Fattoush salad is a Middle East version of a bread salad. Here the bread croutons are made from garlic infused pieces of pita bread, so that guarantees that it will be yummy to start.
This Middle Eastern salad recipe uses zaatar seasoning (or more correctly za’atar) in the dressing. Za’atar is a mix of herbs and spices but the primary ingredient is dried sumac, which gives it a reddish brown color. Sumac isn’t something we use much in North America as a seasoning, even though sumac bushes are common in many areas.
If you love Middle Eastern food you have probably already had za’atar in something, even if you weren’t aware of it. It is a commonly used ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine.
I think you will love this healthy salad recipe. It’s just a bit different with the warm tastes of the Middle East.
- 1 pita bread, or 2
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 8 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1 cucumber, small , thinly sliced
- 3 tomatoes, medium, chopped
- 1 red pepper, medium, chopped
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons parsley, fresh, chopped
- 1 tablespoon mint, fresh , chopped
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup light olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon zaatar, or sweet paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- Combine the olive oil and crushed garlic. Brush each side of the pita bread with the oil blend and place the bread on an oven tray. Toast it in a preheated oven at 325°F for about 15 minutes or until it is crisp. Watch the bread carefully to make sure it doesn't burn. Cool it down, then break it into small pieces. Set the pita croutons aside to garnish the salad.
- While the pita is toasting you can make the salad dressing. For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, oil, garlic and seasonings together in a jar and shake well. Set it aside.
- Combine the lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, red onion and herbs in a bowl. Just before serving, add the drizzle the salad with the dressing until it is well coated. Mix it all well to combine all of those wonderful flavors. Top the salad with the garlic pita croutons.
- If you don’t have za’atar seasoning or can’t find it in your local grocery store, you can substitute sweet paprika but it won’t have the same flavor. It will still be good, but it won’t quite have that distinctive Middle Eastern taste.
- If you want this recipe to be low carb, just leave out the pita croutons.
For the lemon juice, I think fresh is always best. If you haven’t got fresh lemons then certainly use bottled.
I hope you enjoy this mini trip to the Middle East through food.