Turkish Quinoa Salad (Kisir)

Serves 6

| Prep Time: 10 mins

| Cook Time: 15 mins

| Total Time: 25 mins

You may need: Dried Garlic Powder

Discover The Recipe

Similar to neighboring Lebanon’s Tabbouleh salad, Turkey’s Kisir (‘KUH-suhr’) salad is traditionally made from bulgur wheat, fresh herbs, cucumbers, lemon, and tomatoes. The primary difference is that Kisir is prepared with 2 red ingredients to add red color and an earthy depth: tomato paste and spicy red pepper paste. We’ve altered the authentic recipe to make it easy to buy ingredients from US markets and made it gluten-free by using Quinoa. This Turkish quinoa salad is delicious as-is or make it authentic by subbing in pearl couscous for quinoa.

Sumac is a spice made from the berries of a bush native to the Mediterranean that is popular in Middle Eastern recipes. These tart berries are dried and crushed to produce a crimson powder that provides a lovely tanginess similar to lemon, but with a fruity flair and an overall sweet-sour profile. Our Nutty Sumac spice blend combines the tangy flavors of sumac with the earthy, nutty notes of cumin and sesame, and marries them together with the mild, fruity heat of Aleppo chilis. This blend is so versatile, try it on roasted chicken, potato salad, pan seared shrimp, or as a flavor-packed topping for your hummus!


  • 1 cup white quinoa

  • 2 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tbsp tomato paste

  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tbsp Piquant Post Nutty Sumac spice blend

  • 1 bunch green onions (about 6 stalks), chopped

  • 3 Roma tomatoes, cored and diced

  • 1 cucumber, peeled & seeded

  • 1 cup packed flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped

  • 1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves, chiffonade* (see chef’s notes)

  • 2 tsp salt (optional)

  • juice of 1/2 lemon


Save some time by making a larger batch of quinoa the night before, and saving extra for other recipes.

When cooking the quinoa, use low-salt vegetable or chicken broth instead of water for added flavor.

To chiffonade is a knife technique that finely cuts vegetable leaves like mint or basil. Stack the leaves and thinly slice with a knife to create small shreds. The benefit is that you get tons of flavor while cooking the herbs less, the get the maximum, fresh taste.

Optional ingredients add a little character and flavor but don’t sweat it if you don’t have them.


Place quinoa and 2 cups broth in sauce pan with fitted lid. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to Low to simmer for 10-15 minutes, covered. When the quinoa is fully cooked, fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

Heat a sauté pan on Med then add the tomato paste. Stir the paste around the pan, lightly toasting. Add in Piquant Post Nutty Sumac spice blend, vinegar, salt and olive oil, then whisk until smooth. Turn off heat and stir in green onions while mixture is still hot.

In a large bowl, combine quinoa and tomato-spice mixture. Mix until evenly coated. First, peel some of the cucumber, leaving a striped design with the skin. Cut in half length wise and use a spoon to remove the seeds. Slice cucumber into long ¼” strips, then rotate to cut the strips into a small dice.

Remove core from tomato and dice. Then, add in the cucumber, tomato, mint, parsley, and lemon juice to the quinoa and thoroughly mix. Serve cold or lukewarm in small bowls or over intact lettuce leaves (as a lettuce cup).

Alternatives & Substitutions

  • Substitute any grain for the quinoa such as bulgur, faro, or couscous (regular or pearl/Israeli couscous).

  • Serve as a side dish or a filling for lettuce cups like the traditional Turkish dish, Kisir, that this recipe is based on.

  • For a quick added vegetarian extra protein addition, add in 1 can drained garbanzo beans in step 6. Or, try adding cooked black, navy, or pinto beans.

  • You can use our Nutty Sumac blend in a multitude of other recipes. Since we already include cumin, sesame, and other spices, substitute in our blend for all the recipe’s listed spices.

  • Try making a marinade for Sumac Roasted Chicken.

  • Feel like something easy and exotic? Make this pan-grilled sumac shrimp recipe.

  • Here’s three more vegetarian recipes: sumac chickpea salad, cauliflower & sweet potato salad, and lemon sumac green beans.

  • Don’t forget to leave comments and feedback on your meals and experiments in the comments for others to read.

  • Post pictures of your masterpiece meal on social media and tag us. We repost!

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