Ground sumac is a wonderfully tangy spice used in Middle Eastern recipes. This 4-ingredient sumac vinaigrette is a quick & easy way to enjoy it!
I figured that the tangy bite of sumac would pair beautifully with the other flavors in that dish, and boy did it!
- 🧡 Why we love this recipe
- 📝 Ingredients
- 🔎 What is sumac?
- 👅 What does sumac taste like?
- 📌 Substitutions for ground sumac
- ✅ How to make this recipe
- 🥡 Storage recommendations
- 💡 Other ways to use sumac
- 📖 Recipe
🧡 Why we love this recipe
- It's quick and easy to put together.
- This sumac vinaigrette makes great use of the jar of ground sumac hanging out in the pantry.
- It only requires 4 ingredients.
- The vibrant crimson color adds a nice pop to any green salad.
- It can be made in advance and holds up well in the refrigerator for several days.
Here's everything you need to make this homemade salad dressing (see recipe card below for ingredient amounts and full directions):
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Ground sumac
- Ground cinnamon
- Kosher salt (only if needed - most sumac is already mixed with salt, so be sure to taste!)
🔎 What is sumac?
This recipe uses ground sumac which is available at most specialty spice shops and Middle Eastern markets. It can also sometimes be found at organic/health food markets or grocery stores with a big selection of international foods.
If you don't have any of those options nearby, it's readily available online.
Culinarily speaking sumac is a crimson-colored spice that is made from ground sumac berries. It is not the same thing as the poisonous sumac plant.
Ground sumac is often found in a shaker next to the salt and pepper in Persian restaurants. It's delicious when sprinkled over grilled meat and seafood, kebabs, vegetables, rice, or hummus.
Sumac is a lovely addition to anything you'd like to lightly dust with its tart flavor and deep red hue.
👅 What does sumac taste like?
The flavor of sumac is tart and a little lemony with a slightly astringent flavor. It's a bit sweet, and a bit sour.
Sumac is often mixed with salt, so I recommend leaving out any additional salt in recipes that call for more than a pinch of sumac until you're able to taste it for seasoning.
📌 Substitutions for ground sumac
Sumac is a tricky spice to substitute, but you can get in the ballpark, flavor-wise.
If you don’t have ground sumac, you can omit it and add a little fresh lemon zest and kosher salt, to taste, for seasoning.
Many brands of za'atar also have sumac mixed in, so that's another option. It won't be exact, but it'll be tasty!
💡 Uses for ground sumac
We love sprinkling sumac over lots of things. It's fantastic on top of kebab or your favorite grilled meat. It's also the perfect pop of color on top of homemade hummus or muhammara. It's also a key part of the sumac vinaigrette that I use in my fattoush salad.
✅ How to make this recipe
See recipe card below for full instructions.
🥡 Storage recommendations
This vinaigrette will keep well in a sealed container in the refrigerator for several days.
Because of the oil, it may solidify when chilled. You may need to take it out of the refrigerator to let it warm up a bit before using it again.
You can speed up this process by running some hot water over the container to help re-liquefy any oil that has solidified.
Then just give it a good shake and use it as desired!
I like storing my homemade salad dressing in a mason jar or glass flask in the refrigerator. I also found this salad dressing mixer that seems like it'd be great for things like this that tend to separate when stored.
💡 Other ways to use sumac
Ground sumac is a versatile ingredient! Some of our favorite ways to use it are:
- In a Middle Eastern fattoush salad
- Sprinkled on top of hummus (along with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil)
- As a topping for our favorite broiler kebab sheet pan meal
- Dusted on top of this Instant Pot Persian Beef and Celery Stew (Khoreshe Karafs)
- On beef, lamb, chicken, seafood, or tofu before it hits the grill
- Shaken over the top of salad greens
- As part of a spice rub or marinade for meat or veggies
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Ground sumac is a wonderfully tangy spice used in Middle Eastern recipes. This 4-ingredient vinaigrette is a quick & easy way to enjoy it!
- In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, sumac, and cinnamon. Taste for seasoning and season with salt if desired.
Sumac is often mixed with salt, so I recommend leaving out any additional salt until you taste the final vinaigrette.
If you don't have ground sumac, you can omit it and add a little fresh lemon zest and kosher salt, to taste, for seasoning.
If you find this a bit too sour, feel free to whisk in a little sugar, maple syrup, or rice vinegar to balance it out.
- Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
- Calories: 83
- Sugar: 0.2 g
- Sodium: 19.3 mg
- Fat: 9.4 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 0.8 g
- Fiber: 0.3 g
- Protein: 0.1 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
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