This Lebanese fattoush salad recipe is delicious and authentic, and it just so happens to be my favorite Lebanese salad recipe. The tangy flavor combinations of sumac, za'atar, lemon, and pomegranate molasses complimented with bright fresh herbs, chopped crunchy vegetables, and homemade pita chips.
If you’ve never cooked with sumac, za'atar, pita bread, or pomegranate molasses, you should try this recipe! You might need to check out an international grocery store or Amazon for these items.
Sumac spice and za'atar spice are dry ingredients. Za'atar is the spice used for za'atar manakish, za'atar and cheese spring rolls, and fried pita chips. Sumac is a spice used for musakhan chicken rolls and Lebanese fried eggs.
Pomegranate molasses, or dibz roman, comes in a glass bottle and can be stored in the pantry. Pomegranate molasses is used in better than baba ganoush eggplant dip, beef fried samosas, sfiha minced pies, and sambousek.
What I Love About This Recipe
I love the crunchy homemade fried pita chips with za'atar mixed into a tangy sweet crunchy salad. I'm a sucker for Mediterranean chopped salads (like this Persian shirazi salad or quinoa tabbouleh) because they go so well with grilled meats and kabobs. This fattoush recipe combines all of the secrets handed to me by family and friends.
- Tomatoes: I prefer to use tomatoes on the vine or Roma tomatoes, however, any tomato will do.
- Persian cucumbers or English cucumber: I use either a Persian or English cucumber because the outer skin is not tough. I don't peel the outer skin for this salad.
- Radishes: I add radishes to this salad because they are crunchy and add some brightness to the salad.
- Pomegranate seeds (if you have some): Pomegranate seeds are not required, but they are great to add if you have some on hand.
- Onion: I prefer to use brown onion, sweet onion, or white onion.
- Fresh mint and Italian parsley: Use fresh mint and fresh parlsey. There are two types of parsley: curly and Italian parsley. I prefer using Italian parsley for all of my Lebanese dishes (like tabbouleh with quinoa), however, sometimes curly parsley is the only option at the supermarket. Italian parsley closely resembles cilantro, and how you tell the difference is by the smell.
- Lettuce: I use romaine lettuce.
- Bell pepper: Any type of bell pepper works just fine in this salad.
- Fried pita chips with za'atar (or baked): I make fresh pita chips from scratch either in the oven or fried. I personally like to top my pita chips with a little za'atar and sea salt.
- Sumac: This herb is very common in Middle Eastern cooking, and it has a tangy flavor.
- Pomegranate molasses (this is the secret ingredient): It's sweet, tangy, and really makes this fattoush salad dressing amazing when mixed with lemon, sumac, and some good olive oil.
- Good quality olive oil: Right now I'm using olive oil from Greece that's really delicious.
- Lemon juice: I recommend freshly squeezed lemons always. I never use canned lemon juice.
How To Make Fattoush
Chop all of the salad ingredients to the same size and add them to a bowl. Add the sumac spice and salt.
Keep the romaine lettuce separated. We will add the romaine lettuce in at the end with the pita chips.
Add the pomegranate syrup, lemon juice, olive oil to the chopped salad. Mix and coat evenly.
Mix everything together prior to serving.
If you can't get your hands on some sumac, you can substitute lemon zest (about half of a lemon). It will change the taste of the salad slightly, but it gives that extra zing of flavor that you experience with sumac.
Another option is to omit sumac from the recipe. The same goes for pomegranate syrup and za'atar. If you can't find these ingredients, just omit them.
Tips and Tricks
- The lettuce can get soggy if you keep the salad overnight. If eating this the next day, keep the lettuce, salad dressing, pita chips, and chopped salad separate then mix prior to eating.
- Remove seeds from the pomegranate in water, so you don't stain your hands and clothing.
Fattoush is a Lebanese salad made from chopped vegetables and pita bread.
Fattoush derived from fatteh meaning "toasted and crumbled bread".
Za'atar is different from sumac. Za'atar is a spice blend of thyme, sumac, and sesame seeds. Whereas, sumac is a berry that's dried and ground.