Sumac roasted potatoes with tahini dipping sauce

These sumac roasted potatoes are a year-round favorite, always the right option for dinner.  Coated in olive oil and warming sumac, they are baked to crispy perfection and served with a creamy tahini dipping sauce. 

Sumac roasted potatoes with tahini dipping sauce

This recipe is directly inspired by one of my favorite places to eat at in Ljubljana, called Abi Falafel. It’s a falafel place run by Abid Shaar, who moved here over 40 years ago, and his family. They make the best falafel ever and it’s usually the one and only thing I get. 

I love reading through the menu: fatayer zaatar, tabbouleh, mezze platter, sumac potatoes, … however I used to only go after the classic falafel. It was filling enough and I don’t like wasting food. But on one super hungry day I just had to try the sumac potatoes too. 

crispy baked potatoes in a baking tray sprinkled with parsley and a glass bowl of tahini sauce

You know I love potatoes, so I have no idea what took me so long to try these in the first place but I finally did. They were just amazing. So much so that I went on the hunt for sumac and started making sumac roasted potatoes at home. Whenever I order falafel now, I always get the potatoes too, even if that means I’m so full I can’t move for a while, ha.

close view of a glass bowl with tahini dipping sauce

What is sumac?

Sumac is a wonderful spice, typically used in Middle Eastern cuisine. It is deep red in color and smells like a very strong lemon. They make it from the dried berries of the sumac flower, which are ground into a coarse powder. According to Wiki, when sumac is made into a spice, they most often use Sicilian sumac.

I judge sumac by its smell. If you stick your nose into a jar of sumac, you should get a strong citrusy and tart whiff straight in the nose. That’s a sign that you’re holding good sumac.

The taste itself is actually rather mild and pleasantly lemony and warming. It lets you add lemon flavor to a dish without using lemon! And I find myself sprinkling sumac on everything, because it’s so, so nice and tasty. 

This spice is the main thing about these sumac roasted potatoes, as the name implies and it really helps me transform a regular roasted potato into something amazing. 

raw potato wedges in a bowl, sprinkled with herbs and lemon
raw potatoes sliced into wedges that are arranged on a baking tray
baked potatoes with lemons and parsley served in a baking dish

Tahini dipping sauce

At Abi Falafel they serve sumac potatoes with a side of tahini sauce, a creamy tangy bit of love. Naturally I have to make my own at home too.

There are quite a few ways to make tahini sauce at home. You can do a very basic tahini-water-salt concoction or you can add a few more things like I do.

Sumac roasted potatoes with tahini dipping sauce

I can’t imagine using tahini without lemon juice, because they are a perfect pair. The rest of the ingredients I add depending on what I’m in the mood for. But I normally like a little bit of garlic powder and ground cumin, with a good amount of salt. You can totally adjust the amounts used to fit your personal taste.

This sauce is something you make as your potatoes are baking. Once baked, what you have in front of you are warm crispy potatoes, slightly sweet and slightly citrusy. And a cold dipping sauce, that’s slightly tangy, just the perfect balancing companion for the potatoes. It’s poetry!

roasted potato wedge dipped into tahini sauce

These sumac roasted potatoes with tahini dipping sauce are absolutely wonderful just as they are. However they also shine when paired with any other roasted vegetable or leafy greens. 

I like to serve them with lemon slices for that extra lemon punch and some chopped parsley, because it adds some color and freshness. And right before serving I sprinkle more sumac all over, for added flavor, because I just love it so much.

Sumac roasted potatoes with tahini dipping sauce
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Sumac roasted potatoes with tahini dipping sauce

Sumac roasted potatoes with tahini dipping sauce

Easy to make with impressive flavor! 

  • Author: Alice
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 40 min
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Side dish
  • Diet: Vegetarian
Scale

Ingredients

Potatoes 

  • 2 pounds (1kg) yellow potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • zest of 1 small organic lemon (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sumac, more for serving 

Tahini dipping sauce 

  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) tahini, more to taste
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, more to taste 

For serving

  • chopped fresh parsley
  • sea salt
  • sliced lemon 

Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Wash and scrub (or peel) potatoes, then slice into wedges. Pat with a towel to dry then transfer to a bowl. 
    2. Toss potatoes with olive oil, lemon zest, salt and sumac. Lay out on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 30 minutes. Give the potatoes a good stir, then increase the temperature to 425°F (220°C) and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are golden brown and crispy. 
    3. As the potatoes bake, make the dipping sauce:
      In a small bowl whisk tahini with water and lemon juice. They won’t come together right away, but as you keep stirring, the tahini and water will blend together into a creamy, smooth sauce. Mix in garlic powder, salt and cumin. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  Keep sauce in the refrigerator until serving time. 
    4. When baked, take potatoes out of the oven and serve on a platter or in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with more sumac, fresh parsley, sea salt (flakey salt works too) and add a few lemon slices. Serve sauce alongside the potatoes, sprinkle with more cumin or sumac prior to serving.

Notes

You can find sumac in well stocked grocery stores, spice shops and on Amazon. 

Recipe first published in November 2017, revised and updated in October 2020.


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4 Comments

  1. I tried the Tahini Sauce with small white potatoes that were peeled then cooked in a pressure cooker. It worked well with them. I also cooked a rutabaga and turnip at the same time and the sauce was equally good with those.

    I added 1/2 tsp sumac into the sauce (since it wasn’t on my potatoes), along with 1/4 tsp paprika and 1/2 tbsp parsley flakes, and 1 tbsp Olive oil.

    Thanks for posting this recipe!

    Posted 1.6.19 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      Wow Frank, that sounds amazing!! And I love paprika + parsley, that’s such a great idea.
      Happy you enjoyed the recipe!

      (Also sorry for replying this late, the comment somehow ended up in the spam folder :S)

      Posted 1.18.19 Reply
  2. Summer Johnson wrote:

    I am making this AGAIN tonight, it has become a dinner staple! So incredibly yummy and easy. Sumac is a pantry must have, such a light, lemony – yet warm profile, it’s good on almost anything. I’m so glad I bought it to make this recipe and discovered a new spice! A+++++ recipe. Worth buying Sumac and Tahini if they aren’t already in your kitchen. You won’t regret the purchases or recipe! Thank you for sharing the yumminess!

    Posted 10.1.20 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      thank you, Summer! so happy to see you like this 🙂
      and agreed 100% sumac is just the best!

      Posted 10.1.20 Reply