Sumac Onions (For an Added Zing)

Sumac Onions

Sumac onions add the finishing touch to so many dishes, especially meat and chicken cooked on the grill.

A must as an accompaniment to many of the street food sandwiches in the Middle East.

Onions and sumac are very common flavor palates in the countries of the Levant.

The sumac adds a lemony, tangy taste, while the onion provides the strong almost spicy flavor.

What are Sumac Onions?

Sumac Onions

There are a couple of different versions of sumac onions, one cooked and one that utilizes raw onions.

This recipe is the raw version that is somewhat like a sumac onion salad, with either sliced red onions or yellow onions.

The difference in onions comes down purely to taste, and aesthetics, but most onions can be used with good effect. 

Thinly sliced onions with chopped parsley, lemon juice with a generous measure of sumac makes this recipe.

Many Middle Eastern recipes have slight variations depending on region or innovation.

Some people add olive oil to their sumac onion recipe, others marinated onions, or have a quick pickle process.

Pickled onions add a lot to this recipe if fermented flavors are something you enjoy.

How to Make

Sumac Onions

Thinly slice onions into half moon shapes.

If you are not a big fan of strong onion flavor, then you can soak the onions in cold water for 30 minutes.

This will take the edge off an overly strong onion taste that can overwhelm the desired delicate balance of flavor.

Then after soaking, pat the onions dry using a paper towel, and place in a large bowl.

Add the parsley, sumac, lemon juice and vinegar, and then stir to combine.

Benefits of Including in Your Diet

Onions are packed full of antioxidants that help reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol and reduce risks of heart disease.

And cancer prevention has been credited to the consumption of onions, as well as being good for skin and hair.

Sumac has lots of additional antioxidants that also protect cell damage in the human body.

This amazing herb has all kinds of great benefits like helping with blood sugar control.

What to Eat With Sumac Onions

Sumac Onions

This is a very versatile salad that can be eaten with many different types of food.

One of my favorites is to mix it into rice and make a sort of rice and onion salad.

Mix this onion mixture into mashed potatoes and serve alongside roast lamb or beef.

Added to a sandwich alongside lettuce and tomato is a very common use in the Middle East.

These onions go really well as a bed on a platter of gyros, kafta, shish kebab or shish tawook.

For a couple of fusion dishes, I like to add these sumac onions to my potato salad, or coleslaw at my picnics.

This salad is a lovely addition to meatloaf, hamburgers and even as a relish for your hot dogs on those hot summer days.

Sumac Onions Recipe

Sumac onions are a very common flavor combination in the Middle East.
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: Onions
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 52kcal


  • 2 Onions half moon shapes
  • ½ bunch Parsley
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Sumac
  • 1-2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1-2 tbsp Vinegar


  • Chop the onions into half moon shapes and place into a bowl.
  • Finely chop the parsley and add to the onions.
  • Add the salt and sumac.
  • Add the lemon juice.
  • Add the vinegar, then mix well and serve.



Calories: 52kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 594mg | Potassium: 248mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1203IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg

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