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Fattoush (also spelled fatoosh) is a fresh and herbal Middle Eastern salad of pita bread and greens. Its unique feature is fried pita bread which is generously tossed on the greens. Rounded off with a slightly acidic dressing, fattoush is one of the most popular Middle Eastern salads.
I’ll show you how to make fattoush salad the way you find it in the Middle East with this step-by-step recipe.
What is Fattoush?
Fattoush is a herbal salad which is hugely popular across the entire Middle East, from Lebanon, Syria to Jordan. Traditionally, the idea behind fattoush salad was to use leftover pita bread. The base of the salad consists of a few simple ingredients. In contrast to tabbouleh (Arabic parsley-bulgur salad), the ingredients for fattoush don’t need to be as finely chopped. This makes fattoush easier to prepare than tabbouleh.
Fattoush salad makes a great light meal, especially during summer. It can also be served as a mezze or as a side to rice and meat dishes.
The signature of fattoush is pita bread. As you might know, pita bread plays a huge role in the Middle East. Now as then, families keep multiple loaves of fresh pita bread at home. Most of it is consumed on the same day or the day after, but leftovers aren’t uncommon. Instead of going to waste, leftover pita bread has led to many new dishes being invented. Fattoush is one of them.
For fattoush salad, pita bread is cut into medium-sized cubes. It’s traditionally fried in olive oil and added on top of the salad. However, you can also toast the bread in a pan or bake it in the oven. Don’t use store-bought pita bread chips. They’ll never be able to compete with homemade pita chips.
Similar to other Middle Eastern salads, fattoush salad consists of local and seasonal ingredients. Lettuce is the base for fattoush (iceberg or romana lettuce. Further common ingredients are tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, capsicum and/or radishes. Most people add leftover vegetables they have at home. That’s why the versions of fattoush vary, depending on the region and the season.
Last but not least, the salad is rounded off with fresh herbs (usually mint and parsley) and a simple dressing (similar to vinaigrette).
Note: The exact quantities (according to the amount of servings) can be found in the recipe card at the end of this recipe.
Fattoush Recipe Step-by-Step
1. Chop the lettuce
For fattoush, you can either use iceberg or romaine lettuce. I’m using iceberg lettuce in my fattoush recipe. Start by removing the outer layer of the lettuce head. Cut in half and dispose of the stem and the inner leaves (usually yellow). Roughly chop the lettuce and add to a large mixing bowl.
2. Chop the tomatoes
Use ripe tomatoes as these will be juicier. Roughly chop and add to the lettuce. Dispose of the core.
3. Chop the cucumbers
Cut off the ends of the cucumbers. You don’t need to peel them, but can do so if you prefer to. Roughly chop and add to the bowl.
4. Chop the capsicum
Capsicums are a great addition to fattoush. They go well with toasted bread and the lightly acid dressing of this salad. I prefer capsicum over radishes, but you are free to use either (or both) of them. You can use red, yellow or green capsicum or a combination of them.
5. Chop the scallions
Almost the entire scallion is edible (simply cut off the ends). The upper parts (dark green) are usually milder than the lower parts (whitish). Either one works fine for fattoush. Finely chop and add to the bowl.
6. Chop the mint
Mint adds to the herbal flavor of this Middle Eastern salad! Mint has thick stems which you shouldn’t eat. Pick the mint leaves from the stems one by one. Finely chop and add to the bowl.
7. Prepare the dressing
Salads taste best when eaten fresh. If you’re making fattoush to be eaten right away, you can perfectly add the ingredients for the dressing straight into the bowl and mix them with the salad. The easiest way to prepare fattoush dressing is to combine olive oil, sumac and pomegranate syrup. Round off with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to combine with the salad. You can add the juice of half a lemon (optional).
8. Fry pita bread
Roughly chop (or break) the pita bread. The best is to make cubes of about 2×2 cm (¾ x ¾ inches) in size. Briefly deep fry in oil until golden brown. If you’d like to save on the calories, you can perfectly toast the pita bread in a thin layer of olive oil in a pan or the oven. Toss the fried/toasted bread on the fattoush.
Fattoush tastes best when the pita bread is still warm, so make sure to serve it right away. Sprinkle some pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional).
Fattoush (Middle Eastern Bread Salad)
- 1 lettuce head iceberg or romaine
- 2 tomatoes medium
- 4 cucumbers small
- 1 capsicum red, yellow or green
- 2 pita breads
- 1/2 bunch scallions
- 1/2 bunch mint
- 1/4 pomegranate optional
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp pomegranate syrup
- 1 tsp sumac
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
- 1/2 lemon optional
- Roughly chop the lettuce and add to a large mixing bowl. Dispose of the stem and the outer leaves.
- Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to the lettuce.
- Cucumbers don’t need to be peeled, but you can do so if you prefer. Roughly chop the cucumbers and add to the bowl.
- Chop the capsicum. You can roughly or finely chop them into small cubes or slices.
- Cut off the ends of the scallions. Finely chop and add to the bowl.
- Pick the mint leaves from the stems one by one. Finely chop and add to the bowl.
- Prepare the dressing by combining olive oil, sumac, pomegranate syrup, salt and pepper. Add to the salad and mix well.
- Break (or cut) the pita bread rounds into medium-sized cubes. Deep-fry or toast in a pan until golden brown. Add onto the salad.
- Garnish with pomegranate seeds (optional). Serve immediately.
- Make sure you use small cucumbers. These can be found in any Middle Eastern grocery store. If you don’t have them available, you can use the larger English cucumbers. Scoop out the middle parts. 1 English cucumber is equal to 4 small Middle Eastern cucumbers.
- If you intend to make a larger batch to eat over several days, don’t add the bread and the dressing to the salad yet. Add oil, spices and bread prior to eating (as the salad would turn soggy when preserved in oil over several days). Store in seperate containers in the fridge and consume within 1-2 days.
- The nutrition facts are rough estimates and can vary according to the exact weight, brand and type of ingredients used.