If you were to ask me what I hoped to improve upon in my diet, my answer would always be: to consume less carbs and more salads. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing I feel when I’m super veggie heavy and light on carbs. My mind is clearer, which is crazy because it’s one of those things you don’t actually know you are experiencing… also known as mind fog. And then when it’s not there, it’s such a huge smack in the face… eat yo vegetables lady, you feel so good, don’t eat that half loaf of sourdough (ahem, yaaa).
For me though, I need variety. I can’t eat the same salad constantly, and salads seem to be one of those things I’m even more picky about (of course, because otherwise life would be too easy). The one thing I always have to tell myself is that salad’s aren’t boring anymore. They don’t have to be a green, a couple thinly sliced veggies, typically onion and carrot, maybe some cucumber, + croutons and an enormous amount of dressing. You know, the amount of dressing an eight year old would use – because we are all just trying to pretend we are making a healthy decision.
Salads now though have roasted veggies, grains and/or in this case don’t even have a main green. Whaaaat? Yep! Let me introduce you to my little Middle Eastern salad… Fattoush.
Fattoush is typically a bread salad but, as mentioned above, little me is trying the veggie to carb ratio to lean slightly more towards the veg. And the pitas (aka the bread of the bread salad) are commonly toasted or even fried. Here we just give them a little grill action to crisp up but not be sharp enough to destroy the roof of your mouth. Because seriously pita chips + the roof of my mouth, makes it look like a battle for good and evil went down. Does anyone else have that problem, where pitas just scratch the hell out of the roof of your mouth? Even croutons can put up a fight.
Okay, so to avoid said war, pitas for this version are grilled as mentioned. However, you can totally buy pita chips or make your own, but you’ve been warned.
The rest of the ingredients = fresh veggies commonly found in American salads that have just been roughly chopped. The dressing is a light vinaigrette flavored with garlic, parsley and sumac. Never heard of sumac? It’s a light balanced, slightly tart seasoning that is commonly seen in zatar, a rather recent popular spice blend here in the States, that is also from the Middle East. I buy my sumac from Penzey’s Spices, but Amazon has this sumac with great reviews, and we all loooove Amazon.
This salad makes two lunch size portions, or four side salads. If you are interested in making it heartier, you can always up the veggies, and add in sliced radishes or a couple handfuls of chopped romaine. The dressing coats everything really well and will leave drippings in your bowl, so you could easily add more and not need to make another batch of dressing. As with any salad, I would start with 1/2 the dressing first, toss, and evaluate, working towards the amount you personally desire. You can always add more dressing in, but wiping off veggies doesn’t really sound like how you would want to spend part of your day.
For the dressing:
- 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1-2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- 1/2 teaspoon dried mint
- salt & pepper to taste
For the salad:
- 4 Persian cucumbers, chopped
- 2 medium/large heirloom tomatoes, seeded & chopped
- 1/2 medium red onion, halved & thinly sliced
- 2 pitas or naans, grilled and torn or chopped
- optional: sliced radish and or chopped romaine
For the dressing:
In a small mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients until well combined, and set aside.
For the salad:
In a large mixing bowl, toss all ingredients together except pitas. When ready to serve toss salad with dressing and top with torn pita pieces.
*For gluten free, use GF versions or omit if necessary. If vegan make sure to check the ingredients to ensure pitas and/or naan are in fact vegan. For a more robust salad try adding a couple or few handfuls of chopped romaine and/or more of the veggies, including the addition of radishes if desired. As is if using all of the dressing, it will coat all ingredients and leave drippings on your plate.