Mediterranean Fattoush Salad (With Video)

One of my favorite restaurant dishes, made at home… and it’s easier than you might think! Jump to the fattoush salad recipe here, or read on and get it at the bottom of this post.

Mediterranean Fattoush Salad

Fattoush has been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember. Even as a kid, my mother and I would go to this little middle-eastern place on the outskirts of town and share one of their giant chicken shawarma sandwiches, and a big plate of fattoush salad. To this day it’s one of our favorite traditions.

The ingredients that make up fattoush salad could not be more basic — romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, lemon and olive oil — and yet, for all these years, I’ve thought of it as one of those mysterious dishes I’d never be able to replicate at home. The recipe seemed shrouded in exotic mystique, and I was resigned to eating it only at restaurants. Until now, that is.

Mediterranean Fattoush Salad

The only thing you need to make this salad that (most likely) isn’t in your fridge or pantry already, is dried sumac. I know what you’re thinking, but no, this is NOT poison sumac — dried sumac is a spice made of the dried berries of the sumac plant, and it’s used often in middle eastern cooking to add a bright, tart, almost citrusy flavor… and it happens to be the thing that makes fattoush dressing so special (and up until now, so mysterious.)

When I spotted sumac powder at The Spice House in Geneva (hands down my favorite place to get spices), the lightbulb went off, and I knew I had to make this salad at home. I believe The Spice House is affiliated with Penzey’s Spices, so if you have one of those around, or another dedicated spice merchant, I highly recommend popping in — getting to talk to people who really know their stuff, and being able to buy just small amounts of what you need instead of big expensive jars, is such a blessing. Of course, if you don’t have a spice house near you, you can always order sumac powder online.

Mediterranean Fattoush Salad

I’ve been enjoying mounds of this salad for the past few days, and now I have a craving for my second love: chicken shawarma. Yet another thing I thought I’d never be able to replicate at home, but after this salad, I think I have the confidence to give it a go. I have my eye on this recipe, so if you’re feeling inspired, you can give that a try alongside the salad. (Now all I need is some hummus, garlic sauce, and pickled veg, and I’ll be set!)

Get the recipe below, but first, here’s a video to show you how it goes. I dunno about you, but I’m a very visual person, and watching how something’s done always motivates me!

Do you have a favorite restaurant food you’ve been afraid to make at home? Let me know in the comments below!

5.0 from 6 reviews
Mediterranean Fattoush Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Vegetarian and vegan
Author:
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
For the pita chips:
  • 1-4 TBSP light olive oil, or refined (unflavored) coconut oil
  • 1 large pita bread, regular or whole wheat (or 2-3 smaller ones)
  • pinch of salt, to taste
For the dressing:
  • ⅓rd-1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, to taste (about 1½ - 2 lemons)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane or very finely minced
  • 1 tsp. ground sumac
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt (or ½ tsp. table salt)
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
For the salad:
  • 2 hearts of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 english cucumber, chopped into large bite-sized pieces
  • 2 medium tomatoes (or a couple handfuls grape or cherry tomatoes) cut into large bite-sized pieces
  • ½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
Optional add-ins:
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Thinly sliced red onions
  • Crumbled feta cheese
Instructions
For the pita chips:
  1. To bake the pita chips: drizzle pita bread with 1-2 TBSP olive oil or melted coconut oil, rubbing it to coat both sides, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until golden and crispy, then let cool and break into bite sized pieces.
  2. To fry the pita chips: cut or tear the pita bread into bite sized pieces. Heat 3-4 TBSP coconut oil (or other neutral, high-heat oil) in a skillet over medium heat. Add the pita, and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and crispy. Remove from the pan and toss lightly with salt.
For the dressing and salad:
  1. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Taste, and adjust if necessary (if the dressing needs more acidity, add more lemon juice, etc., to taste).
  2. Chop the romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, and mint, and place in a large bowl. (If you'd like to add radishes, red onions, or crumbled feta cheese, you can do so now.) Pour over enough dressing to coat, and toss to combine. Top with pita chips, and serve!
Notes
The pita chips can be baked or fried for this recipe, whichever you prefer. Baking the chips uses a bit less oil, and results in a lighter, more delicate chip. Pan frying uses a bit more oil, and gives you a sturdier, more robust chip that can hold up a little better to the dressing. I tend to bake them out of laziness, because I can toss the whole pita in the oven, set a timer, and make the rest of the salad while it's cooking. The fried chips are tastier, but you have to keep a close eye on them to keep them from burning.

