This authentic Lebanese Fattoush salad is a Middle Eastern classic. Freshly chopped salad is flavored with crispy toasted pita and a bright, zesty dressing. Learn how to make this recipe at home with our step-by-step tutorial and video.
My love for Middle Eastern and Mediterranean recipes comes from living in Istanbul, Turkey for some years. I remember going to the farmers market every week and getting the freshest vegetables and herbs every time and, of course, turning them into delicious salads such as Mediterranean salad, Mediterranean couscous salad, tabouli, and, of course, our favorite fattoush recipe.
What is Fattoush?
"Fattoush" comes from the word "Fatteh" which means "crumbled bread" in Arabic. Fattoush contains crispy day-old homemade pita bread, making it a great alternative to letting food go to waste. It's basically a fried bread salad made the Mediterranean way, using fresh vegetables and herbs with a tasty dressing.
You can find fattoush salad in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurants. The addition of crispy pita and a tangy dressing makes this Lebanese salad extra special and delicious. I love making a large batch of it for dinner because a small portion is never enough.
The precise ingredient list can vary from region to region. The basics include:
- Lettuce - Fresh romaine lettuce works best in this recipe. You'll get the right texture and level of crispiness.
- Tomatoes - You want to use firm tomatoes to make this recipe. I love using roma tomatoes for their flavor and texture.
- Parsley - It goes very well with the rest of the ingredients and adds a nice pop of color.
- Radishes - If you haven't tried raw radishes, now is the time. They are crunchy with a kick and are perfect with the zesty dressing we make for this salad.
- Cucumbers - Like many other salad recipes, my preference is to use Persian cucumber. They are crispy and have no large seeds. If using English or other kinds of cucumbers, make sure to deseed them first.
- Red onion - Red onion has a nice flavor that is not as strong as white onion, therefore it's perfect to have with
- Fried pita bread - You can use store bought or homemade pita bread. It's best if the bread is a couple of days old so it crisps up better. Alternatively, you can use baked pita chips as well.
It's important to use fresh vegetables and seasonal ingredients as that's the base of all Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. As mentioned above, slightly stale pieces of pita bread are fine as you can fry them to make them crispy.
Fattoush dressing is what makes this salad stand out. The combination of sumac, lime or lemon juice, olive oil and some salt brings an amazing flavor to the simple Middle Eastern salad.
The key ingredient for this dressing is the sumac. It's a deep red spice made from grinding sumac berries and has a tart flavor. You can find sumac in Middle Eastern shops or online. Make a big batch of this dressing and keep it in the fridge for up to a week to use it on all kinds of salads.
Prepare the vegetables
Wash and dry all the vegetables and herbs. Chop the lettuce and place it in a large bowl. Add chopped cucumber and tomatoes, sliced onion and radishes to the lettuce. Toss the vegetables together and add chopped parsley.
Fry the pita bread
Tear the pita bread into small pieces and heat some olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Toast pita pieces with the olive oil and salt over medium heat until the bread is crispy.
Make the dressing
In a small bowl mix olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper and sumac until fully combined. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to combine.
Add the crispy pita to the salad and gently toss again. Taste to make sure it has enough salt and acidity.
Fattoush salad can be served as a starter or a refreshing side dish to many dishes such as grilled meat and rice. Here are a few dishes you can serve this fresh Lebanese salad with:
- Shish tawook
- Chicken shawarma
- Beef shish kabob
- Chicken shish kabob
- Homemade falafel with tahini sauce
This would also make a delicious side dish to accompany rice dishes like Lebanese rice with vermicelli or mujadara. Because of all the fresh vegetables and the tangy dressing, a big bowl of fattoush salad on its own can be a really satisfying meal in and of itself on a hot summer day!
Frequently asked questions
Yes, however, if you decide to serve fattoush later, make the salad but don't mix it with the dressing or the toasted pita. When ready to serve, toss the salad with the dressing and toasted pita and serve immediately. That being said, it's best to make fattoush right before serving so all the ingredients are fresh.
Traditionally, the pita is fried in some olive oil so it becomes crispy. You can also bake the pita in the oven using my baked pita chips recipe.
Fattoush ingredients change region to region. You can use red bell pepper or green bell peppers and even add some fresh dill if you like.
Sumac has a unique flavor and unfortunately, there isn't a substitute for it. You can find sumac at almost any supermarket or online. It keeps well for a long time when stored in a jar and kept in a cool, dry place.
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More Salad Recipes
- 2 heads Romaine Lettuce
- 1 ½ cup Chopped Cucumbers See Note #1
- 1 cup Chopped Roma Tomatoes
- ½ cup Sliced Radishes
- ½ cup Parsley
- ½ Red Onion Sliced
- 2 Pita Bread
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4 tbsp Lime juice See Note #2
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Sumac
- Chop romaine lettuce and place it in a large bowl.
- Add in chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, parsley and red onion. Mix well and loosely using two spoons.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and brush olive oil on both sides of pita breads. Tear them using your hands and place them in the pan. Toast the pieces on both sides until they're golden brown and crispy. Set them aside.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.
- Top with toasted pita and serve immediately.
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
- If you decide to serve fattoush later, make the salad but don't mix it with the dressing or the toasted pita. When ready to serve, toss the salad with the dressing and toasted pita and serve immediately. That being said, it's best to make fattoush right before serving so all the ingredients are fresh.
- You can make the toasted pita ahead of time using homemade pita or store-bought. However, it's always best to make it fresh so it's crispy. It's best to let pita become a bit stale before frying it for this Lebanese fattoush salad. Alternatively, you can use pita chips for this recipe.
- Use fresh vegetables to make this recipe. You can use any type of vegetable you have on hand, such as bell peppers, dill, different types of lettuce and tomatoes.
- Don't skip the sumac as it's the main ingredient for the dressing used in this recipe.