cupboard as her measuring come and just adjusts the ingredients based on how they look and feel. Maybe one day I'll be able to cook like that!
  4. Liz @ Floating Kitchen
    Oh I've been having mini cooking/ingredient related meltdowns of my own. Such a difference in the grocery stores between West Coast and East Coast and I get very frustrated when I can't find what I want. Gotta adapt I guess! This salad looks right up my alley! Love it!
    1. Lisa Post author
      It's so true! I remember how I couldn't find so many Asian ingredients when I lived in the East Coast. I would either have my family send them over, or I would carry a huge suitcase full of food back to the East Coast!
  5. Alanna
    I adore sesame oil, and come to think of's been a while since I last used some!! I actually haven't experimented with bulgar in the kitchen although I love it!! Thanks for sharing :)
    1. Lisa Post author
      Thanks, Alanna! I LOVE the chewy texture of bulgur. If you like grains that are slightly chewy, I think you'll like this one!
  6. Eileen
    This is exactly why we try to stay in hotels or airbnbs with kitchens when we're on vacation. Who can go without cooking for a week? I feel your pain! :) Also, this is totally the kind of salad I want to make a big batch of and eat all week for instant lunch. Fast and delicious!
    1. Lisa Post author
      Thanks, Eileen! I've never stayed at an airbnb before, but I might have to do that the next time I travel!
    1. Lisa Post author
      Actually, considering it's been about 15 degrees C here, it doesn't really feel like winter at all! So not complaining about this...
  7. Julia
    Oof! Bring on that toasted coconut! I think I could eat butternut squash every day of my life and not get sick of it. And hey, if being a hippy means eating awesome food like bulgar and kale, I say bring on the title ;)
  8. Patty Gale
    This looks absolutely delicious! We just had a butternut squash that my husband made into soup using fresh ginger. This recipe is definitely next on my list to try. Stopping by from SITS Saturday sharefest. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
    1. Lisa Post author
      Thank you so much for stopping by, Patty Gale! YUM! I need to try that soup with ginger! Sounds awesome!
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  10. Deryn @ Running on Real Food
    This looks delicious! I love the list of ingredients, the coconut in there is a great touch. It's my first time here and everything looks so good, great photos! I haven't cooked with bulgur in forever, I think it's time :) thanks for sharing!
    1. Lisa Post author
      Thank you so much, Deryn for your kind words and for stopping by! Bulgur definitely needs to be on your to-make list!
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  14. Fiona
    Wow, you got all of my favourite foods and put them together! It never even occurred to me to put pomegranate and squash together but I'm so excited to try this out, it looks delicious. Thanks for the great recipe, look forward to trying it. If it makes you feel any better, when I visited the US, I was also totally lost - couldn't handle the whole cups thing... Great blog.

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