As summer's vegetable bounty winds down, I was thinking of ways to use up huge garden tomatoes and loaves of leftover pita bread. I reverted to my Lebanese roots and decided to make a traditional green salad called fattoush (pronounced fuh-toosh).
Don't be intimidated by the name—it could not be an easier salad to make that adds pizzazz to a meal of plain grilled chicken or steak. The core ingredients of fattoush are simple, but what adds the Lebanese touch is sumac—a light lemony and peppery spice—tossed with olive oil and toasted pita chips.
Because sumac can be a little pricey on its own, I decided to use a common (less expensive) Middle Eastern spice blend called za'atar, which contains a mix of sumac, salt, sesame seeds, and other dried herbs. The combination makes for a zesty, but not spicy, flavor. Here's how to make this seemingly basic salad stand out.
- Prep Time:20 mins
- Cook Time:0
- Total Time:20 mins
- 2 loaves pita bread broken up or 1 cup plain store-bought pita chips
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh lemon juice
- Za'atar spice blend
- 2 heads romaine lettuce chopped
- 2 medium Roma tomatoes diced
- 2 English cucumbers chopped
- 3 green onions chopped
- 1 cup fresh parsley leaves minced
Combine the chopped lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, and parsley in a large mixing bowl.
To make the chips, toast the loaves whole. Once cool enough to handle but warm enough that the oil will stick, tear up the bread into bite-size pieces and lay them on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle EVOO to evenly coat them and immediately sprinkle with the za'atar.
(If you're using store-bought chips, just warm them in your toaster oven so the oil and spices will adhere.) The finished product should look something like this.
#SpoonTip: These chips are perfect to munch on by themselves instead of potato chips.
For the easiest dressing ever, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and a little more za'atar in a small bowl.
#SpoonTip: If you can't find za'atar in your grocer's spice aisle or don't have access to a specialty Middle Eastern food store, don't sweat it. Try mixing finely grated lemon zest, dried oregano, salt, and toasted sesame seeds for a similar flavor.
Pour the dressing over your veggies, pile on your zesty chips, mix and serve chilled.