Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sauteed Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Mint, and Sumac (and Ideas for Using Sumac)

If you haven't tried Sumac, get some soon and then make this Sauteed Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Mint, and Sumac! This salad is vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and delicious!

Sauteed Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Mint, and Sumac found on

When you read Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Mint, and Sumac, I'm hoping it's the word Sumac that jumps out at you.  If you're not familiar with it, Sumac is a middle eastern spice made from the dried berry-like fruit of some species of the Sumac plant.  (Don't confuse it with the invasive Sumac that grows wild in some places and causes a skin reaction similar to poison ivy; this is a different variety of Sumac.)

I had known about Sumac for years, but when a reader sent me a great recipe for Fattoush a few years ago I learned the trick of mixing Sumac into the dressing for a flavor boost that's really delightful, and I've been using it that way ever since. Then I went to Istanbul and met Zerrin, and she gave me some wonderfully fresh Sumac from Turkey. And when I read that Sumac is one of the ten most popular spices used in Turkish Cuisine, and I knew I had to update the photos for this recipe so I could encourage you to use more Sumac in your kitchen!

This recipe was inspired by a Spanish Chickpea Salad I found on The Taste Space, and to me the recipe seemed like it was meant to have Sumac which I used it to spice up the chickpeas and the dressing. When I updated the photos I also left out the capers to let Sumac be the starring flavor, but you can definitely use them if you prefer. Of course you can certainly make the salad without Sumac, but I highly recommend getting some if you don't have it on hand. (You can buy Sumac online from The Spice House or buy Sumac at if you can't find it in your town.)

Of course this vegan Sauteed Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Mint, and Sumac is this week's suggestion for an easy and tasty Meatless Monday dinner for a hot summer day. (You can find more meatless recipes by using the photo-index category for Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index.)

Sauteed Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Mint, and Sumac found on
Saute the rinsed and drained chickpeas in olive oil, with a teaspoon of Sumac stirred in. Whisk together the dressing and when the chickpeas are nicely browned, put them in a bowl, pour dressing over, and let them marinate in the dressing while you prep other ingredients.  

Chop up the drained red peppers and mint and slice the green onion (or chop red onion). When chickpeas are cooled to room temperature, mix in the red pepper, mint, and green onion and season salad with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve.

Sauteed Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Mint, and Sumac found on
This salad can be refrigerated before you serve it, and it will keep for a day or two in the fridge, although I like it best when it's freshly made.

Original photo Sauteed Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Mint, and Sumac found on
And just for fun, here's the not-horrible but also not-great photo of this salad from 2011!

Sauteed Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Mint, and Sumac found on
Sauteed Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Mint, and Sumac
(Makes about 6 servings; recipe adapted from Spanish Chickpea Salad at The Taste Space.)

2 cans chickpeas (15.5 oz. can, or use about 4 cups freshly cooked chickpeas)
1 T olive oil
1 tsp. ground Sumac
(or could substitute Za'atar if you have that but not Sumac)
12 oz. jar roasted red bell peppers, drained
(or use 3 red peppers and roast them yourself)
1/2 - 1 cup chopped fresh mint (more or less, to taste)
3 T chopped red onion or sliced green onions
3 T capers (optional, I left them out when I updated the photos)

Dressing Ingredients:
2 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. ground Sumac
(or could substitute Za'atar if you have that but not Sumac)
1 tsp. dried mint (optional but good)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. finely minced garlic
3 T extra-virgin olive oil

Put chickpeas into a colander placed in the sink and rinse with cold water until no more foam appears.  Let chickpeas drain well, or pat dry with a paper towel if you want to speed it up a bit.  Heat 1 T olive oil in a large frying pan, add drained chickpeas, sprinkle with 1 tsp. ground Sumac, and saute chickpeas until they are lightly browned.  This will take about 10 minutes, turning the chickpeas several times so they get browned on all sides.  

While chickpeas are cooking, put roasted red peppers into a colander and let them drain well. Whisk together the lemon juice, ground Sumac, dried mint (If using), salt, finely minced garlic, and olive oil to make the dressing.

When chickpeas are nicely browned, put then in a bowl and combine with about half the dressing. Let the chickpeas marinate while you prep the other ingredients.

Wash mint, spin dry or dry with paper towels, and chop. When red peppers are well drained, chop them into small bite-sized pieces. Thinly slice the green onion.

When chickpeas have cooled to almost room temperature, combine them with the diced roasted red pepper, chopped mint, and capers in a medium-sized salad bowl.  Stir in enough dressing to lightly moisten all ingredients.  The salad can be served immediately, or it can marinate all day or even overnight in the fridge.

