This classic fattoush salad recipe makes a traditional Lebanese village salad of ripe tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, zingy radishes, and fresh fragrant herbs, tossed in a delightful salad dressing distinguished by the beloved Middle Eastern ingredients of pomegranate seeds and ground sumac, and textured with crispy pita chips. It’s fantastic served with hummus, baba ghanoush, beef kofta and kebabs.
Winter is pomegranate season, so if you’re in the northern hemisphere and are lucky to be able to access fresh pomegranates and pomegranate molasses, then it’s time to make our easy fattoush salad recipe.
If you’re in the southern hemisphere and can’t source pomegranate seeds or pomegranate syrup, then make our fattoush recipe, anyway. It still tastes delicious without pomegranates, just don’t tell your Arab friends we said that!
Fattoush is traditionally eaten with Arabic mezze and grilled meats, which makes it perfect for those in the southern hemisphere gearing up for a season of summertime barbecues. See our recipes for beef kofta, hummus and baba ganoush, and our summer salad recipes here.
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Fattoush Salad Recipe for a Traditional Lebanese Village Salad
This traditional fattoush salad recipe will make you a delicious authentic Lebanese village salad or peasant salad, as it’s also translated as. Although it must be said that fattoush is also made in Syrian, Jordanian and Palestinian kitchens and eaten right across the Middle East, so fattoush is really a dish of Arabic cuisines, the cuisines of the Arab world.
I’ve called this a Lebanese fattoush salad recipe as it makes the same kind of fattoush salad that we used to order with a mixed grill and various Arabic mezze (snacks or appetisers such as dips and pastries), from our favourite Lebanese restaurants a few nights a week when we lived in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The dishes of the Arabic cuisines of the Middle East and North Africa are very much a case of what’s called ‘same same but different’ here in Southeast Asia, in that they can often be very similar across countries with some small differences that distinguish one from the other.
I explained this in the intro to my post on Mediterranean pantry essentials and the ingredients used across the Mediterranean region, of which the Middle East is a part. It might be an ingredient, such as a vegetable or herb or spice that distinguishes one dish from another, or it could be a cooking method or manner of presentation.
Take the pomegranate for instance. While I bet most cooks of Arabic cuisines would argue that pomegranate molasses or pomegranate syrup is essential in the fattoush salad dressing and pomegranate seeds are a must in the salad itself, the Lebanese restaurants in Abu Dhabi and Dubai did not always use pomegranates.
The Middle Eastern spice called sumac, on the other hand, has been in every fattoush we’ve ever eaten in the region. Can’t source sumac? Sumac is all at once earthy, smoky, spicy, and citrusy. When we can’t get hold of sumac, we use smoky paprika and bump up the lemon juice. Best not share that with your Arab friends either…
I only have a few tips to making this fattoush salad recipe as it’s super easy, even the homemade pita chips take just 10-15 minutes max.
Tips to Making this Fattoush Salad Recipe
Just a few tips on making this fattoush salad recipe starting with those homemade pita chips, which give the salad its distinctive crunchy texture that distinguishes it from an everyday garden salad.
I’ve included instructions for plain homemade pita chips in the recipe below. You don’t need to season the pita chips as you have loads of flavour in the fattoush salad dressing. But if you want to season your pita crisps, see this more detailed homemade pita chips recipe.
While one large pita bread is enough for this fattoush recipe, pita chips actually store well and last weeks without going stale, so you could make a bigger batch and season some for snacking on or serving with hummus and baba ghanoush.
For the fattoush dressing, buy the best quality extra virgin olive oil you can, a fresh lemon for the juice, sumac, and pomegranate molasses or pomegranate syrup, if you can source them. I throw the pomegranate seeds intro the dressing simply so they distribute well throughout the salad, but I noticed over the years that some chefs just sprinkle them on top of the salad.
The dressing can sit a bit so the flavours meld, but you want to make the salad just before serving so it’s super-fresh. Roma tomatoes are traditional to the Mediterranean but any tomatoes are fine. Small round red radishes are a must.
Lebanese cucumbers are used in the Middle East but we use whatever we can get here. Capsicums (bell peppers) weren’t always included in the fattoush salads we used to eat, so I’ll leave their inclusion to you. Fresh mint leaves and parsley was the norm, but either/or is fine.
Toss the salad with the dressing when you’re ready to serve and put the pita chips in at the last minutes so they stay crunchy. Sometimes I’ll sprinkle them on top and use salad spoons to incorporate them right before I serve the salad to guests.
This fattoush salad recipe comes together quickly. It will take you 10-15 minutes to make the homemade pita chips and other 15 minutes will be spent chopping and tossing, so make your hummus and baba ghanoush and any other mezze in advance.
The kofta or kebabs can also be grilled before you do the fattoush and kept in the oven on low under foil as they benefit from resting.
This fattoush salad recipe should make enough for four people served as with kofta or kebabs or mezze or two people if you’re splitting this and making a meal out of it.
Fattoush Salad Recipe for a Traditional Lebanese Village Salad
- 1 large pita bread
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 tsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 tbsp pomegranate seeds
- 2 tsp ground sumac or ground smoky paprika
- ½ tsp salt or to taste
- ½ tsp white pepper or to taste
- 6 romaine lettuce leaves – or cos coarsely sliced
- 3 Roma tomatoes coarsely diced
- 2 cucumbers medium, cut into chunky quarters
- 4 radishes finely sliced
- 1 green capsicum (bell pepper) – cored and cut into squares
- 1 purple shallot coarsely diced
- 2 scallions (spring onions) – finely sliced
- 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves coarsely chopped
- 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley coarsely chopped
- Make the pita chips: heat the oven to 220°C (430°F), cut the pita bread into 3cm squares, lay them out on a baking tray, brush the olive oil onto the pita squares, bake for 5 minutes or until golden brown, turn the pita chips over, brush the other side with oil and bake for a few minutes or until golden brown. Remove and set aside to cool
- In a small bowl, stir the salad dressing ingredients together so they are well combined and set aside so the flavours meld.
- Just before serving, toss all the salad ingredients together in a large bowl, add the dressing and toss to combine, then add the pita chips at the last minute, and serve immediately.
Please do let us know if you make this fattoush salad recipe as we love to hear from you and find out how our recipes turned out for you.
Leila M says
Great recipe. The only problem with this dish when you’re doing a huge Lebanese spread is that the bread is no longer crunchy the next day when you want to have the inevitable leftovers and things are a bit soggy!
Lara Dunston says
Hi Leila, shukran! Yeah, there’s no way around that, is there? It’s definitely a salad that needs to be made just before serving and eaten immediately. But the beauty of a lot of Lebanese dishes like hummus, muttabal and baba ghanoush is that they can be made the day before. Even tabbouleh can. In fact I reckon it gets better a day after it’s made. Nice to see you here! Thanks for dropping by :)