Fattoush is addictive, and I could make it every day! As an appetizer, it lives up to its name. This salad is freshness, and more! It is a delightful mix of herbaceous greens and colourful vegetables, which you can vary to your liking. The lemony and sweet and sour dressing (must have: sumac, zaatar, pomegranate syrup) is the secret for this deliciousness, and the toasted Lebanese bread on the top is its trademark.
A festive spread cannot lack a rich bowl of fattoush. At home or in a Lebanese restaurant, it will be the first dish you will spot and reach for. During Ramadan fattoush is the first course that greets the palate after a long day of fasting, and set the stage for the rich dishes that come after. The first bite will keep you hooked; It is so crunchy and juicy, it is so fresh and healthy that you might hold the bowl in your hands, longer than you should, keeping everybody waiting patiently for their turn. Eventually, you will pass the fattoush, and regret it!
For fattoush beginners, the dressing could be a bit too sour. But that’s what is good about salads; you can always adjust to your taste buds, and add your own personal touch. I remember when I first wrote the recipe of fattoush for my early cooking classes, I felt silly weighing the vegetables and the herbs. A bunch of parsley, for example, is huge in Lebanon, and tiny in Germany. One red pepper could be 200 g or 400 g, only to name a few obstacles that could have ruined the fattoush experience for my students. With time however, like me, you will get the feel for it; you will start your salad from scratch, ignore your kitchen scale, and end up with a delectable fattoush every time.
Fattoush - Mixed Salad with Sumac and Toasted Pita Bread
- For the vegetables
- 200 g lettuce or iceberg salad rinsed, drained and shredded into 2 cm ribbons
- 75 g lamb’s lettuce Mache or purslane, trimmed, rinsed and drained
- 1 bunch of parsley about 70 g, leaves stripped off, rinsed well, drained and coarsely chopped
- Some fresh mint leaves rinsed, drained and coarsely chopped or 1 teaspoon crushed dried mint
- 150 g spring onions trimmed, rinsed and thinly sliced
- 300 g cocktail tomatoes rinsed and cut into halves
- 200 g cucumber rinsed, peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes
- 150 g green or red pepper rinsed and cut into 2 cm cubes
- 75 g small radish rinsed and thinly sliced
- 100 g Lebanese pita bread cut into small cubes about 2 cm
- For the dressing
- 50 ml lemon juice
- 75 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 2 small garlic cloves crushed
- 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sumac or zaatar
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate syrup
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven (200°C, 400°F). Add the bread to the baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons sunflower oil and mix well with your hands. Spread evenly and bake on middle rack for 5 minutes, until golden in colour. Watch out! Bread can burn easily. Set aside.
- Combine all the dressing's ingredients in a mixing bowl, and mix well until fully combined. Adjust taste if desired. Combine the vegetables in a large serving bowl.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Garnish the top with toasted bread add the vegetables and serve immediately.