Take a much needed reprieve from all the heavy holiday eating with a salad you actually want to devour. No sad chopped salads here! Fattoush is typically made up of chopped lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, a bevy of herbs, and a bright, tangy vinaigrette, thanks to the addition of sumac, a Middle Eastern spice. While most fattoush salads opt for romaine, we’re using red butter lettuce in order to avoid any potential romaine recalls. That said, any assortment of greens you have on hand will work.
Another Kind of Bread Salad
Italians aren’t the only ones who have bread salad, aka panzanella. Originally from Lebanon, fattoush is now a staple of many Middle Eastern countries. In the Middle East, cooks typically stud fattoush with fried pieces of khubz, a type of Arabic leavened flatbread. For sake of ease, this recipe relies on toasted pita as a replacement. Roughly torn pita gets doused in olive oil and salt and baked for just under 10 minutes. You can also cut the pita into triangles to make pita chips.
Related Reading: 11 Tuna Salad Recipes Perfect for Your Work Lunch Box
What’s the Deal with Sumac?
While it’s been used in the Middle East for centuries, over the last few years sumac has been become the spice darling of the food world in the states. It seems everywhere you look, sumac is being used: This brick-red spice adds a tart, lemony flavor to a variety of dishes, from marinades and vinaigrettes to dry rubs on meat and fish. You can also sprinkle it atop dishes for a bright color contrast. Sumac is one of the main spices in za’atar, which gives it its distinct tangy flavor. Try sourcing it from Middle Eastern grocery stores, or online, as most traditional supermarkets won’t have it. For more ways to use sumac, check out this recipe for sumac chicken with bread salad and this classic tabbouleh.
Spicy World Sumac, $6.90 on Amazon
This version steers slightly away from tradition with the addition of creamy feta, but it can be left out for those who are purists or dairy-averse.
- 2 pitas, roughly torn
- ¼ cup plus 1½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses, optional
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sumac, plus more to serve
- 1 head red butter lettuce, leaves roughly torn
- 1 Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
- 4 radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- ¼ cup parsley leaves
- ¼ cup mint leaves
- ½ cup feta, crumbled
- Preheat oven to 375˚F.
- Place the pita on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 1½ tablespoons of olive oil and season with ½ teaspoon salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the pita is golden brown and crispy.
- In a glass measuring cup or small bowl add the garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses (if using), 1 teaspoon of salt, black pepper, and sumac, and whisk to combine. Drizzle in ¼ cup of olive oil, whisking to combine, until the vinaigrette is emulsified.
- In a large bowl, add the red butter lettuce, cucumber, radishes, tomatoes, parsley leaves, and mint leaves. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine. Top with the pita chips, crumbled feta, and a dusting of sumac, and serve immediately.
Header image by Alexis deBoschnek.