Fattoush Bread Salad

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Photography Credit: Sheryl Julian

Using up bits of stale bread in dishes both sweet and savory is a frugal cook’s trick as old as bread itself. Though less well known than, say, Thanksgiving stuffing or bread pudding, bread salads fall in this category.

These satisfying salads are made by tossing together leftover bread, colorful vegetables, and a tangy dressing. Fattoush is a version of this salad made throughout the Middle East using leftover pita bread.

FattoushFattoush is served all over Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, and the surrounding countries. The pita flatbreads are cut into pieces and either fried or baked.

I like baking the pita since this avoids the need for a vat of hot oil. Baking also gives you small chips that add a delightful crunch to the salad. The chips are so addictive you’ll find yourself making them often, for all kinds of purposes.

Use scissors to snip the pita rounds into small squares and rectangles, then toss them with olive oil and spread onto a baking sheet to bake. Don’t worry about whether they’re in a single layer or clustered together. Stir and flip them a couple of times during baking until they’re golden and crisp.

Assemble the salad with cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, scallions, and red onion, but wait until just before serving to toss it with the dressing so that everything stays crisp. Be sure to use plenty of mint and lemon juice!

All together, you have one of summer’s most refreshing bowls.

Fattoush Bread Salad Recipe

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  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Ingredients

For the pita chips:

  • 2 rounds pita bread (8- to 12-inches)
  • Olive oil (for toasting the pita)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the salad:

  • 4 Persian, pickling, or other small cucumbers, thinly sliced (or 1 English cucumber, trimmed, halved vertically, and thinly sliced)
  • 4 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced

For the dressing:

  • Juice of 1 lemon, or more to taste
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Large handful fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • Large handful fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

Method

1 Prepare pita chips: Set the oven to 375F. With kitchen shears, cut the pita round into 1-inch pieces. In a bowl, sprinkle the pita with just enough olive oil so a drop lands on each piece. Toss well. Sprinkle with salt and toss again.

Fattoush

2 Toast the pita chips: Spread the pieces out on a rimmed baking sheet. It's fine if the pieces overlap or cluster together. Bake for 2 minutes, then toss the chips. Bake another 2 minutes and toss again. Remove any pieces that are starting to look crisp and golden. Continue baking another 1 to 2 minutes until all the pieces are crisp and golden. Set aside to cool.

Fattoush

3 Prepare the vegetables: In a large bowl combine the cucumbers, radishes, large and cherry tomatoes, scallions, and red onion.

Fattoush

4 Dress the salad just before serving: Sprinkle the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper over the vegetables and toss gently but thoroughly. Add the mint and parsley and toss again. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Add the pita chips and toss gently to avoid crushing them. Serve immediately.

Fattoush Fattoush

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Sheryl Julian

Sheryl Julian is an award-winning writer, editor, and food stylist. She is the former food editor of The Boston Globe, co-author of The Way We Cook, and editor of The New Boston Globe Cookbook. Her food sections won Best Newspaper Food Coverage from the Association of Food Journalists in 2015.

More from Sheryl

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5 Comments

  1. Mirella

    We only tried that one on a Lebanese restaurant last year and tasted amazing! We’re really anxious to try your version ASAP! Thank you!

  2. JSS

    You list scallions in step 3, but they are not listed in the ingredient list, nor does it look like there are scallions in the picture of the finished salad. Just wondering if scallions are in the salad.

    • Sheryl Julian

      You are absolutely correct! No scallions went into the dish. Sharp eye. And thanks!

  3. Alida @My Little Italian Kitchen

    This recipe reminds me a little of “Panzanella” a Tuscan dish with stale bread and fresh vegetables.
    I love the pita bread chips. Preparing the bread this way must add so much flavour to it. A beautiful and delicious recipe indeed. Thank you Sheryl.

  4. 2pots2cook

    Wow ! This salad is very inviting. Definitely on my to do list ! Thank you for sharing it

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