South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Everything in this salad is a low-glycemic ingredient that would be approved for the South Beach Diet.  However, dried beans are limited to 1/3 - 1/2 cup serving for Phase One and I would definitely serve this as a side dish salad if you're actively trying to lose weight. I think this would be great with something like Very Greek Grilled Chicken or Greek Seasoned Grilled Pork Chops for a phase one dinner, or serve it with something like Spicy Grilled Eggplant for a vegetarian meal.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

Ten More Tasty Recipe Ideas for Using Sumac:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Ottolenghi's Fried Beans with Sorrel, Feta, and Sumac from David Lebovitz

Fattoush (Lebanese "Crumbled Bread" Salad) from Kalyn's Kitchen

Lebanese Sumac Chicken from Apple Pie, Patis, and Pate

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Feta and Sumac from Kalyn's Kitchen

Sumac-Dusted Oven Fries from The Kitchn

Garbanzo Bean (Chickpea) Soup with Garlic, Sumac, Olive Oil, and Lemon from Kalyn's Kitchen

Green Beans, Tomatoes, and Almonds with Sumac from eCurry

Mediterranean Lettuce Salad with Purslane and Sumac-Lemon Vinaigrette from Kalyn's Kitchen

Lentil Soup with Sumac and Lemon from Opera Girl Cooks

Black-Eyed Pea Hummus with Olive Oil and Sumac from Kalyn's Kitchen

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

Blogger Disclosures:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

I do know the owner of The Spice House, but they aren't compensating me in any way for mentioning them, I just love their products!
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More to Chew On:


  1. Kalyn, is this the recipe for the side you showed with the grilled mahi mahi a few days ago? It looks similar, and I've been looking forward to finding out what that was because it looked so good!

    I've also found sumac at Penzeys, in case people are looking for additional sources.

  2. Julie, you are pretty sharp! Yes, I served this on the side with Grilled Mahi Mahi with Lemon and Capers. Thanks for the reminder to go there and add a link, because someone else asked about it.

    And thanks for the reminder about Penzeys too. Did you know that the owner of The Spice House and Penzeys are brother and sister? I haven't met Bill Penzeys, but I met Patricia Penzey Ord at the store and she talked to me again at IAC in Austin.

  3. I've never cooked with sumac. I will have to check it out. I understand it's got such an ancient history. I'm a fan of anything with chick peas.

  4. T.W., I am just crazy about Sumac. If you're had Za'atar, it's the main ingredient in that. I bet you'd love it.

  5. I recently purchased both Sumac, and Za'atar, but had not used either one yet. Problem solved, as I love anything chickpea, so thanks for the motivation.

  6. Next time I'm at Penzey's I'll have to pick up some sumac. I do have zaatar, but am curious about sumac. This salad sounds like it would be really good served warm or room temperature.

  7. Jeanette, I do think this would be good slightly warm. You will love Sumac, I promise!

  8. I don't know why some comments take so long to come to my e-mail, but truly I am not ignoring people! Eggplant43, glad I can inspire you to try them.

  9. These look so delicious- I am a huge fan of chic peas and always looking for new ways to cook them!


  10. I bought some sumac earlier this year and haven't done very much with it! I still need to make your sweet potato hummus with it, but when I do, this dish is coming along for the ride!

  11. oh my... Stunning photos, great recipe and I am just pondering doubling up, serving the side dish and then simply whipping things in a blender till you have a dip!

    Pass the pita bread

  12. Thanks for the shout-out! Glad you enjoyed it and I like your twist. :)

    This is a great dish and will definitely have to try it with sumac. If you don't have sumac, though, this is still a great dish.

  13. Joanne, I'm positive you'll become a Sumac fan when you try it!

    Dave, I think that's a great idea.

    Janet, I have no doubt. And I love your blog!

  14. I love chickpeas and this salad is loaded with flavor. Great recipe Kalyn!

  15. Sumac has such a great flavor--so tart and refreshing. Great recipe, Kalyn!

  16. Maria, me too. I can't figure out why some people don't really like them!

    Thanks Judith. I am crazy over Sumac!!

  17. Lovely combination Kalyn. In the past I always used dried chick peas and went through the process of soaking and cooking. Resulting in we ate less chickpeas as it needed planning ahead. (something I'm not good at;) Following your lead and using canned chickpeas we eat them more often.

    I has sumac in my pantry when we lived in NZ but haven't bought any here yet. You have reminded me to look for it now.

  18. Barbara, I do agree that the ones you cook yourself are a tiny bit better, but as you said, it's so hard to plan that far ahead. Fun hearing that Sumac really is used all over the world!

  19. What do you mean with caper juice? I will use bottled capers. Do you mean the liquid from the bottle or actual caper juice?

  20. Karen, yes I mean the brine from the bottle of capers. Good catch though, I will edit to make it more clear. Thanks!

  21. I know what I'm packing for lunch in a few days! Although I'm not vegan just vegetarian, I love making completely veggie meals. It's affordable and yummy. Nice work.

  22. Hillary, I loved it. I'm not a vegetarian, but I am trying to eat a lot more meatless meals these days.

  23. I love chickpeas and this salad sounds like it would be a great side dish! Definitely going to have to find some sumac spice =)

  24. Peggy, I am craaaaazy about Sumac. If you like lemon you'll love it.

  25. I certainly noticed the sumac, but was most intrigued by the sauteed part - what a great way to prepare a chickpea salad!

  26. Cara, I do think sauteeing the chickpeas really bumped up the flavor!

  27. Sumac is definitely one of my favorite spices! I love it in salads like this!

  28. Thanks Joanne! Sumac is so nice and tart, love it!

  29. Love your new photos and the addition of sumac. :)

  30. This sounds so delicious! And I do indeed have a lot of sumac in my spice collection, just waiting to be made into plenty of salad. :) Yay!

  31. Love the updated photos (and love sumac, too)!


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