Fattoush Lebanese Salad with Sumac and Pita Chips
Fattoush Lebanese Salad has cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs, and toasted pita chips, and it’s flavored with lemon juice and Sumac. This tasty salad is vegan, low-glycemic, and dairy-free, and it can be low-carb and South Beach Diet friendly if you use low-carb pita bread like I do. Use the Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.
I hope it goes without saying that I’d never post a recipe here unless I really liked the recipe. And although I do try not to gush over recipes too much, there definitely are some recipes that are my absolute must-make favorites. This Fattoush Lebanese Salad with Sumac and Pita Chips is one of those, and it’s something I make every summer when tomatoes and garden cucumbers start to get abundant. I got the salad recipe from a reader named Lori back in 2009, and I made it three times in four days right after she sent it to me. Since then it’s become one of my go-to summer salads when I have tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, and mint in the garden. And ever since then I’ve given thanks to Lori for this wonderful recipe!
Fattoush means “crumbled bread” in Arabic and this is a Lebanese version of bread salad that includes crumbled pita chips, something that might make the low-carb eaters pause a bit. But I use low-carb pita bread for my Fattoush Lebanese Salad and the pita that gets soaked in a lemon juice and olive oil dressing that’s seasoned with Sumac is one thing that makes this salad so amazing. You can definitely use less pita bread (or skip it completely if you prefer and the salad will still be great.)
Ground Sumac (soo-mack) maybe be an ingredient you haven’t used before, but it’s well worth adding to your spice cabinet. It has a slightly lemony flavor, and it’s the Sumac, the lemon, and the fresh herbs that really bump this salad up to something memorable you’ll want to make over and over. And if you do have Sumac, or buy some for this recipe, just enter “Sumac” into the search bar on this site and you’ll find a lot of other recipes where I’ve used it.
After a few times making Fattoush Lebanese Salad, I realized I definitely liked the pita chips best when I cut them into strips for toasting, creating more crisp edges. Watch them carefully, because they can quickly get too brown. Dice the tomatoes and let drain for a minute if they’re extra juicy, but don’t drain away all the juice, which will flavor the pita chips in the salad. I used grape tomatoes from Costco cut into fourths, which I thought were good, but use fresh garden tomatoes if you have some. I had cucumbers from my garden, so I left strips of skin on before chopping, but if your cucumbers have a thick skin I would peel them completely.
Start dressing by smashing together garlic and salt into a paste to season it. I use the mortar and pestle, but you can do this with the side of a knife or a spoon. Mix together the garlic-salt paste, lemon juice, and Sumac, and then whisk in the olive oil. This dressing will keep in the fridge for several days so you might want to make extra!
Remove outer leaves from the romaine lettuce, wash and dry, and then chop romaine by cutting it into fourths lengthwise and slicing crosswise for fairly smallish pieces. Linda’s recipe didn’t call for mint, but I saw several recipes that used it and I love the flavor of mint and parsley together. The salad also includes sliced green onion, which I forgot to take a photo of!
Toss the salad vegetables and herbs together, then toss with about half of the dressing, add the pita chips and toss again, adding a little more dressing. (The salad should be quite wet when it’s served so the pita chips can absorb the dressing.) Let salad sit for a few minutes, or longer, then arrange on individual plates and sprinkle each serving with a bit more Sumac if desired. Enjoy!
More Recipes Using Sumac:
Sumac-Rubbed Salmon Roasted in Olive Oil ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Grilled Vegetables with Za’atar Vinaigrette ~ David Lebovitz
Roasted Butternut Squash with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce, Sumac, and Aleppo ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Balsamic Roasted Fall Vegetables with Sumac ~ Boulder Locavore
Spicy Roasted Shrimp with Garlic, Sumac, and Aleppo Pepper ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Freekeh Salad with Minted Sumac Dressing ~ The Wanderlust Kitchen
Fattoush (Lebanese "Crumbled Bread" Salad with Sumac and Pita Chips)
- 2 whole wheat pita pocket breads, cut into strips about 3/4 inch wide, then toasted and crumbled (I use low-carb pita bread.)
- 2 heads Romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
- 1 cup diced tomatoes (let drain a minute or two if extra juicy)
- 1 cup diced cucumber (same size as tomatoes)
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley (leaves only, no stems)
- optional ingredients: chopped green pepper or radishes (I didn’t use either of these but Lori’s recipe had green peppers and I saw several recipes that added chopped radishes.)
- 1 tsp. chopped garlic (2-4 cloves garlic)
- 1 tsp. salt (I used fine grind sea salt)
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, about 2 large lemons (I love lemon, so adjust the amount to your own taste)
- 1 tsp. powdered Sumac, plus more for sprinkling on individual salads if desired)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400F/200C. While oven heats, mash together the chopped garlic and salt using a mortar and pestle, or the side of a knife or spoon. Put garlic-salt paste in a small bowl, then add lemon juice and 1 tsp. Sumac. Whisk in olive oil and set dressing aside. (You can also make the dressing in a glass jar and shake to combine.)
- Cut whole wheat pita into strips about 3/4 inch wide and arrange on baking sheet. (Some recipes call for brushing the pita with olive oil, but I didn’t do that.) Bake until pita strips are crisp but only barely starting to brown, less than 10 minutes. Watch carefully because they can go from crisp to overly brown rather quickly.
- Remove outer leaves from Romaine, trim stem end, then wash and spin dry or dry with paper towels. Cut Romaine into fourths lengthwise, then turn and chop crosswise into small pieces. (If you have a salad spinner, you can chop the Romaine first, then wash.) Put chopped Romaine into salad bowl large enough toss all ingredients.
- Chop tomatoes, green onions, cucumbers, mint, and parsley and add to lettuce. Add about half of the dressing and toss, then add crumbled pita chops and toss again with more dressing. (You may not want all the dressing, but this salad should be quite wet.) At this point the salad should sit for a few minutes (or longer) to let flavors blend and so the pita chips absorb some of the dressing. To serve, arrange salad on individual plates and sprinkle with a bit more Sumac. You can also serve it in a large bowl with the Sumac sprinkled over.
- When I first tested the recipe I made enough for two large salads, ate one for dinner, and put the rest in the fridge overnight. I was surprised how great it still tasted the next day, even though the vegetables were fairly wilted. When I made this for guests I tossed the salad together before they arrived, and it was perfect when I served it about 30 minutes later.
Recipe was slightly adapted from recipe sent to me by a reader named Lori. Thanks Lori, I love the salad!All images and text ©
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Made with whole wheat pita chips, this Fattoush Lebanese Salad is a great option for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. Even though the pita chips are great in this, I’d enjoy it as a low-carb salad without the pita as well, or use low-carb pita bread if you can find it. With low-carb pita it will be a relatively low-carb salad, but not gluten-free.
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