Fattoush is particularly delish in the hot summer months when you’re looking for something cool and fresh, with tons of crunch. A dressing made of lemon, mint, and a pinch of cayenne pepper perk up this already zippy salad. Fried pita croutons are the perfect finishing touch.
We simply can’t get enough of this colorful assortment of fresh vegetables, tangy lemon dressing, and crunchy fried pita. That’s pretty high praise for a salad. No wonder fattoush is so wildly popular throughout the Middle East.–Angie Zoobkoff
CAN I ADD ANYTHING ELSE TO FATTOUSH?
Fattoush is most often made with a green called bakleh—in North America, it’s called purslane. If you can find it, it’s a brilliant addition to the salad, replacing some or all of the lettuce. This salad is a terrific way to use whatever’s in season and what you have on hand. A popular veggie to add is radish, cut into chunks for mild bursts of spicy freshness.
Fattoush ~ Vegetable and Pita Salad
- Mild vegetable oil for frying
- 1 large Syrian flatbread or 2 to 3 standard pitas torn into 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) pieces (about 3 cups)
- 1 pound cucumbers skin on, cut into small cubes (about 4 cups)
- 1 pound tomatoes cut into small cubes (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 head green lettuce such as romaine, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 small green bell pepper finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried mint leaves or 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint leaves
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup water (optional)
- 3/4 cup chopped parsley (both leaves and tender stems)
- Line a large plate with paper towels. In a large pot set over medium-high heat, add 2 inches (5 cm) vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the pita and fry until golden brown, flipping the pieces occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Keep a careful watch on the pita as they can go from done to burnt in an instant. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, move the pita to the paper towel lined plate to drain.
- In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, green pepper, and onion. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, mint, and cayenne. If your tomatoes and cucumbers aren’t overly juicy, then go ahead and pour in a little water. Toss to combine. Add the parsley and toss again.
- Divide the salad among serving bowls or plates and top with the fried pita. Individual guests can toss the ingredients together in the bowl before eating.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
Categorize this fattoush salad as an absolute show stopper! The toasty pita pieces soaked up the wonderfully flavorful and refreshing vinaigrette, and you could easily be tempted to eat this salad as a meal in itself. I didn’t add the optional water as my veggies were very juicy and I didn’t want to dilute the vinaigrette’s flavor. I actually chopped my veggies first and had them holding in my bowl while I fried the pita. After finishing the pita, I finished up the salad with the vinaigrette ingredients, so I had plenty of accumulated juices to soak up.
Definitely a keeper in my book.
I love fattoush and think it is such a great salad, especially in the summer. When I've made it before, I've always baked the pita so I was interested to see how frying it would work. It's perfect. Plus, you don't have to turn on your oven which is always a welcome bonus when it’s hot outside. Oh, and did I mention it only takes about 10 minutes to make?
I found the timing of everything to be quite accurate. You definitely want the pita on top and don't really want it to sit for any length of time because the pita can become soggy.
Originally published June 13, 2021