I have a confession to make. And that is: I make this fattoush salad every 2 weeks. Maybe more. Alex and I first discovered it early this spring when we were flipping through the Ottolenghi cookbook Jerusalem. One bite of this salad, which he calls “Na’ama’s Fattoush,” was all it took for us to fall in love.
If you look in our cookbook today, you’ll find random streaks of green, tiny dots of sumac, and remnants of oily hands all over that page. You may call it yucky, I call it loved.
Of course, since that time, I’ve made changes to the recipe, as happens with any recipe that you make over and over again, taking the parts you like best and enhancing them, taking away what you don’t like, and adding in your own personal touch. And while the original recipe is unreal amazing, I have to say, I think this one is even better.
What is fattoush?
So what is fattoush salad? Well, it’s a Middle Eastern chopped vegetable salad made with thinly sliced cucumbers, radishes, tomato, homemade pita chips, and tons of fresh mint and parsley. The veggies and herbs are coarsely chopped, making it a super easy salad to whip up. It’s also typically topped with ground sumac for a gorgeous sprinkled look.
Changes I made to the original recipe:
- I’ve found that the original amount of yogurt/milk is often too much and pools at the bottom of the bowl. To offset this, I make less entirely, and I also make a higher ratio of yogurt to milk.
- Heirloom tomatoes are the only way to go in this salad, IMO. This salad really benefits from a sweet, juicy tomato like an heirloom. I like to do a mixture of red and yellow, for color.
- Ottolenghi calls for more garlic and more scallions than I like. So I use less.
- The original version of the salad calls for 3 mini cucumbers. I find 5 to be a more balanced amount. I also slice them into medallions instead of chopping them.
- I’ve found that using pita, not naan, and toasting it until it’s as hard as cardboard, is the ultimate game-changer. Toasting it this way makes it better absorb the dressing, and also makes it not immediately soggy.
- Feta. I hope this isn’t sacrilege, but I looove it in this salad.
Tips on making this fattoush salad
Let the dressing chill for at least 2 hours — The key to making a perfectly tangy dressing is to let the milk and yogurt mixture chill for a few hours in the fridge. You can’t rush this process, so you’ll need to plan ahead if you want this fattoush salad for dinner tonight.
Toast the pita bread until hard — Toasting the pita bread is a total game changer. The hard pieces of pita soften slowly in the salad and add the most delightful crunch to this salad. If you can’t break the pita easily with your hands, pop it into a bag and smash it with a rolling pin a few times.
Don’t skip the sumac — I know sumac isn’t a pantry staple in the US, but it’s key in this fattoush salad. Get your hands on this stuff and prepare to have your life changed.
Let the veggies and dressing rest — Before serving this fattoush salad, mix together the dressing and all the veggies and herbs and let it sit on your counter for 20 minutes. This will give the dressing time to seep into the veggies and all the flavors will come together beautifully.
Hope you love it as much as we do! Of course, if you want to compare my version with the original, you can find it here.
After making this recipe at least 2 times month for the last year, I've come up with my ultimate take on the famous Ottolenghi's Fattoush Salad.
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 3-4 large heirloom tomatoes, diced
- 3 oz radishes, thinly sliced
- 5 mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1 scallion, diced
- 1/2 oz fresh mint, coarsely chopped
- 1 oz flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, diced
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, plus more to taste
- 4 pita breads, toasted until golden and fully hard
- 6 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 teaspoons sumac (or more to taste)
- In a mason jar or cup with a lid, shake milk and yogurt together and place in fridge until bubbles form on the surface. Let sit at least 2 hours, but up to 1 day.
- When you're near ready to serve, combine fermented yogurt mixture with tomatoes, radishes, cukes, scallion, mint, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and vinegar. Sit for at least 20 minutes for all the flavors to combine.
- When you're ready to serve, crumble the pita into large pieces and toss to combine. Towards the end of your mixing, toss in feta. Garnish with sumac and serve!