As mercury rises, one craves light and fresh meals. And it’s just the right time to explore the myriad colours, textures, flavours and hues of the Lebanese cuisine!
Characterised by fresh vegetables – raw or pickled, tangy flavourous dips and light meals, baked or sautéed in olive oil and salads, this cuisine is a true summer delight!
I make pita, hummus and falafels very often, and decided to team the meal with a vibrant and tangy salad this time. Fattoush was a perfect choice! Even my teenagers devoured it with as much love as they demolish a pizza. Happy happy mommy!
I bought fresh ingredients the same day and that really added to the freshness and crunch of the salad. Fattoush uses pita bread croutons. I baked fresh whole wheat pitas. Here they are nicely toasted to go into the salad.
These soak up the dressing and give the salad a nice body and texture.
To make the salad you need (serves 4)
2-3 pitas, toasted/fried and broken into pieces
2-3 scallions/spring onions, sliced thin
A small cucumber, cubed
3 medium tomatoes, cubed/ can used 10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
A small head of lettuce/1 cup of lettuce, sliced thin
10-12 fresh mint leaves,torn roughly
½ cup flat leaf parsley , torn roughly (I could get only the curled parsley so I chopped it very fine)
A small green pepper,cubed
A small red pepper,cubed
For the dressing
¼ cup olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 garlic cloves minced fine
A tbsp pomegranate molasses ( I reduced a cup of pomegranate juice with a tsp of sugar to a quarter of a cup. Cooled and added as required)/ ½ tsp of honey may be used if molasses not available
A pinch of salt
¼ tsp dried mint powder
a tsp of Sumac (not readily available in India. Can make skipping it)
Mix all the above ingredients in a small bottle or bowl and mix well.
Drizzle some oil over the toasted pita croutons Mix well to coat the croutons with oil.
(If using toasted ones as I did. If using fried, proceed to the next step)
Mix all the other ingredients of the salad in a wide bowl.
Just before serving, add the dressing and toss well.
We enjoyed it by itself and also stuffed into warm pita to make excellent salad sandwiches.
*Make sure the vegetable are washed and dried before chopping, else the salad will get soggy. Specially in case of the mint and parsley.
*Add the dressing just before serving,
*In case pita is not available, regular white/brown bread may be toasted/fried and used.
I am taking this crunchy salad to the Lebanese challenge at Chefs Across Boundaries. I am hosting the event this month!!
Recipe adapted from Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen and Epicurious