Fattoush salad isn’t just a bowl of chopped salad vegetables, as the heavily seasoned fried pitta croutons take this salad to a new level.
What is a Fattoush Salad?
Fattoush salad is from the Levantine region, home of the tabbouleh. This middle eastern region encompasses Lebanon, Israel, and other countries to Saudi Arabia’s north. However, it sometimes refers to places such as Egypt, Turkey, and Greece.
The ingredients in a Fattoush salad vary but widely include radishes, tomatoes, and green salad vegetables. Most importantly, Fattoush salad includes fried flatbread pieces to season the salad.
Herbs are also fundamental to adding flavour to a Fattoush salad. Here, I’ve used parsley for its ability to add a fresh feel to dishes and mint for a sweetness that works well with the lemon in the dressing.
The other ingredients for the salad include tomatoes, spring onion, cucumber, radish, and cos lettuce. I like to cut the vegetables quite large so they retain their bite and don’t break down when dressed with the Sumac and lemon dressing.
Pitta Croutons for Fattoush Salad
Bread makes this salad what it is. It’s usually fried, but this recipe calls for baking the croutes at 200C. Take care when cutting the croutons not to cut them too small since what makes these croutons special is the crunchy exterior with a soft, chewy interior. This recipe calls for pitta bread because it was used when I first encountered a Fattoush salad. However, any middle eastern bread can be used.
Sumac & Lemon Dressing
To make the simple dressing, place garlic, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and Sumac in a jar and set aside for at least 30 minutes to infuse. This will allow the oil and lemon juice to absorb the garlic flavour without giving the salad an overpowering hit of raw garlic.
In case you’ve never encountered Sumac, it’s a popular middle eastern spice. It comes from the dried berries of the Sumac plant family, which comprises several different species. It has a light lemony flavour and is closely related to cashews. Sumac is often described as wine-coloured owing to its red tint. Its name also derives from the Aramaic word “summaq”, meaning a dark red colour.
For the Pitta Croutes
- 2 Pitta Breads Cut into 2cm Squares.
- Salt to taste
- 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Pinch of Sumac to dust
Sumac & Lemon Dressing
- 1 Garlic Clove Peeled
- Juice from ½ Lemon
- 1 Tsp Sumac
- 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For the Salad
- 500 g Fresh Tomatoes Diced
- 1 Cucumber Diced
- 4 Spring Onions Diced
- 1 Cos Lettuce Chopped
- 25 g Fresh Parsley Chopped
- 20 g Fresh Mint Leaves Chopped
- 5 Radishes Thinly Sliced
- For the Dressing: Place all the ingredients in a jar or screw-top bottle and set aside for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.
- To Make the Pitta Croutes: Preheat the oven to 200C, 180C for a Fan assisted oven, or 400F or Gas 6. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Combine the cubes of pitta with the olive oil, mix well and season well with salt. Lay the croutons in a flat layer along the line baking tray. Bake for 10-12 minutes until crisp.
- For The Salad: Combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl without the radish. Toss with the dressing and half the croutons, then spoon into a serving dish. Top with remaining croutons and sliced radishes.