This fattoush salad recipe is made with a delicious mix of seasonal vegetables and herbs, crispy toasted za’atar spiced tortilla or pita chips and a simple, bright lemon dressing. This classic Middle Eastern salad is made with cucumber, tomatoes, radishes, spring onion and lots of parsley and mint, which makes it especially delicious this time of year. And to give it that a la Elle twist, rather than plain fried pita chips, this recipe is made with za’atar, which jazzes things up a little.
What is Fattoush?
Fattoush is essentially a “bread salad,” said to have originated in Northern Lebanon. However it is also popular in Syrian, and Palestinian kitchens and is an ideal way to use up day-old flatbread such as pita. It’s also referred to as “peasants salad” as farmers would fry stale leftover pita scraps (or fatteh, which means “crumbs” in Arabic) in a bit of olive oil to give them some extra flavor and crunch. And to build their “fattoush” salad, they would simply toss the pita chips together with whatever in-season vegetables and herbs they had on hand. And thus, recipes vary greatly. Nonetheless one thing is in common, and that is the fried (or in this case baked) flat bread.
As tradition be, this salad is meant to be made with whatever leftover produce (or bread) you have on hand. Of course, for the best Fattoush salad, you’ll want to start by selecting the best and freshest produce you can find (sweet ripe tomatoes, super fresh herbs). Here are a few example, of how you could adapt this Fattoush salad recipe:
Serve it over a bed of greens, such as Romaine lettuce, as it holds up nicely with the other vegetables.
- Add some diced red bell pepper or julienned carrot.
- Add more herbs or minced garlic.
- Trade out green onion for red onion. And if you want to tone down it’s flavour, then simple rinse or soak the onion in water, then part dry with a clean dish towel before adding to the salad. Or try adding chives!
- In addition to lemon, add a drizzle of pomegranate molasses or garnish with pomegranate seeds.
- Add some plant based protein from chickpeas.
- Give it sprinkle of sumac, the citrusy, tangy spice for extra lemony flavor.
- Go the classic route, and rather than using za’atar, simply bake or fry pita bread triangles with olive oil and sea salt until crispy.
And if you are looking to serve it as part of a mezze, this salad is also good eaten with hummus or Baba Ghanoush and some more hot pita bread or za’atar tortilla chips. It also tastes fantastic with grilled fish or poultry.
If you like this recipe you might also like:
Try one of these Middle Eastern inspired recipes:
- Chicken Shawarma
- Grilled Lamb Kofta with Herb-Yoghurt Dip
- Vegan Egyptian Eggplant Moussaka (Mesaka’a)
- Roasted Carrots with Harissa, Butter Beans and Yoghurt Sauce
- Moroccan Cauliflower and Lentils with Yoghurt Dressing
Fattoush Salad (Lebanese Bread Salad)
- 200 g pita breads or 3 whole wheat tortillas (25 cm), cut into 8 equal wedges
- Olive oil, as needed
- Za’atar, to taste
- half a large salad cucumber (250 g) peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1-2cm dice
- 350 g cherry or mini roma tomatoes, halved
- 1 handful radishes (6-8), thinly sliced
- 3 green onions thinly sliced
- 2 generous handfuls flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 2 handfuls of mint leaves, finely chopped (about 3-4 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil,
- Juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
To prepare the toasted pita/tortilla:
Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C (180°C fan-assisted) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spread the pita or tortilla triangles in an single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat both sides of tortilla with olive oil, then sprinkle za’atar. Toast in the hot oven until light golden brown and crisp 6-8 minutes, rotating pans front to back halfway through (and positions, top to bottom, if baking more than one batch at a time). NOTE: be sure to watch the them carefully the last 2 minutes, as they can go from lightly brown to burnt very quickly.
Remove from the oven and set aside (without overlapping the triangles) to cool fully to room temperature. The chips will get crisper as they cool.
Once cool, break up the toasted tortilla/pita into small chunks.
To assemble the salad:
In a large shallow serving bowl, add the cucumber, tomato, radishes, onion, herbs, oil, lemon juice and seasoning. Toss until well incorporated. Add the toasted tortilla/pita chunks and toss until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning, as desired.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
- For pita bread you may need to cook them for 10 minutes and then split the two sides, break them into pieces and put them back into the oven for another couple of minutes to get them sufficiently crunchy.
- For detailed tips and pictures on preparing the tortilla chips, check out my post for: Tortilla Chips selber machen
- If preparing ahead, then I suggest adding the toasted tortilla/pita directly before serving, so that it doesn’t get soggy.
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