As you may or may not know from reading (or not reading) this blog on a regular basis, I'm kind of a salad downer.
I'm certainly not one of those people who is like, "Ew, vegetables!" (Obviously it's not — this entire site revolves around healthy food and I will happily eat any vegetable except raw celeryyyyuuuughhh.)
Sure, I eat plenty of salads, but I tend to be sort of meh on most of them. Some notable exceptions include this cucumber-tomato salad that I eat literally every day in the summer when my in-laws' garden is out of control. Or this 5-ingredient massaged kale salad that I like to make for parties. Or this tasty roasted beet salad.
My latest exception is fattoush, a Middle Eastern bread salad that's popular in Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
Fattoush is THE BEST. Not exaggerating. It might truly be my favorite salad.
My friend Lara introduced me to this wizardry (and Hashweh!) while we were on a ski weekend in Aspen and has generously allowed me to share the secrets with you here. It's a throw-together situation (as most salads are), so if you have slightly more or less of certain vegetable or herbs, don't worry about it one bit. The most important thing to get your dressing ratio down (three parts olive oil to one part lemon juice).
The pita is a bit of a main ingredient, like the pan in panzanella. However, you can easily leave the pita chips out and make it paleo, gluten-free and Whole30-approved. Trust me, it'll still taste brilliant.
vegetarian, vegan (paleo, whole30-friendly and gluten-free with ommissions) | serves ~8
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced finely
- ~2 T sumac, to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 cups romaine, shredded
- 3 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
- 3 cups Persian cucumbers, diced
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped (~1 bunch)
- 1 cup fresh mint, chopped (~1 bunch)
- 4 green onions, finely sliced
- a couple of handfuls of pita chips (or toast up some discounted day-old pita bread)
- Put all the dressing ingredients together in a bowl and whisk until combined (it'll emulsify).
- Let it hang out while you chop the vegetables to give the garlic time to impart its garlickyness to the dressing.
- Put all the salad into a very large bowl.
- Give the dressing another quick whisk to make sure it hasn't separated. Pour over the salad and toss thoroughly.
- Serve with literally anything, but especially this Paleo Hashweh (Lebanese Dirty Rice).
- Sumac is a tart, bright red spice that kind of mimics citrus. It's available at Middle Eastern markets or you can find it online here. It's used in a lot of Iranian recipes too. I put it on so much stuff!
- I don't often create recipes that serve eight people, but this is a great one to bring to a party. You can easily cut the recipe down if you don't need to feed a crowd.
- The dressed salad keeps surprisingly well overnight, but the pita chips will get soggy (but I still ate them). Best to follow the general rule of salad-making, which is to only dress what you plan to eat right away.
- Leave the pita chips out for a paleo, gluten-free and Whole30-compliant option.