This glorious Lebanese fattoush salad is a staple of Lebanese salads and it plays a central part in Middle Eastern cuisine! Complete with pan fried pita chips, this Mediterranean chopped salad is topped with homemade Mediterranean salad dressing of olive oil, lemon, mint and other traditional Lebanese spices.
Traditional Lebanese and Middle Eastern food is full of fresh ingredients and fresh vegetables. This classic Mediterranean chopped salad is no different! Growing up in a Lebanese home, for holidays we would always have a spread of Lebanese food. Besides fattoush salad, another popular recipe at most of those meals was Tabbouleh, which is a parsley salad made with cracked wheat or bulgar and a Lebanese salad dressing.
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I love Mediterranean food because it prides itself in being fresh! And along with fresh ingredients, whole grains and heart healthy oils comes healthy eating! Lebanese food is healthy and the Mediterranean Diet has been labeled as one of the healthiest!
What is Fattoush? A classic Arabic salad
Fattoush (also spelled Fatoosh), along with Tabbouleh is a classic Arabic salad. The difference between the two Lebanese salads is the grain that is used. Instead of using cracked wheat like tabbouleh does, I make fattoush using thin pita bread and lightly pan fry it in olive oil to be a type of crouton.
Fattoush is basically the Middle Eastern salad version of a panzanella salad. This has become one of my favorite Mediterranean salads because it is so crisp and full of flavor. Also, making pita chips at home really makes this dish stand out!
What are the ingredients for this Lebanese Fattoush salad recipe?
The ingredients for Lebanese Fattoush are:
- Head Iceberg Lettuce (or head romaine lettuce)
- Green Onions (aka scallions)
- Homemade Fried Pita Chips
- Lemon Juice
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Ground Sumac
- Garlic Powder
- Black Pepper
- Dried Mint leaf, or fresh mint
How to Make Mediterranean Chopped Salad
Wash all of your fresh ingredients before chopping. One thing that is very important is how to wash and prepare the parsley! You MUST soak your parsley in a large bowl of water for several minutes in order to get the dirt and sand off.
YES, SAND! Parsley is usually grown in sandy soil and there still may be bits of sand stuck to it. If you do not clean it properly you may have a gritty salad, and you don’t want that happening!
Do yourself a favor and get a salad spinner! It will make life much easier! After washing the ingredients, place them in the salad spinner and give it a good fast spin. This will remove all of the excess water from the salad ingredients. I highly recommend using this Cuisinart Salad Spinner. Check it out!
Chop the parsley, green onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce into bite sized pieces and put them into a large salad bowl. I tend to chop my parsley finer than the rest of the ingredients.
This colorful salad deserves a beautiful serving bowl. Check out these amazing wooden salad bowls from Etsy! Perfect for serving and entertaining!
Making Fried Pita Chips
First we need to talk pita bread. Normal, traditional Lebanese pita bread is thinner than pita bread that you find at your chain grocery store. I recommend a THIN pita bread for this recipe. The bread that I buy is a very thin pita bread loaf that is about 14 inches in diameter.
Some people use oven toasted pita rather than frying it, however this can leave the pita to be chewy. I find it best to lightly fry it.
Cut the bread into small bite sized triangles, it’s ok if it falls apart and if the layer separate. You will want about 2 cups of pita pieces.
Heat 3 Tbls of light olive oil in a non-stick pan. Lightly fry the pita chips, about 7-8 pieces at a time in the oil, for 30 seconds on each side or until it browns and gets a golden color.
Remove the pita chips onto a paper towel to drain and lightly salt the fresh fried pita chips.
Can I use store bought pita chips for this chopped Mediterranean salad?
I am going to say flat out “NO!!!!!“! Store bought pita chips are thick and WAY TOO HARD AND CRUNCHY! Homemade pita chips is the way to go in this salad. I am begging you on my knees to please make your own!
For the Mediterranean Dressing
Making fattoush dressing is rather easy! Squeeze the lemon into a small dish, making sure to strain out the seeds. Add all of the spices to the lemon juice. Pour the spices and lemon juice over the salad, giving it a few tosses.
Always add the lemon juice BEFORE the olive oil!
What is sumac?
Let me talk about sumac for a moment. Sumac is a Middle Eastern spice that has a tart flavor. It is optional in this salad, however sumac is a common ingredient especially in Middle Eastern salad dressing.
After the lemon juice is tossed into the salad, add the olive oil and toss again. ALWAYS toss the salad in the lemon juice BEFORE adding the olive oil, otherwise the spices and flavor will not incorporate into the salad.
I like to add the pita chips to the top of the salad and serve it that way so they don’t get soggy. Although you can give it a toss with the pita chips if you want. Just make sure to serve it right away!! Enjoy this tasty and BEAUTIFUL Mediterranean salad!
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Lebanese Fattoush Salad Recipe- Mediterranean Chopped Salad
- 2 bunches Parsley
- 8 Scallions
- 1 head Lettuce Iceberg or Romaine
- 3-4 small tomatoes or 20 cherry tomatoes
- 1 cucumber
- 2 cups pita bread cut into bite sized pieces
- ¼ cup light olive oil for frying
For the Fattoush Dressing
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 tbsp dried mint leaf or 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves cut up
- 1 teas garlic powder
- 1 teas salt
- ½ teas ground sumac optional
- ½ teas black pepper
- ⅓ cup olive oil extra virgin
- Wash, prepare and chop the parsley, green onions, lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes and add them to a large salad bowl
- Cut the pita bread (see post about pita bread, it must be thin) into bite sized pieces. Heat a pan with several tablespoons of olive oil and fry the pita pieces about 6-7 at a time for 30 seconds on each side until golden brown.
- Remove the fried pita chips and let drain on a paper towel. Lightly salt them while they are warm
For the Mediterranean salad dressing
- Juice the lemon, straining out any seeds, into a small bowl
- Add the salt, pepper, mint, garlic powder, and sumac to the lemon juice, whisking it together
- Pour the lemon juice mixture over the salad and toss together
- After the lemon juice is incorporated, add the olive oil and toss.
- Top with pita chips and serve immediately