Sumac Onions (Turkish Onion Salad)

5 from 5 votes

These 5-minute Sumac Onions are a Turkish-style onion salad or a pickle that adds a nice crunch to anything it’s added to. Use this red onion salad in sandwiches, soups, or hamburgers to add a lovely flavor and a nice crunch.

Try Onion Marmalade, Crispy Fried Onions, or Sirka Pyaz for some onion-based side dish recipes.

Sumac onions served in a bowl.
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About Sumac Onions

Sumac Onions (Turkish Onion Salad) is a Middle Eastern onion pickle (or salad) made with sliced red onions mixed with sumac and other picking ingredients. This delicious salad is crunchy, tangy, and super versatile. It is easy to make and comes together in just 5 minutes using simple ingredients.

While the sumac adds a subtle lemon flavor to this quick pickled sumac onion salad, red wine vinegar and olive oil soften the onions and settle down their raw flavor.

In Turkey, this raw onion salad is a must on the side with meat and chicken dishes, and believe me, just munching on these crunchy onions with a bite of that delicious meat makes it even better. Maybe serve it with your favorite kebabs, just like they do in Turkish cafes and restaurants.

This salad is vegan and gluten-free too.

What Is Sumac

Sumac is a Middle Eastern or Turkish Spice that is red and has a subtle lemony flavor. It is not as strong as lemon, but it is sour. It is often used in marinades, soups, meat rubs, or salad dressings.

Apart from having a nice tangy flavor, sumac has antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Sumac is easily available at stores nowadays, but if you cannot get it, you can order it from online grocery portals like Amazon.

Ingredients

Sumac onions ingredients.

Onions – This salad is traditionally made with red onions, although you can also use yellow or white onions.

Sumac – Sumac is the key ingredient in this red onion salad.

Parsley – Add fresh parsley for a refreshing taste and a nice hint of green color to the salad.

You can also add mint or cilantro if you do not get your hands on fresh parsley.

Lemon Juice – Use only freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best taste.

EVO Oil and Vinegar – Extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar soften the onions and add a beautiful flavor. The tangy flavor of the red wine vinegar complements the taste of sumac.

Salt and Sugar – Season the Turkish onion salad with salt and sugar to make it even yummier.

If you want to make these marinated onions spicy, add some cayenne or red pepper flakes.

How To Make Sumac Onions

Start by preparing the onions. Peel and wash three large onions. Cut them in half using a sharp knife and then into thin and even slices. If the onions are bitter, slice them and soak them in cold water for 15 minutes. Squeeze to remove excess water, and then use them to make the salad.

Wash the parsley and chop it finely.

Mix 2 cups of sliced onions and 2 tablespoon of chopped parsley in a bowl.

Sliced onions and chopped parsley added to a bowl.

Add the following ingredients to the bowl.

  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon sumac
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
Remaining ingredients added to the bowl.

Massage the salad well using your hands. Massaging the onions with the other ingredients improves the absorption, and the resulting onion salad is flavorful.

Refrigerate the onions for at least one hour before serving to bring the flavors together.

Ready sumac onions.

Pro Tips By Neha

Use a sharp knife to slice onions to minimize the burning of the eyes. You can also soak peeled and halved onions in water before slicing them to reduce the burning of the eyes.

Sumac loses its flavor if kept for a long time. Store it in the refrigerator and use it within 6 months.

Some people also add a little pomegranate molasses to sumac onions. Check out my recipe for Pomegranate Molasses, and use a teaspoon or two in this quick pickle.

The taste of onions mellows down when marinated in oil and acidic ingredients.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I substitute sumac with something else to make sumac onions?

Sumac has a peculiar taste, and tanginess cannot be replicated using anything else. I highly suggest getting yourself a small bottle of this spice. It is not very expensive and is easily available these days.

Can I use white or yellow onions to make sumac onions?

Yes, you can. This salad tastes best with red onions, and that’s how it’s traditionally made, but you can replace red onions with white or yellow onions. Yellow onions have a robust and harsh taste, so you may soak them in cold water for 15 minutes before using them in the recipe.

These 5-minute Sumac Onions are a Turkish-style onion salad or a pickle that adds a nice crunch to anything it's added to. Use this red onion salad in sandwiches, soups, or hamburgers to add a lovely flavor and a nice crunch to them (vegan, gluten-free).
5 from 5 votes

Sumac Onions Recipe (Turkish Onion Salad)

These 5-minute Sumac Onions are a Turkish-style onion salad or a pickle that adds a nice crunch to anything it's added to. Use this red onion salad in sandwiches, soups, or hamburgers to add a lovely flavor and a nice crunch.
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 2 minutes
Total: 4 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups thinly sliced red onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sumac
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
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Instructions 

  • Mix onions and parsley in a bowl.
  • Add extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, sumac, salt, and sugar to the bowl.
  • Massage well using your hands. Massaging the onions with the other ingredients makes the absorption better, and the resulting onion salad is very flavorful.
  • Refrigerate the onions for at least one hour before serving to bring the flavors together.

Notes

Use a sharp knife to slice onions to minimize the burning of the eyes. You can also soak peeled and halved onions in water before slicing them to reduce the burning of the eyes.

Nutrition

Calories: 66kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 197mg, Potassium: 92mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 114IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 15mg, Iron: 1mg
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Recipe Rating




3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Beautiful made this a few times and never fails to impress.

    Well structure and easy to understand and follow.

  2. 5 stars
    Really enjoyed this quick and easy recipe! Made it to go with chicken kebab and it was so good. Thanks!

  3. 5 stars
    Excellent onions for pita sandwiches or hamburgers! Make extra!! I tossed some with cucumbers and tomatoes for a fresh salad.