Fattoush Salad

Even if you don’t know the first thing about Levantine cuisine, fattoush (فتوش) is a universally appreciable hot-weather salad. Okay, Floridians shouldn’t consider 18ºC “hot weather,” but in London the line between local and tourist is blurred as everyone swarms outside with sunglasses, cameras, and picnic gear. Anyhow, it’s May! Time to celebrate with a premature summer salad.

Mint for Fattoush Salad

Particularly popular in Lebanon, fattoush salad is built loosely around seasonal vegetables and herbs, then topped with crispy pita pieces. Fresh mint does its famously cooling thing, radishes contribute a refreshing crunch, and the dressing is pleasantly tangy. It’s usually a combination involving lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, and/or a spice called sumac, which is ground from the fruits of Rhus shrubs. Sumac is a beautiful earthy brick colour with a strong citrusy taste.

Radishes for Fattoush Salad

Radishes for Fattoush Salad

Dainty pink radishes are in season here, but they also mature rapidly for harvesting (in fact, the Greek genus name Raphanus means “quickly appearing”), which makes it a staple in any beginner’s garden allotment. The same goes for peashoots, which I’ve used here in lieu of the more traditionally used purslane. Feel free to substitute and supplement vegetables to taste, season, and locality; lettuce, parsley, feta, sweet peppers, red cabbage, and olives are some common options.

Pea Shoots for Fattoush Salad

Pea Shoots for Fattoush Salad

Fattoush Salad

Fattoush Salad
Serves 2-4

  • 2 t ground sumac, soaked in 2 t warm water
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T pomegranate molasses (optional)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 1 wholemeal pita, toasted in pieces
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 English cucumber, chopped
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • handful purslane / pea shoots
  • handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • handful fresh mint, chopped

Combine sumac with the water, lemon juice, and garlic. Gradually whisk in olive oil, then season with salt to taste.
Bake the pita with some olive oil, salt, and sumac in a 200ºC oven until crisp and golden. Toss the toasted pita pieces in a drizzle of oil to prevent them from getting soggy in the salad bowl.
Combine all prepped vegetables and herbs in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat well. Top with pita and a sprinkle of sumac.

Fattoush-Salad-8

Fattoush Salad

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10 Responses to Fattoush Salad

  1. Sara says:

    Delicious! Just what I’m in the mood for now that the weather is warmer. (PS I think I have those same dishtowels!)

  2. Such a stunning salad. It was so interesting to read about all of the ingredients, I had heard of sumac but didn’t know what it was before this. It sounds wonderful, though, I am going to have to find a middle eastern market nearby so I can get some. And those pea shoots! Did you grow them or were you able to purchase them like that? That is so neat! I’ve never used pea shoots or sprouts of any kind for that matter (sad, I know) but looking at those makes me want to give it a shot :)

    • wandercrush says:

      Thanks Eva! Glad to hear—I can never tell if I’m getting too geeky to keep a general audience interested. Sumac is wonderful! It works in so many recipes since it doesn’t have a strong herby/spicy taste, just nice bright citrus. Some peas just started sprouting in the refrigerator so we put them in a little yogurt lid and let them grow! Extremely low-maintenance, so I imagine it would be a good starting point for your foray into sprout-land.

  3. Very colourful salad. I like when my salad looks pretty. And horseradish is a nice addition.

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  6. Karuna says:

    Thanks a ton for posting this marvellous recipe. Its become a firm family favourite and we made almost every week at home.

    • wandercrush says:

      Ah what a wonderful thing to hear, Karuna! So glad you enjoy it. In fact, thanks for bringing my attention back to it—haven’t made it in far too long and my springtime stomach will be begging for it soon.

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