What do you do when you have left over stale bread? You make French toast, croutons, panzanella salad, etc
What do you do when you have stale pita bread (as it is often the case in the Middle East), you make bread salad, also known as Fattoush! Don’t worry this salad won’t fatten your toushie! It is so fresh, colorful with bits of crunchiness. I could eat every day.
It is one of the most popular salad in the Middle East, and is said to come from Northern Lebanon, The beauty of this salad is that you can use any fresh vegetables you have.
Typically, when served in restaurants, fattoush comes with romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red or green onion, and the piece of resistance, crispy pieces of pita bread that have been fried in some olive oil. To this wonderful basic combination, I like to add thinly sliced radishes, pickled red onion (easier to digest), pumpkin seeds, roasted yellow, orange or red peppers, sweet potatoes…
Bringing old pita bread to life
There are a few ways to do this. You can brush the bread with a little oil, salt and pepper, and bake until crisp at 375 F for 8-10 minutes. Keep an eye on it so that you don’t burn them! You can also panfry pieces of pita bread in olive oil, salt and pepper is the key. And if you have some, add a 1 tsp of sumac.
Don’t have pita bread?
No problem, you can use any flat bread like chapati, naan, ciabatta rolls cut in small slices or pieces and panfry with garlic and extra virgin olive oil.
The dressing is light with the perfect balance of olive oil, fresh lemon or lime juice, some balsamic vinegar, garlic, sea salt and pepper. You can also add pomegranate molasses if you have some for a touch of sweetness and more traditional flavor.
Don’t forget to mince 1 cup of fresh parsley, and mint leaves.
For a complete Middle East meal, combine fattoush with Baba Ganoush, and gazpacho,
Best Fattoush Salad
- 2 ripe tomatoes
- 1 large cucumber
- 3 pita bread or slices of flatbread
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 6 radishes sliced
- 3 stalks of green onion
- 1 head romaine lettuce
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- juice of one lemon or 1 1/2 lime
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups chopped parsley
- 1 cup chopped mint leaves
- sea salt & pepper
- 1 tsp sumac (optional)
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
Crisp the bread
- Cut the pita or other flatbread into small pieces.
- Heat up 2-3 tbsp of olive oil. Pan fry the bread pieces, sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Flip each piece until they are crisp and remove from heat.
Make the dressing
- Whisk the olive oil, lemon or lime juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add sumac and pomegranate molasses if using.
Putting it together
- Chop the tomatoes, cucumber. Slice the radishes, green onions.
- Mince the parsley and mint leaves.
- Roughly chop the romaine lettuce.
- Pour the dressing and mix. Add the crispy pieces of pita or flatbread.
- Taste and season. Serve immediately!