Fattoush salad is a crisp, tart, load up your plate kinda salad. Our oil free version is whole food, plant-based healthy with a delicious combination of crisp, tart and satisfying. We’re going to use a mix of chopped veggies, fresh mint, pomegranate seeds, a quick lemon dressing and best of all, pita croutons.
What is Fattoush?
At its heart, Fattoush salad is a traditional middle eastern chopped salad with various vegetables and a light citrus dressing. Unsurprisingly, Fattoush takes on regional flares influenced by tradition and the availability of ingredients. I decided to lean on Lebanon influences for this version which leads us to our ‘secret’ ingredient.
What is sumac?
The secret’s out – it’s sumac. Nope, it isn’t a spice blend that you have to create. Sumac is simply a spice from a flowering plant. That explains the dark reddish color that always makes me think it should be spicy. Surprise – sumac has a lemony tart flavor with no heat whatsoever.
No oil, no compromise
I used to think of the term vinaigrette as some combination of oil, acid and salt. I can say with experience that you miss nothing once you abandon oil. My definition of plant-based vinaigrette is acid (vinegar/lemon) with spices/and or herbs and additional savory or sweet ingredients depending on what you’re going for.
Wanna healthy trip to thousand islands? That can happen. Love a savory ginger Asian flare? You don’t need oil for that either. Trippy easy and spicy hot? I’ve got a plan and recipes for that. My point is that you’ll stretch yourself considerably once you forget about unhealthy oil as the foundation. My advice? Free yourself.
Wait, there’s more
Fattoush salad just wouldn’t be without croutons. Our Lebanese version uses baked pita bread. Maybe baking up some pita bread and then breaking or cutting it into bite-sized pieces sounds a bit unimportant, but come on, who doesn’t like croutons? Pile them on.
Get it together
There’s something special about chopped salads. Bigger chunks of veggies and a bigger variety. You can seriously use up a bunch of fridge crisper bits and pieces for this one. Carrots, green pepper, cauliflower or celery are just a few that would go well with this Fattoush salad recipe. Leftover parsley? Check. What the heck, use them all. Just be mindful of the flavor of the dressing and the chopped mint. Let that guide you.
A big bowl of loaded with lots of colors, textures and flavors makes such an appealing picture on the table. When the dressing is a compliment rather than the main ingredient with bits of salad swimming on the bottom, all the other ingredients have opportunities to shine.
There was a time when I just smothered whatever in a thick, oil-based dressings laden with a lot of other undesirable stuff. I was drowning my good intentions in high fat and calories. I finally picked my head out of that bowl and I realized there was another, more healthful approach. And guess what? There was no compromise. In fact, I started really enjoying salads – especially those chunky loaded kinds. Always more food for thought. Peace.Print
This Fattoush salad recipe is filled with crisp veggies, fresh mint, pomegranate, tart lemon-sumac dressing and pita croutons. Our oil free version is plant-based and guilt free.
- 1 pomegranate (the seeds)
- 1 cup chopped fresh mint
- 3 cups diced tomatoes
- 1 medium cucumber, deseeded and diced (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup sliced green onions (scallions)
- 1 cup sliced radishes
- 1 red or green pepper chopped
- 4 cups chopped iceberg, romaine or other green lettuce
- 1 fresh lemon, juiced (1/2 cup juice)
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 tsp. sumac
- 3–4 pita bread slices
- To deseed the pomegranate, first grab a large pot or bowl. Roll the pomegranate for a few seconds to loosen up the seeds. Cut the pomegranate in half. Deseed the halves by working inside the bowl as much as possible. This will reduce the inevitable juice splatter. I like to break each half and then remove the seeds. Alternatively, you can use a spoon. Wash the seeds carefully to remove any remaining core pieces. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 4240 F (2200 C).
- While the oven heats, start prepping the vegetables and mint.
- Place 3-4 slices of pita bread directly on the oven rack. You want to toast these until they are somewhat hard, so allow about 5 minutes per side. Let them cool for a few minutes once you remove them from the oven. They will continue to harden up a bit.
- Make the dressing by combing the ½ cup lemon juice, 2 cloves of crushed garlic and 2 tsp. sumac.
- Assemble the salad by combining the vegetables, mint and pomegranate seeds.
- Break the pita bread slices into bite-sized pieces for the croutons.
- Immediately before serving, add the pita croutons and dressing.
- Fattoush salad is a great make before, take along salad. Just take the croutons and dressing along and add them right before. You can also allow everyone to add their own dressing and croutons. This will preserve any leftovers.
- If you can’t find sumac at your local store, try a Middle Eastern shop or possibly Indian.
- You may want to start with 1 clove of garlic and then add another after tasting the vinaigrette. One garlic clove can be substantially stronger (or weaker) than another. You want a definite garlic taste without it being overpowering.
- Category: Salads & Bowls
- Cuisine: Lebanese
Keywords: Fattoush salad