Lebanese Fattoush Salad
An authentic Lebanese Fattoush Salad with crispy romaine lettuce, juicy tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, radishes, and crispy homemade pita chips. Tossed in a zesty Mediterranean dressing!
This colorful Lebanese Fattoush salad is a staple for me whenever we go out for Mediterranean food!
It’s a bright and refreshing garden salad with lots of texture and flavor from the veggies! I always order beef Kefta or Koobideh from the menu, and a bright, zesty salad is exactly what I need to cut through the richness of kebobs. But the true pièce de résistance in a Fattoush salad is the fried pocket pita bread that adds so much crunch! And the zesty lemon and sumac dressing ties the whole thing together into a deliciously irresistible package.
What is Fattoush salad?
Fattoush salad is made with leafy greens. Typically it is tossed with Persian cucumbers, ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced onions. The most iconic thing about a Fattoush salad is the fried pita bread croutons added to the salad.
How is Fattoush different from Tabbouleh?
The vegetables are chopped more finely in a tabbouleh salad than for Fattoush. Fattoush salad has a leafy green lettuce base and also contains fried pita bread as a topping. In contrast, tabbouleh has cracked barley and parsley as the base ingredients.
Ingredients in a Fattoush salad:
- Seasonings: You’ll need a few unusual ingredients here, like sumac and za’atar. Sumac has a lemony taste that will add the best flavor to the dressing. Za’atar is a seasoning made with sesame seeds and dried thyme, as well as several other ingredients. I like to think of it as the ‘Italian seasoning’ of the Middle East – a good all-purpose seasoning blend. You’ll also need a big pinch of dried mint for the dressing. Don’t worry; if you’re not a big mint fan, it just adds a refreshing taste to the dressing without it being overpowering at all!
- Olive oil: good quality olive oil will make all the difference here. We’re using olive oil in the dressing as well as to fry the pita croutons.
- Lemon juice: lemon juice is the acid used in the sumac dressing
- Garlic cloves: pressed or finely grated garlic adds just a hint of flavor to the salad dressing. I highly suggest pressing it so that it just dissolves into the dressing, and you don’t end up getting a harsh, garlicky bite!
- Pomegranate molasses: can be a difficult ingredient to find. If you have a middle eastern store near you, I suggest checking there. It’s also easily available online here. You can also make your own pomegranate molasses if you can’t find any in stores. There are tons of recipes available online.
- Honey: a drizzle of honey goes into the dressing to add a little bit of sweetness. It’s not something that you typically see listed in the ingredients for a fattoush salad dressing, but I like to add a squeeze to help balance the tart flavors from the lemon and ground sumac.
- Pocket Pita: A large flat pita pocket is ideal for this – the kind that they wrap shawarma in at authentic middle eastern restaurants. If you can’t find the large kind, feel free to use 1 ½ of the regular-sized pocket pitas from the grocery stores. It’s important to use a ‘pocket pita’ because you get thin, extra crispy chips for your salad!
- Veggies: I like to use an array of veggies! Other than romaine lettuce, I use tomatoes, bell peppers, red onions, radishes, and Persian cucumbers.
How to make Fattoush Salad at home:
- Make the dressing. Add all the ingredients for the dressing in a jar and shake to combine. You can also add them to a blender and blend. The one major benefit of blending the ingredients is that it allows the dressing to stay emulsified for longer!
- Fry the pita. Add the oil to a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the pita in a single layer and fry them for 4-6 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Toss with za’atar seasoning and salt. Remove to a plate and allow the chips to cool before using on salad.
- Toss the salad. Add all the salad ingredients, like romaine, thinly sliced red onions, chopped Persian cucumbers, chopped tomatoes, diced bell peppers, and diced radishes, to a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing on top and toss to combine. I like to add the crispy pita chips right before you’re ready to serve.
Tips for making the best Fattoush Salad:
- Splurge on the ingredients. This recipe focuses on fresh vegetables, so it’s important to use the best quality ingredients that you can. Use high-quality olive oil in the dressing because the flavor of the dressing is what wraps this whole thing in a neat little package.
- Make more fattoush in the summer. Tomatoes are at their finest in the summertime so enjoy fattoush in the warmer months for the best flavor.
- Mix the fried pita bread right before serving. It’s totally fine if you’d like to fry the pita bread ahead of time. Once fried, I suggest keeping it separately and adding it right before serving the salad, so the pita stays nice and crunchy!
FAQs about Fattoush Salad:
- Can I make this salad ahead of time? You can combine the ingredients for the salad, fry the pita, and make the dressing ahead of time, but I suggest tossing the salad right before serving. The acid in the dressing will break down the leafy greens and tomatoes rapidly once they are combined and you’ll end up with a watery salad.
- Can I bake or air fry the pita instead? Yes, originally, I shared this recipe with baked pita instead of fried pita! But over the years, I’ve learned that fried pita brings more flavor and I use exactly the same amount of oil as I do when baking or air frying. If you’d like to bake, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Toss the pita with oil, a pinch of salt, and za’atar seasoning. Bake for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway until the bread is toasted. You can also air fry them for roughly the same amount of time.
- Can I skip the za’atar on the pita croutons? I know some of these ingredients like pomegranate molasses, sumac, and za’atar can be difficult to find. But what gives my fattoush a unique flavor is the added seasonings on the fried pita – so delicious in the salad! If you can’t find it, you can leave it out or use a small pinch of dried thyme and toasted sesame seeds instead.
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Most Delicious Homemade Shawarma Seasoning
- Beef Shawarma Bowls with Persian Rice
- Easy Persian Chicken Kebabs
- Lentil Rice Pilaf (Mujadara)
- Frozen Mint Lemonade (Limonana)
This Fattoush recipe was originally shared in Aug. 2016, updated with new images, minor recipe tweaks, and easier instructions in June 2021.
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground sumac
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon dried mint
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large pita pocket, chopped into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon za’atar seasoning
- 2 Persian cucumbers, chopped
- 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
- 5 radishes, diced
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup chopped bell pepper
- 1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped (or 2 smaller hearts)
- DRESSING: In a mason jar, add all the ingredients for the dressing and shake to combine. You can also add the ingredients to a blender and blend, the dressing stays better emulsified that way!
- PITA CHIPS: Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the pita pieces and cook for 4-6 minutes, flipping often until the pita is fried and crispy. Season with a pinch of salt and the za’atar seasoning. Remove pita to a plate for later.
- FATTOUSH SALAD: Toss the ingredients for the salad in a bowl. If the dressing has separated, give it a few shake before drizzling on the salad. You may not need all the dressing depending on how dressed you prefer your salad. Top with pita pieces and serve immediately.
- This makes some extra dressing, depending on your preference you may or may not need all of it.
- You can add in diced or shredded rotisserie or cooked chicken to make this salad more of a heartier meal. If serving as a main if you up the lettuce to 2 1/2 or even 3 hearts of romaine, it will feed about 3-4 people.
- You can also add in sliced radishes which are often used in a fattoush salad.