Fattoush - Middle Eastern Bread Salad

Fattoush salad recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

Sumac is a widely used spice in Middle Eastern cuisine, especially in areas like Lebanon and Syria – two countries that we unfortunately associate more with war and violence, than we do with cuisine. 

As discussed in our previous post, Spices Uneathed: Sumac, the spice also has its negative connotation – poison sumac.   But sumac should be more known for its common use as a culinary spice, than for the uncommon variety of the plant that’s poisonous. 

So let’s continue breaking these negative associations, and think spice when we hear sumac, and think delicious, healthy dishes when we hear Syria or Lebanon.  Because no country wants to be remembered for war.  Wars will end, but good food will carry on.

Fattoush – a sumac spiced, bread salad from Lebanon and Syria – may be a simple answer to more positive associations with the spice and the countries. 

Just saying Fattoush is fun.  It puts a smile on your face. Fattoush :) 

Whipping up a batch makes you feel good too.  Slicing and dicing fresh veggies from your garden or farmer’s market; stirring and smelling garlic, lemon, sumac, and olive oil; and tearing pieces of warm, crispy pita bread and tossing them into the salad to absorb all those wonderful flavors.

fattoush dressing recipe
toasting pita bread for fattoush salad

Like many traditional dishes, fattoush varies from family to family, but typically features pieces of toasted pita bread with fresh herbs and vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, onion, radishes, parsley, and mint leaves.

The quintessential spice sumac is sprinkled over the salad as well as mixed into the base dressing of olive oil and lemon juice, to give the salad its signature bright and tangy Middle Eastern flavor.  A flavor that is often enhanced in traditional recipes with the addition of pomegranate molasses.

Fattoush recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

Here I share a simple fattoush recipe with pita bread, cherry tomatoes, garden cucumber, red bell pepper, romaine lettuce, radishes, parsley, and mint.  But put together your own mix from what you have in the garden or fridge.

Just let the salad sit for awhile before eating to allow the pita to soak up the lemony dressing.  Then top with olives and feta cheese. And if you like the salad with a mild spicy bite, try sprinkling some Aleppo Chili Flakes.

Fattoush salad by SeasonWithSpice.com

Fattoush Salad recipe by Season with Spice 

Pita bread (or store-bought pita chips)
Cherry tomatoes – halved (or diced garden tomatoes)
Cucumber (Persian, English, or garden cucumber) – finely chopped
Red or green bell pepper – seeded and finely chopped
Romaine lettuce – coarsely chopped
Radishes - thinly sliced
Handful of flat-leaf parsley – coarsely chopped
Handful of mint leaves – coarsely chopped
Aleppo chili flakes, for sprinkling (optional)

For the dressing: 
Juice from half a lemon
1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 teaspoons of Season with Spice’s Sumac Berry Powder (and some more to sprinkle on the mixed salad)
2-3 garlic cloves - mashed in a mortar

1. Brush the pita bread with generous amounts of olive oil. Toast in an oven at 375F, or over stove top till crispy. Let cool.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing.
3. Place all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Tear the toasted pita bread into bite size pieces, and toss with the vegetables. Drizzle on the dressing, and mix gently to combine. Finally, sprinkle on some additional sumac berry powder. Let the salad sit for a couple of minutes before serving.