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).
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. The recipe can be easily halved, doubled, or tripled.
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.
Onions – This salad is traditionally made using red onions, although you can also use yellow or white onions.
Sumac – Sumac is the key ingredient in this red onion salad.
Parsley – Add in some fresh parsley for a refreshing taste. It also adds a nice hint of green color to the salad.
You can also add mint or cilantro in case 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 make the onions a bit soft and add a beautiful flavor at the same time. 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 3 large onions and wash them. 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.
- 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
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.
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 this salad. Check out my recipe to make pomegranate molasses at home, 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
Sumac has a peculiar taste and tanginess that 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.
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.
You can serve these sumac onions on the side with falafel, kebabs, grilled meat dishes, egg dishes, etc. You can include it in mezze platters or serve it with hummus and pita bread.
Stuff them inside shawarma, wraps, sandwiches, or hamburgers.
Add some sumac onions to salads, such as fattoush, to enhance the flavors and make your boring salads interesting.
Keep these sumac marinated onions in the refrigerator for up to a week. Their flavor will mellow down every day.
I do not recommend freezing them, as they will become soggy once thawed.
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Sumac Onions Recipe (Turkish Onion Salad)
- 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
- 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.