Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Best Blog Tips

It has been a very busy week, so, for this blog post, I'm giving you a favorite recipe.

"Fattoush (Arabic: فتوش ), often pronounced "fadash", is a Levantine salad made from several garden vegetables and toasted or fried pieces of pita bread. Fattoush salad allows cooks to use seasonal produce by mixing different vegetables and herbs according to taste, and also to make use of pitas that have gone stale. The vegetables are cut into relatively large pieces compared to Tabbouleh which requires ingredients to be finely chopped. Sumac is usually used to give Fattoush its sour taste." From Wikipedia

I first tasted this salad at a Lebanese restaurant in Montreal and I was hooked for life! (Though usually encountered in Lebanese restaurants in North America, the salad is popular also in Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Israel and Iraq.) It is perfect for summer meals. The ingredient that makes it special is ground sumac, which is a berry from the Mediterranean Sumac tree. Sumac is deliciously tangy and sour with hints of lemon. Because of its flavor it is used as a souring agent instead of, or in addition to, citrus juice or vinegar. Sumac is found in Middle Eastern cuisine and it is an essential ingredient in Za'atar (a delicious spice mixture of sumac, sesame, thyme and sometimes other herbs).

Printable Recipe


Servings: 6
(Adapted from recipes in my books The Almost No-Fat Holiday Cookbook and The Fiber for life Cookbook.)

The seasonings of this salad will remind you of Tabbouleh, however it is distinctly different, and uniquely delicious. While it was originally invented as a way to use up stale pita bread, you can toast fresh pita bread for the same effect (sort of like making croutons). We often make a whole meal of this salad. Ground sumac can be found in Middle Eastern grocery stores (or see "Cooking Tips" below for online sources). If you can find it, add the optional arugula (a peppery green leafy vegetable also known as rocket) and purslane (you may have to grow the last two yourself-- they are easy to grow), for a more authentic taste.


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice(or bottled organic)
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tsp. ground sumac (see "Cooking Tips" below for where to buy online)
1 large (10") wholewheat pita bread (or two smaller ones, 5-6" each), split and toasted, and broken into bite- size pieces (my recipe here)
1 medium English (burpless or hothouse) cucumber, diced (the kind with an edible skin), or the equivalent in small yellow lemon cucumbers
(see here for types of cucumbers that don't need peeling)
2 large firm, ripe tomatoes, diced
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (Italian or flat-leaf, if possible)
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 head crisp Romaine lettuce, washed, dried and torn up
OPTIONAL: 1 red or green bell pepper, seeded and chopped or sliced
1 cup chopped purslane
1 cup torn arugula or watercress leaves, or a mixture
(other greens to use in place of purslane and/or arugula would be Belgian endive, escarole, young dandelion leaves, young mustard greens, kale, chicory or radicchio-- or even an organic baby salad mix)

To make the Dressing, mix the dressing ingredients together with a blender, or with a whisk, or shake them in a tightly-sealed jar.

Just before serving the salad, place the lettuce in a large bowl. Add the remaining vegetables and herbs, and the broken-up toasted pita bread. Add the Dressing and toss well. Divide the salad between 6 plates and serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving):
184.9 calories; 47% calories from fat; 10.1g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 307.2mg sodium; 610.0mg potassium; 22.5g carbohydrates; 5.5g fiber; 4.6g sugar; 17.0g net carbs; 4.8g protein; 3.7 points.

Cooking Tips

Sumac can be purchased at North African or Middle Eastern markets, or online vendors, such as (or search for "spice vendors USA").

In Canada:

Bulk Barn carries Sumac in their spice section or you can order it online at:

Hope you're having a great summer!


Jenn said...

*love* love LOVE fattoush. First had it in college in Toledo. We had a Lebanese restaurant on campus. I could get a nice cappuccino and baklava for breakfast and return for fattoush for lunch. Never saw lettuce included in fattoush.

My recipe for fattoush is a bit more simple, following the salads I had at numerous Lebanese restaurants in Toledo (yes, there are several) and New Orleans (a couple there, too, interestingly):

pita chips (stale pita, cut into triangles and toasted)
lotso lemon juice, to taste
olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Toss, eat, enjoy (and, if you eat (soy) cheese, throw some chunks of (soy) feta in there).

Sumac sources -- check out any Middle Eastern and possibly Indian/Pakistani store for Sumac -- you can often find sumac berries which are easily ground up in a coffee grinder.

recipe finder said...

I never knew arugula was also called rocket. Do you know why?

Jenn said...

It's called "roquette" in French ("rucola" in Italian) -- so that probably accounts for "rocket" in some English varieties.

I always thought that it was "rocket" more in England where a species of arugula has long slender leaves (not the curly edge leaves). I have two types in my garden. There's such a dramatic difference between garden arugula (smaller leaves, peppery, complex and strong flavor) and store-bought arugula (larger leaves, weaker flavor)

Isabelle said...

lovew fattoush. Your recipe looks delicious.

spiceislandvegan said...

LOOKS GOOD! I would love to have the soy curls and mango curried salad. I have been eating lots of salad lately. Fattoush looks yummy too.