Fattoush is a delicious rustic Lebanese bread salad which is popular throughout the Middle East. Unlike the finely diced Lebanese salad Tabbouleh, Fattoush is made up of chunky vegetables and a delicious tangy dressing punctuated with sumac.
Sumac is actually the magic ingredient in this salad. It is what gives it that addictive super-savory kick which you can’t quite put your finger on. Sumac powder can be anything from red to dark purple, and can be stored in an air-tight container for several months. Depending on where you live, you will either be able to find it in your supermarket or in a specialist ethnic market, but it is inexpensive and well worth keeping a stash.
[TIP: Fattoush should really be eaten soon after it has been prepared because the dressing can make the lettuce and pita pieces soggy if it sits too long. You can omit the lettuce and keep the pita pieces on the side if you want to give your Fattoush a bit of extra shelf-life in your refrigerator.]
(Serves 4-6 as a side salad)
1 large or 2 small pita breads, sliced open in half (flatwise)
1 small or half a large cucumber, cut into large chunks
3 ripe tomatoes, cut into large chunks
1 green pepper, cut into large chunks
4-6 spring onions/scallions, sliced thinly
2-3 Tbsp (or half a handful) of fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
4-5 Tbsp (or a handful) of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
50-100g/2-3oz lettuce, roughly chopped (optional)
4 Tbsp/60ml extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon (around 3 Tbsp)
1 garlic clove, crushed/grated/finely diced
1 Tbsp ground sumac powder
1/4 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C and place your oven rack in the center. Slice the pita bread all along the edges so that you have two flat pieces.
- Place the bread on a baking tray and once the oven is hot, bake it for 5 minutes on one side and then flip it over and bake for another 5 minutes on the other side. The bread should be crisp and lightly brown. If not, give it a few more minutes in the oven. Let the bread cool before breaking it into pieces with your hands.
- While the bread is cooking, prepare your dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shaking. Keep it to the side while you prepare the salad.
- Since this is a rustic Lebanese salad, cut all the salad vegetables into chunky pieces (except for the scallions/spring onions, which should be sliced thinly).
- Combine all the salad vegetables in a bowl.
- If you are not serving straight away, keep the salad and the dressing separate in the refrigerator, and the toasted pita pieces in an air-tight container at room temperature.
- When you are ready to serve, add only as much dressing as necessary (you may not need to use all the dressing) and toss the salad well.
- Sprinkle the toasted pita pieces on top and eat the same day.
- TIP: You can omit the lettuce and keep the pita pieces on the side if you want to give your dressed Fattoush a bit of extra shelf-life in your refrigerator.