11 Favorite Recipes That Get a Flavor Kick from Sumac

Baharat Chicken and Rice
Photo: Buckwheat Queen

Sumac is a tangy spice that's a staple of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. Made from the coarsely ground berries of a variety of sumac bush, it's used as much for its bright color and presentation as it is for its flavor, which is often described as slightly salty, tart citrus. The bright reddish-purple flakes are also a great garnish to use in places where you might use paprika to liven up the looks of a dish. We love sumac in marinades and rubs, in spice mixes for seasoning roasted and grilled meats. Try sprinkling a pinch of sumac over hummus and creamy dips, salads, side dishes, and fish. Here are some of our favorite recipes that get a flavor kick from sumac.

01 of 12

Bob's Kabobs

ground beef kabobs on wooden skewers over a bed of vegetables
Bob's Kabobs. Chef John

The key to these flavorful kabobs is the spice blend that features Aleppo chile flakes, cinnamon, and sumac. "Most people think of chunks of meat on a skewer when they think of kabobs, but here I'm showing the other ground-meat style of kabob, also known as kofta," says Chef John. "This is definitely something you're going to work into the rotation. Serve with grilled pita bread and a blend of diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions sprinkled with salt and olive oil, all topped with freshly chopped parsley and dried sumac."

02 of 12

Lebanese Fattoush (Bread Salad)

Lebanese Fattoush (Bread Salad)
Christina

This classic Lebanese bread salad combines toasted pita bread, fresh vegetables, mint, parsley, and ground sumac. "This is a fresh and delicious salad originating from Lebanon," says cookie, who submitted the recipe. "The fresh parsley and mint make this salad particularly yummy!"

03 of 12

Baharat Chicken and Rice

Baharat Chicken and Rice
Buckwheat Queen

A complex and intense baharat spice blend — which calls for sumac powder, cardamom pods, and ground loomi (dried lime) — infuses roast chicken and basmati rice with flavor. "I have made this like the combinations from the Gulf region by adding spices like loomi (dried lime)," says Buckwheat Queen. "Keep this spice mix handy to add to soups, too."

04 of 12

Turkish Fish Stew

fish stew with artichokes, olives, lemon served over couscous
SunnyByrd

White fish is flavored with sumac powder, cumin, ginger, and red pepper flakes, then simmered with artichoke hearts, capers, tomatoes, and white wine. "This recipe deserves a love," says Olechka, who rates it 5 stars. "I have made it about 20 times. Became my favorite recipe to prepare fish healthy. Spices and amount are perfectly on point. Mouthwatering." Enjoy over couscous.

05 of 12

Za'atar Pickles

Za'atar Pickles in a jar
Buckwheat Queen

Toasted cardamom and ground sumac add a citrusy finish to these bold "half-sour pickles spiced with harissa and all the traditional components of Turkish za'atar," says Buckwheat Queen. "After 10 days, they will continue to improve with age."

06 of 12

Shish Tawook (Mediterranean Chicken Kabobs)

Shish Tawook (Mediterranean Chicken Kabobs)
Soup Loving Nicole

This recipe for grilled, marinated, Mediterranean-style chicken "was inspired by the Lebanese restaurant for which I used to work," says soulman. "Its flavor is so unique and outside the box and will have everyone trying to guess the ingredients because its flavor is so mouth watering! Goes great with a plain or bland rice pilaf. Also fatoosh or tabbouleh salad goes well with it as a side. You'll need metal skewers or a grilling basket (I prefer the basket)."

07 of 12

Za'atar Fried Chicken

Za'atar Fried Chicken
Soup Loving Nicole

"This recipe is a blend of my Southern roots and my Jewish culture," says Press and Barrel, who submitted the recipe. It's a simple fried chicken recipe made with a flavorful homemade za'atar spice mix.

08 of 12

Kabob Koobideh (Persian Ground Meat Kabobs)

Kabob Koobideh (Persian Ground Meat Kabobs)
Dan Toomey

Ground beef and lamb combine with grated onions, turmeric, and sumac before hitting the grill. "This is one of the most delicious kabob recipes I have ever found," says Nick Perry. "The kabobs are usually grilled over hot coals or any BBQ."

09 of 12

Homemade Za'atar

Homemade Za'atar
Allrecipes

This za'atar spice mix is super easy to make at home. All you'll need are four ingredients: toasted sesame seeds, thyme leaves, sumac, and salt. "While in Lebanon wild thyme is used, regular thyme from the supermarket or your garden makes a fine substitute," says Serena, who submitted the recipe. "Za'atar refers both to the thyme plant itself, as well as this spice mix."

10 of 12

Salat Yirakot

Salat Yirakot
Christina

In this simple chilled Mediterranean salad, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber, red onion, and fresh herbs are dressed up with olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and sumac. "I liked the flavors here," says Christina, "and I really enjoy anything w/ sumac. I will be making this again!"

11 of 12

Iraqi Sumac Salad (Summag Salad)

Iraqi Sumac Salad (Summag Salad)
France C

"The tangy lemon and sumac flavors make this salad super refreshing and perfect for summer," says France C. "One of my favorite lunch spots is a charming little Iraqi restaurant that makes the best food! The first time I tried this salad, I just knew I had to try and recreate it at home."

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