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How To Make Sumac Onions

Sumac onions is a mixture of marinated onions, the spice called sumac, and chopped parsley. It’s often called ‘sumac onion salad’ or ‘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.

Close-up side view of sumac onions in a bowl.

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, but it also has some antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

This sumac onions recipe is very versatile. Here are a few ways you can customize the recipe and adapt it to your own taste:

  • Skip the parsley and just serve the onions mixed with the other ingredients;
  • Marinate the onions in lemon juice instead of red wine vinegar;
  • If you don’t like the 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.

Top view of sumac onions in a bowl on white background.

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 it with me. (Photo 1.)

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. (Photo 2.)

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. (Photo 3.)

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 red wine vinegar at the end. (Photo 4.)

Step 5.

Drain the vinegar leaving about 1 teaspoon in the bowl. (Photo 5.)

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. (Photo 6.)

Six step-by-step pictures showing how to make sumac onions.

Close-up side view of sumac onions in a bowl.

More Recipe Ideas for the BBQ Season:

How To Make Sumac Onions

How To Make Sumac Onions

Yield: 5 portions
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Learn how to make sumac onions. This popular Middle Eastern condiment will add savory flavors to your meat, fish, wrap, or veggie and grain bowl. A very easy recipe.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Thinly slice the onion and place it into a bowl.
  2. Pour boiling water over the onions making sure they are covered. Soak the onions for about 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the onions and pat them with a paper towel.
  4. 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.
  5. Drain the vinegar leaving about 1 teaspoon in the bowl.
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Place the onions in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving.

Notes

1. The longer you leave the onions 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.

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.

Nutrition Information
Yield 5 portions Serving Size 1/5 of recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 43Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 0.4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2.4gCholesterol 0mgSodium 65.8mgCarbohydrates 4.1gFiber 1.1gSugar 1.5gProtein 0.8g

Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.

Did you make this recipe?

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Mary

Saturday 1st of June 2019

I never cry when chopping onions. The trick? Keep your mouth shut. (Its harder than you think)

Sam

Sunday 5th of May 2019

You should keep a stainless steelspoon in your mouth while you are chopping onions this will stop you from crying very often it works quite well

Bee

Saturday 23rd of February 2019

I wear swimming goggles while cutting onions! I just keep a pair in my kitchen drawer.

Tanya

Saturday 22nd of September 2018

I accidentally found the secret of the no tears onion chopping this evening. I was making my homemade Korean BBQ sauce and started tearing up while chopping. I remembered that stick it in the fridge trick and thought this would be a good time to try it. Buuutttttt, I was impatient and in a hurry. Sooooo I stuck them in th e freezer. My 10 yr old then had 15 million requests while I was trying to get the rest of dinner ready and kinda forgot they were In the freezer till I got to that part of the recipe to add them. Boy did I feel foolish. I rushed to the freezer to get them, and they had only slightly frozen to about the consistency you would freeze meet if you wanted to slice it really thin. Again I was being impatient and decided to try cutting them up anyway. Low and behold perfectly diced onions with NO tears!! I know I'll be doing that from now on.

Maria Ushakova

Monday 24th of September 2018

Hi Tanya! Thanks so much for sharing! This sounds interesting. If freezing them slightly doesn't affect the taste, then it's great.

Ken

Sunday 29th of July 2018

Before chopping onions, start chewing sum gum and continue to chew it till all onions are done. I peel and chop 4kgs onions to make my chutney so I can say it works ;-)

Maria Ushakova

Tuesday 31st of July 2018

4 kgs of onions! Wow! I could never do that. Chewing gum sounds easy enough. I am going to try that :)

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