Marinated Red Onions with Sumac

How would you describe the taste of a raw red onion? Sweet? Sharp? Bitter?

I’ve heard chefs refer to the red onion as being sweet. Sorry chefs, but my palate definitely disagrees. To me, a raw red onion is quite sharp to the point where I only enjoy it if it’s been marinated.

There is one – very simple – red onion recipe that I enjoy so much, I could eat it by the bowlful, but that would be unladylike. Whenever we’re at a Middle Eastern restaurant and the dish I ordered is served with a red onion -sumac condiment, I’m overjoyed!


Marinated Red Onions with Sumac

An easy and versatile red onion condiment.
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings


  • 1 medium red onions cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp Italian flat-leaf parsley coarsely chopped- optional
  • tbsp ground sumac or to taste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • Place sliced onions in a bowl. Pour enough very hot water over the onions to cover. Allow to sit for about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain in a colander. Place onions on paper towels in a single layer; pat to dry. (This step helps to lessen the sharpness of the onion.)
  • Place onions in a mixing bowl.  Toss with remaining ingredients. Taste, and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Allow the onions to sit for about 30 minutes before serving so flavors can blend. Best served at room temperature.


To Serve:
This is a perfect accompaniment  with your favorite kebab dish (chicken, lamb, beef, pork, lule), burger, or grilled meat, poultry or fish.
If meat isn’t your thing, add the marinated red onion-sumac to a salad, cooked potatoes, or a grain dish.

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