Rich and Zesty, Healthy and Refreshing, a Lebanese Salad of a Particular Personality
Let me tell you first of all what is really the particularity of the Fattoush Salad. It is a personal creative initiative, which means that you can decide on your green vegetables, to a certain extent, as long as you maintain the basics, richness and method.
This is the reason why there are many variations out there.
So yes, the Fattoush salad has its own personality, reflecting the desires of the maker.
Rich with its variety of healthy vegetables, delightfully refreshing, and zesty with its sumac flavoring, the Fattoush is widely loved, and served in many hotel dinner and brunch buffets locally and throughout the Arabian Gulf.
You also see it in many Lebanese restaurants in North America, although, I must say, most are a fade version of the real Lebanese Fattoush.
Fattoush is a derivative term of the Arabic “bread cut in small pieces.” It belongs to our regional Fattat category of dishes using toasted or fried flat bread, like the Fatteh.
The Fattoush Salad Recipe: What You Must Know
The main featured ingredients of the Fattoush are
- the Sumac, that dark-red dried herb turned into rough spice of strong zesty lemon flavor,
- the toasted or fried pieces of Lebanese pita bread, and
- the fresh green vegetables of Purslane, Lettuce, Mint and Parsley
The other required ingredients are tomatoes, cucumbers, radish, spring onions, green pepper, and minced garlic. They come along with a variety of fresh green vegetables, some of which are required such, and some are added as desired.
Fresh lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil compose its dressing.
Carrot, Cabbage and Corn are not Fattoush ingredients, nor are recommended to use in this dish.
Not too few incorporate molasses into their Fattoush. I don’t, for two main culinary reasons:
We use molasses to add a strong zesty flavor to our dishes, specially the stuffing meat.
The Sumac does exactly that in the Fattoush, and with the added Lemon juice, you really don’t need a sour-tasting salad, or more lemon-flavoring, do you? (And this is the Northern Lemon-lover girl talking!)
The other, not less important, reason is that the fresh green vegetables tend to slump and wither quickly when in contact with the high level of acidity of the molasses. Their crisp freshness is lost in the hour, at the most, and the Fattoush looks unappetizing.
I believe a detailed health aspect of the Fattoush Salad is unnecessary. One has only to read the Sumac Health Benefits, and take into consideration the significant variety of its fresh natural components to know the health empowerment it brings along. So, from me to you with love, here is the Fattoush Salad Recipe!
- 9 Shells/Leafs Lettuce cut small
- 1 Bunch Purslane leaves only
- 4 Tomato (medium) cut in small bites
- 4 Cucumber (small) cut in small bites
- 6 Spring Onions chopped small
- 1 Green Pepper cut in small bites
- 1/2 Bunch Fresh Mint Leaves only; roughly cut
- 4-5 Raddish sliced thinly
- 1 Bunch Parsley leaves only (or cut roughly)
- 2 Pita or Lebanese Bread (small) toasted and cut in small pieces
For The Dressing
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil extra-virgin
- 1 1/2 tbsp Ground Summac
- 2 Cloves Garlic minced and mashed
- 1 tsp Lebanese 7-Spices
- 1 dash Salt
Preparing the Vegetables
In a large bowl, place the cut lettuce shells, purslane leaves, parsley leaves, and the chopped mint.
Add the remaining vegetables cut in small bites: tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, green pepper, radish... Mix gently with two wooden spoons.
Preparing the Dressing
Use a glass container with a lid for this preparation.
Pour in the olive oil, the minced garlic, the 7-Spice, the Sumac and the dash of salt. (Sumac is already salty so be careful with salting).
Close well the lid, shake well the container for a couple of minutes
Finalizing and Serving
Pour the dressing all over the vegetables. Mix well yet gently to avoid smashing the tomatoes.
Add the toasted bread pieces minutes before serving on the table to maintain their crispiness. Mix gently for 2-3 minutes to ensure that the bread pieces and the vegetables take on well the aroma of the dressing.
The Fattoush is tastier with fried breads, which keep their crispiness long enough for the Fattoush to be consumed.
How to best fry the Bread:
1- Cut them randomly in small pieces.
2- Drop them in very hot oil for seconds, remove them and spread them between two layers of kitchen paper towel, and tap on gently to remove the excess of oil.