Recipe adapted from Karen Srour -- find her recipe, HERE.

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24 Responses to Mediterranean Fattoush Salad (With Video)

  1. Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy March 17, 2016 at 10:19 am #

    This looks like a great salad. It is different from fattoush I have had in the past, and I love all the colours.

    • Willow Arlen March 17, 2016 at 10:36 am #

      Thanks, Gloria! I’m curious to know what the differences are. I love hearing about different variations on things!

      • Brenda Joyce Cobb August 7, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

        Introduced to Sumac in Florida. It was in a clear dressing and I couldn’t believe there was such a thing as eatable sumac!!! It was delish.

  2. movita beaucoup March 17, 2016 at 10:38 am #

    Your videos are hypnotic.

  3. Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious March 17, 2016 at 11:06 am #

    Note to self: Get sumac! I have often made Panzanella, but never Fattoush. On my list !

    • Willow Arlen March 17, 2016 at 11:11 am #

      Thanks, Dorothy, I hope you try it! I love panzanella, too — isn’t it interesting that every culture seems to have it’s own form of bread salad? :)

  4. Sam | Ahead of Thyyme March 17, 2016 at 11:28 am #

    Yummm this looks delicious!! I wish I didn’t just have lunch!

    • Willow Arlen March 17, 2016 at 11:30 am #

      Haha, story of my life! So many tasty things, and so little room in my stomach. :)

  5. Ali @ Home & Plate March 17, 2016 at 11:48 am #

    What a delicious and fresh looking salad. This is right up my alley. Love the addition of the pita chips. Perfect for anytime of the day!

  6. Mica @ Let's Taco Bout It Blog March 17, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    Willow,

    This looks great. I have never tried dried sumac before, but I’m always open to trying new tastes. We don’t eat enough salads in our home. I’m glad I can add this great recipe to the collection!

    • Willow Arlen March 17, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

      Thanks, Mica! This is great for eating salad more often, because it holds up well and tastes great the next day (just leave the pita chips off, and add them just before serving). I hope you try it!

  7. Diana March 17, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

    Fattoush salad is one of my all time favourite salads! I’m half Jordanian and we have this very often :)

    • Willow Arlen March 18, 2016 at 9:30 am #

      That’s awesome, Diana! I’ll be eating it a lot more often too, now that I know how. ;)

  8. Ellen March 17, 2016 at 7:12 pm #

    Just in time! Great to eat this now spring is about to show itself and we drift into ‘summer’ eating patterns. Lovely!

  9. ines @ between kitchens March 18, 2016 at 4:59 am #

    Hi Willow :)
    Fattoush is great, and yours looks bright, fresh and delicious – it makes me HUNGRY :D (absolutely no kidding, I will trade cake for a good salad at any time!). I totally get what you say about the exotic mystique that makes it seem like there is some sort of trick to the dish that you can only perform if you own a small exotic family restaurant. I have had it with Pho too… until last week I finally decided to try making it at home. (and guess what!? It came out pretty neat!)
    I loved the video! Plus you are right, watching it really makes me want to try the recipe!
    Have a great weekend!
    Ines

    • Willow Arlen March 18, 2016 at 9:34 am #

      Thank you, Ines! I am the same way — most of the time, I’ll take a good salad over a cake. And Pho is another one I have yet to try at home, but would love to be able to make with confidence. Bravo to you for giving it a go!
      I’m so glad to hear you liked the video! I think sometimes the biggest barrier to doing something is not being able to see all the steps involved. :)
      Hope you’re having a lovely weekend, too!

  10. Tricia @ Saving room for dessert March 18, 2016 at 5:37 am #

    I could eat this salad everyday! It is a beautiful dish. Have a great weekend!

  11. Mimi March 23, 2016 at 1:10 pm #

    This looks so good. I finally bought sumac, so now I know how to use it!

  12. Lauren @ Lauren Caris Cooks March 23, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

    I love it!! So simple but so beautiful! Another great video! Hope you keep making them :D

  13. Marsha Kathnelson December 24, 2016 at 11:55 pm #

    An absolutely top notch recipe. Made it tonight for company and got RAVE reviews. This was the best of the gazillion fattoush recipes I’ve seen. BTW, frying the pita pieces in oil is essential in my view.

    • Willow Arlen December 26, 2016 at 7:28 pm #

      Thank you so much, Marsha, I’m glad you liked it!! Frying definitely makes a big difference, but I wanted to include the baked recipe for those wanting another alternative. :)

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