Tomatoes, Sumac Shallots and Pine Nuts

Sumac shallots and pine nuts are sprinkled over seasonal tomatoes

The bounty of heirloom tomatoes is unmatched at this time of the year. I want to savor every large tiger, green and red plum tomatoes as much as I can. The tomatoes, sumac shallots and pine nuts recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi feeds my enthusiasm. Ottolenghi spices up the shallots with sumac and pairs them with the seasonal tomatoes. This is more or less a salad dish; there is no cooking involved. Meanwhile, the sweet juicy flavor of tomatoes plays well with the lemony spicy note of the sumac. On top of that, the pine nuts add the desirable nutty crunch to the salad.

The technique I’m most intrigued in the tomatoes, sumac shallots and pine nuts dish: the construction of the sumac shallots. There is nothing complicated about the process besides adding white-wine vinegar to tablespoonfuls of sumac. Then add it to the shallots and let sit for half an hour for the flavor to develop. It’s that simple.

Hence, I’m pleasantly surprised of the resulting mellow, yet pungent, counterpoint that the sumac shallots impart to the tomatoes. It’s faster than pickling the onions and create another layer of flavor to the alliums. Brilliant!

I’m linking this post to IHCC, where alliums are the featured ingredients of the week.


Sumac, variety of tomatoes and alliums

Tomatoes with Sumac Onions and Pine Nuts

Print Recipe


  • 1 large banana shallot, peeled and sliced into 1mm-thick pinwheels
  • 1½ tbsp sumac
  • 2 tsp white-wine vinegar
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 700g tomatoes – ideally a mixture of large tiger, green and red plum, and red and yellow cherry
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 15g basil leaves, plus a few extra small leaves to garnish
  • 25g pine nuts, toasted



Put the shallot in a small bowl with the sumac, vinegar and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt. Mix together with your hands, so the sumac gets well massaged into the shallots, then leave for 30 minutes, to soften.


Cut the large tomatoes in half lengthways and then into 1-1.5cm wedges and put them in a large bowl. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half lengthways and add to the bowl. Pour in the oil, add the basil, a third of a teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of pepper, and toss gently with your hands to combine.


Arrange the tomatoes on a large platter and spread the shallots over the top. Lift some of the tomatoes and basil so they are visible above the shallots, sprinkle over the pine nuts and baby basil leaves, and serve.


Adapted from Ottlenghi's website.

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  • Reply
    Diane Zwang
    October 13, 2017 at 11:12 am

    What a colorful dish. Sounds wonderful. Heirloom tomatoes so good.

  • Reply
    Kim Tracy
    October 15, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    Another beautiful dish! Ottolenghi taught me many things, the first being that I love sumac and the second being that I love pine nuts (I invested in a large bag that I store in the fridge so I can use them frequently). His buttered and toasted pine nuts are the stuff of dreams.


    • Reply
      October 16, 2017 at 9:43 am

      Me too, Kim. I keep a big bag of pine nuts in the freezer so that I have almost unlimited supply whenever I need them.

  • Reply
    Deb in Hawaii
    October 16, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    I love how bright and colorful this salad is. Ottolenghi definitely got me on the sumac band wagon–I love it on so many things. 😉

  • Reply
    October 18, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    So bright and flavorful! I will definitely give the onions a try. I actually have some sumac in the pantry!

  • Reply
    October 19, 2017 at 11:11 am

    This salad spells out Ottolenghi! I love sumac. And I must try his technique of infusing the onions with it! Pine nuts is one of my favourite, but it is one of the most expensive nuts over here!

    • Reply
      October 20, 2017 at 8:42 am

      I buy a big bag, which is cheaper, and keep them in the freezer. Toast them when I need them. They last for quite a while!

    We're open to your comments and suggestions!