Sumac onions is a mixture of marinated onions, the spice called sumac, and chopped parsley. It’s often called ‘sumac onions and parsley salad’, but I wouldn’t say it’s a salad because it has a quite intense flavor and can’t really be eaten as a salad. It’s mostly used as a condiment to add savory flavors to meat, fish, wraps, and grain-veggie bowls.
Ground sumac is a spice popular in Middle Eastern and Mediterranian cooking. It has a mild flavor and doesn’t overpower dishes the way some other strong spices do. Sumac is used in rubs, marinades, soups, salad dressings, or can just be sprinkled on top of a ready dish.
Sumac is not only delicious, it also has some antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
This recipe is very versatile. Here are few ways you can customize the recipe and adapt it to your own taste:
- Skip the parsley and just serve the onions mixed with other ingredients;
- Marinate the onions in lemon juice instead of red wine vinegar;
- If you don’t like acidic taste, don’t marinate the onions and just add a tablespoon of red wine vinegar or lemon juice to the mixture;
- If you like it spicy, add some cayenne pepper to the onions.
How to Make Sumac Onions:
Step 1. Thinly slice the onion and place it into a bowl. I wish I could tell you how to slice it without crying like crazy but, unfortunately, I don’t know the secret. I’ve heard that you should put the onion in the fridge first, wash it under cold water before cutting, and have a really sharp knife. I am sure all of these tips help somewhat but I still can’t cut an onion without running to the bathroom to wash my face at least 3 times. If you know the secret, please share with me.
Step 2. Pour boiling water over the onions making sure they are covered. This step will help to make the onions less strong and soften them a bit. Soak the onions in the hot water for about 10 minutes.
Step 3. Drain the onions and pat them with a paper towel. It’s fine if they are still damp, just remove the excess water.
Step 4. Add 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar to the onions and mix them well. You can also use lemon juice if you don’t have red wine vinegar on hand. Let the onions marinate for 5 to 10 minutes, making sure to stir them a few times. The longer you leave them in the vinegar the more acidic they will taste. If you don’t like them to be acidic, you can skip this step and just add 1 tablespoon of the red wine vinegar at the end.
Step 5. Drain the vinegar leaving about 1 teaspoon in the bowl.
Step 6. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Place the onions in the fridge for about 30 minutes. This will help to cool them down if they are still warm and will also help to combine the flavors.
- 1 large red onion
- hot water
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 3/4 to 1 cup chopped parsley, loosely packed
- 1 Tbsp ground sumac
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- pinch of salt
- Thinly slice the onion and place it into a bowl.
- Pour boiling water over the onions making sure they are covered. Soak the onions for about 10 minutes.
- Drain the onions and pat them with a paper towel.
- Add 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar to the onions and mix them well. Let the onions marinate for 5 to 10 minutes, making sure to stir them a few times.
- Drain the vinegar leaving about 1 teaspoon in the bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Place the onions in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving.
2. The onions taste great the next day, however, the parsley will wilt a bit so if you want to prepare it in advance you can make the onions a day ahead and then add the parsley before serving.