I have written before about a Turkish onion salad that is versatile, simple to make and is adaptable with different ingredients.
I had occasion to make it last week to top some roasted salmon. Because the salad is so useful and tasty, I doubled the batch, figuring that I would chuck it on a bunch of other dishes throughout the week and save myself prep time later.
It was a strategic and delicious move; the salad did triple duty — first, as planned with the fish, then mixed with chickpeas as a side with a simple dinner of turkey sandwiches and, finally, mixed into a can of tuna for a flavorful and healthy lunch. Talk about bang for the buck!
Turkish Onion Salad
Makes about 2 cups
This version contains a higher proportion of parsley — just a riff that inspired me and because I had a lot of parsley on hand. It also uses yellow onion as opposed to the red in the original because I only had yellow on hand. The red lends more visual pop, but most onions work fine here — just avoid sweet or Vidalia onions because they are too mild to deliver the punch this salad provides.
Another variation I have implemented is to chop, rather than slice, the onions. Since I planned to use it for future dishes, the chopped pieces lent themselves better to the other two salads.
If you don’t have sumac — a citrusy red aromatic spice commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking — you can use a small amount (½ teaspoon) of grated lemon zest or the juice of 1 lemon instead.
2 large onions, sliced
2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
2 large bunches chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons sumac
Place the onion pieces in the colander and toss them well with coarse salt. Place them in the sink and allow them to drain, tossing occasionally. After about 30 minutes, taste the onion; it should be soft and milder than a regular raw onion. The longer you leave it in the salt, the more the onion flavor will mellow, the saltier it will become and the softer the onions will be.
When the onions reach desired the texture and flavor, a minimum of 30 minutes, rinse and drain them. Toss the onions in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Serve as desired.
Chickpea Turkish Onion Salad
This dish made for a lovely, substantial side dish to accompany a rather skimpy dinner of turkey sandwiches. It could easily stand on its own as a light meal, round out a selection of salatim or stand alongside a fish or meat main course.
2 cups Turkish onion salad, see above
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained, or ½ cups cooked and cooled chickpeas
Olive oil, if needed, for texture
Mix the onion salad, along with any “juice” that has accumulated, with the chickpeas. If the mixture seems dry, add a bit of olive oil to coat. Stir, and either serve immediately or refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Chickpea Turkish Onion Tuna Salad
Serves 2-4 depending on portions
The gift that keeps on giving: After the second meal that was improved by this workhorse of a salad, I squeezed out a third. The chickpea salad mixed beautifully with a can of tuna, which I placed on some lightly dressed greens for a healthy and tasty lunch.
2 cups Chickpea Turkish Onion Salad
1 9-ounce can tuna, drained
2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise or olive oil, if needed, for texture
Mix the salad with the tuna; if needed, add mayonnaise or olive oil to ensure that all ingredients are coated and distributed. Serve atop a bed of lightly-dressed greens or on whole-grain bread.